YARAANDOO - 40 Year Anniversary
“It’s such a brilliant Australian album. Without doubt one of the best of the genre.”
“This is a singular record which could have only been made in a sprawling continent like Australia, by open-minded pioneers not scared of asking big, unanswerable – and almost certainly to be unheard – questions via progressive music.”
“You manage to bring something quite tribal and distinctly antipodean to your recordings which sets them apart from other jazz/rock fusions and that is still audible in your recent composition.”
"For my tastes, this album is genius.
Yaraandoo is a bold sound exploration never attempted this adventurously again with this country. Wow!"
Published on Apr 9, 2012
"It is, to whit, an Lp of hair-raising, soul-searching beauty - with an overall dreamy, hazy quality that perhaps could only be written by an Australian fully conversant with the "Dreamtime" cultural feel for the myths and legends of the Outback."
Julien Cope Headheritage.co.uk
These are some of the generous comments posted on the Web of my first album Yaraandoo, most of them posted decades after I made it. I wrote and recorded this album over a 6 month period from late 1973 to early 1974.
It is based around a transcendental Australian Aboriginal myth around the creation of the Southern Cross and the loss of innocence by the first people. It mirrors the Adam & Eve story and similar stories in other religions. However, it was, and still is, to me about what makes Australia different as it included gum trees, cockatoos, kangaroo rat, Yowi, the spirit of Death, and red earth. .I read this in the height of the Whitlam era where the first tentative signs of reconciliation were emerging. It really resonated with me.
In 1974, I went to the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, NY run by Karl Berger, There I got to play with Dave Holland, Mike Manieri, Howard Johnson and Anthony Braxton (all serious jazz innovators). Having left my favourite band (OAK) which played what is now termed prog rock in 1972 and with my head full of Jethro Tull, Yes, King Crimson, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Bennie Maupin, Weather Report and early synth pioneers such as Pat Gleeson, I wrote the music for Yaraandoo and with the help of ex-OAK members and other great Canberra muso’s recorded it on a Teac 2 track driven by the amazing John Gyffyn who pushed the available technology to the limit.
I designed and printed the cover and found a distributor, Mike McMartin at Trafalgar Records in Sydney, for the 100 copies I could afford.
Rolling Stone (Australia) gave it a very positive review (terming it “inner space music”) and the wonderful Chris Winter invited me to play the whole LP on his “Room To Move” show on JJ radio (as it was then called).
And, as they say, that was that.
Then, in the early 2000’s I started to get emails from wonderful people from around the world that had heard or heard of the album and in 2013, James Pianta of Roundtable Records asked permission to re-release Yaraandoo. He did this with much love, care and respect. Jordie Kilby, of the ABC, did an interview with me and Steve Durie (who was in OAK and played synth on Yaraandoo) in 2012. (http:www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rarecollections/2013-08-11/4865162) Podcast (RareCollections: Yaraandoo (chan 4575041).
So it is out there for you. 40 years later.
I have included one track from Yaraandoo (the 2004 remake) on the More Music page for you to listen to. You can hear a track from the 1974 original on YouTube (put there by an unknown fan)
The story is not finished yet .. see Eothen page on this site.