For those of you who happen to live in or be from Australia, you may have heard of a place in Eastern Victoria called ‘Tarra Bulga National Park’. Loved for its undisturbed natural beauty and impressive forestry, accessible via a suspension bridge that offers spectacular views of the lush fern gully below, Tarra Bulga really is Victoria’s best-kept secret.
This wonder of the Southern Hemisphere played a big part in influencing London-based artist, Connor Lockett of Outback Music, a man who frequently draws inspiration from his homeland down under. His latest three-track EP, aptly named ‘Tarra Bulga’ is a musical insight into the land from where he hails, wherein he paints every colour and sound with his music.
Track one, Tarra Bulga Pt. 1 begins softly, though there is a sense of curiosity and urgency, punctuated by a clever use of animal sounds performed instrumentally. After Outback Music’s last release, Plague, set the bar incredibly high for his use of experimental sound, Tarra Bulga Pt. 1 proves immediately that we haven’t seen everything left to offer yet.
This track is reminiscent of the Aboriginal belief system known as “Dreamtime”. This is the belief that Earth was created by spiritual entities who embodied the land, sea, people, and animals, and left metaphysical footprints that helped to shape the world as we know it today.
Following this is a 42-minute-long track, Tarra Bulga Pt. 2, that may follow the pattern of the album’s titles but is not at all like the spiritual adventure of Pt. 1. This track begins quiet and slowly raises in volume, only reaching its peak in volume well into the second minute, and with forty minutes after that left to spare, you can really envision yourself in a dark forest, not at all unlike the ones you would see in Tarra Bulga National Park. However, dismissing the description of the place that I gave you earlier for just a minute (or forty-two!), and Pt. 2 will make you think you’ve stumbled into a horror film. You may feel as if this track is paced awkwardly at first, and perhaps it is the first time around, if you’re not focusing entirely on each sound, but if you close your eyes and immerse yourself in the myriad of instruments playing into an orchestra of static, you might just find yourself with bated breath, in the worn boots of a child as it runs through the forest. Away from what? One can only wonder.
Pt. 3 should be the track that rounds it all up and brings the EP to a close, but it just doesn’t. It leaves you wanting more. It leaves you eager to be immersed again and again in the adrenaline-raising, nightmare-inducing stories from the outback. This piece mixes Synthwave with atonal static, accompanied by instruments ranging from the human voice to a piano, and an electric guitar, each played individually as if each key, strum, or syllable has the capability of telling different parts of the story.
Tarra Bulga is an ambitious piece of art through and through. In some parts, it comes close to feeling almost too ambitious but still manages to prove those doubts wrong. For those who say that younger musicians rarely come close to exuding the daring qualities of their predecessors, Outback Music’s every release proves time and time again that any naysayer’s pessimism is simply not justifiable.
Find Tarra Bulga on iTunes, out December 9th!