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The sound of hair

By Darren Tofts


You could hear a different inflection of that sound elsewhere on the street, in the form of a pervasive, inscrutable geometry. You know, that weird band without a name, signalled by three arrows that no one knew how to say. But the attitude was clear enough. To speak without naming is to transcend the limitations of personality, to become the medium, the thing itself. It spoke of a suburban avant-gardism, a will to embody the familiar, and in so doing mutate and disrupt it. They deliberately misheard tradition, vamping older styles in a contemporary idiom, channeling differences like so many blues changes wrenched into unexpected juxtapositions. This was popular music as subversive pleasure. Those who follow Australian art, music or film will have come across Philip Brophy. Over the last thirty-plus years, the Melbourne polymath has produced important work in all three scenes. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he led the group Tsk-tsk-tsk, which operated on the art/music fringe, generating performances, records, videos and writings. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was the filmmaker obsessed with body fluids, directing Salt, Saliva, Sperm and Sweat and Body Melt. In the 2000s, he was a new-media artist (making The Body Malleable), a manga/anime maven (making Vox and curating Tezuka: The Marvel of Manga) and a sound designer (composing soundtracks for films, his own and others'). Despite their variety, Brophy's projects are underpinned by three connected lines of enquiry: music/pop, body/sex, and sound/image

Topics: 20th century history, Australian music, Australian musicians, Brophy, Philip (1959-), Experimental music, Remixing, Tsk-tsk-tsk, Warm Jets
Publisher: Institute of Modern Art
Year: 2012
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