'Leaving Goldsmith Country we skip a few releases and end up with Dave's impressions of backpacking around Australia, recorded for posterity as the 2000-2002 recordings A Drifting Population, initially released on Deserted Village, and now available in a numbered second edition of 30 from the same source. As an attempt to capture the fleeting memories of travel, it's pretty successful - you really feel both the freedom and aloneness of the experience in this series of melancholy solo-guitar instrumentals. It can be placed on a continuum with In Goldsmith Country, though the pieces are more fragmentary and impressionistic: blue haze over the Great Dividing Range, heat haze over country roads while you exist in suspended animation waiting to hitch a ride, night insects and a sky full of more stars than you've ever seen before. Tape hiss is a player in this landscape as well, a running stream through the recordings. The four-part suite "The Ebb and Flow of Distant Moonlit Grass" is central to proceedings, moving from the isolationism of quietly bowed drones to a dying campfire of night watch improvisations to morning rise through dense ground fog over silent fields. Fittingly, the final track was recorded direct to Dictaphone during Dave's Australian travels (the rest being recorded on return to Ireland).' Tony Dale, Deep Water Acres.
'Originally released in 2004 with different cover art, A Drifting Population was re-released in a limited edition of 30 in late 2006. A good decision, because this little gem deserved to get our attention again.
These are eleven instrumental tracks inspired by David Colohan's travels through Australia in 2000. As Dave writes in his liner notes, they are meant to capture the feelings of a life on the move, of being part of 'a drifting population'. The result is a fine selection of moody lo-fi tracks, played on electric guitar to a four-track recorder. The sound quality is quite poor, with a sharp hiss overlaying all the tracks, yet it does not distract from the honest quality of these little compositions. All of them capture that unique, melancholic feeling I was writing about, and actual mental images of the things David is describing musically are never far away. Besides this unique, slightly nostalgic, quality, there are several tracks which have exceptionally beautiful melodies. "You are further away from me now than ever before" is such a track, very sweet and sad. "Under the southern cross" has a bit of a dark touch to it, and "The Pornography / Pet Store, Young" also has a beautiful, melancholic melody. The tenth track, "The ebb & flow of distant moonlit grass" is an extended ambient piece, which calls to mind the nighttime images of this long journey. Dark, brooding, and very good. The final track is the odd one out, recorded in a place called Katoomba, straight from piano to dictaphone, which accounts for the abysmal sound. Yet it fits with the theme. Fleeting, broken musical images of an influential personal journey. Thanks to Dave for sharing. If you highly value production quality, best leave this alone. But if you are into lo-fi, or dig the calm, melancholic sound of Agitated Radio Pilot, this is highly recommended.' Oscar Strik, Evening of Light.
released 22 November 2003
'In November 2000 I left Sydney, broke & hungry for adventure & ended up in Katoomba, NSW. An artists' enclave high in the Blue Mountains, it was the perfect place to gather my thoughts for the journey ahead. Spending my days working for an artist or hiking in the eucalyptus forests, I was struck with the melancholy that accompanies a solitary life on the road. Leaving Katoomba, I worked on a cherry farm in Young in the simplest of conditions. Heat & snakes, rusting farm machinery & nights in my tent spent listening to insects & faraway dogs... aware that I was part of a drifting population, never staying in one place for long... These pieces are an attempt to capture those transient memories & landscapes, to colour in the haze of the mountain forests & the shifting heat on a country road...'
Ballymahon, Winter 2003.
All pieces recorded on four-track in Ballymahon, Co. Longford sometime in 2002 by David Colohan.
The final piece was recorded in the old mountain home of Clancette Clift, Katoomba, NSW directly to dictaphone. This recording is dedicated to her.
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