Oz mainstay from the
Scientists/Beasts of Bourbon revs up his other classic outfit for March album;
Scientists will be doing ATP as well.
By Fred Mills
A little over a year ago we sat down with Australian guitar
god Kim Salmon, of the legendary Scientists (an influence on Mudhoney, Sonic
Youth and scores more) and Beasts of Bourbon. For that “Blurting With…”
interview he talked primarily about his then-current project, the Darling
Downs, a collaboration with Died Pretty vocalist Ron Peno. However he also
brought us up to date on the Scientists, who’d gotten back together briefly in
2007 for a European reunion tour. And he added that the band he formed
following the Scientists’ initial split, the Surrealists, had a new lease on
life as well, following some dates they’d done in 2006. Offered Salmon:
“It has been great revisiting what the Scientists did, and it has rekindled
something that I can pursue with the
Surrealists, who never actually broke up and are, I believe, able to grow and
evolve. For me, Blood Red River [Scientists, 1983], The Human Jukebox [Scientists, 1987] and Hit Me with the Surreal Feel [Surrealists, 1988] follow a natural path that I got diverted from
throughout the nineties. Anyway, it put me back in touch with what I was trying
to do back then, and a lot of ideas that have been mulling over in my head for
a decade and a half have just fallen into place since doing the Scientists
tours. I’d never get any of it past some of the Scientists members and they’re
just not the right people for it now – and I’m not knocking them either, just
saying it like it is.
“The Surrealists, on the other
hand, have just picked up all the ideas and run with them. It’s amazing. We’re
definitely going to do another album and it’s going to follow on seamlessly
from Hit Me
With The Surreal Feel, which
was so far ahead in time compared with anything I’ve done subsequently that it
won’t be a step back in time.”
The Surrealists essentially had picked up the ball from the Scientists,
although the Surrealists were a bit jazzier and more freeform than their
decidedly skronky, swampy predecessor, and in a very real sense, the
Surrealists were able to make greater commercial inroads too, touring Europe
and America with bands like the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and the Cramps. Key
release: 1993’s Sin Factory, which did
quite respectably at college radio.
So today news arrive that, indeed, the Surrealists are back on the boards:
due March 6 in Australia
(early May in the US)
is Grand Unifying Theory, on the Low
Transit Industries label. According to the Salmon camp:
With the 2006 reunion of the
Surrealists, for the Spanish Azkena Festival, Kim was re-acquainted with the
free jazz/noise/ fusion bug and resolved to get the band back together for at
least long enough to work through what it started back in the late 1980s.
Recorded throughout 2008 and 2009 over a series of live sessions, ‘Grand
Unifying Theory’ has the band given some framework compositions by Kim. The
band – Kim, Stu Thomas and Phil Collings – then takes these ideas to the outer
limits of punk/jazz/ thrash freakout!. The results are taken by Kim and
producer Mike Stranges and assembled into the most far out music Kim Salmon has
been responsible for to date! ‘Grand Unifying Theory’ with its polyrhythmic
beats, its atonal keys, its heavy funk/punk grooves, its spaced out use of
equipment buzz and Dictaphone is coming on Low Transit Industries.
The album also will features appearances by Dave Graney and Clare Moore
(from the late, great Oz band The Moodists), both of whom had pitched in on
Darling Downs records.
Incidentally, sharp-eyed readers will recall that Salmon and the Scientists
will be performing at All Tomorrow’s Parties New York series with The Stooges
& Mudhoney later this year – and now, apparently, a special U.S.
Surrealists show is also in the works, so stay tuned for details on that.
Order Of Things
Grand Unifying Theory I
Grand Unifying Theory II
Kneel Down At The Altar Of Pop