Friday, October 22, 2010

What You Don't See

What you don't see from this photograph is the wind - fierce and invisible. Fierce and invincible.

It is screaming and squalling, forcing me to hold on tight to my camera, consciously balancing and leaning against a wall to keep steady.

Somewhere in the distance it slows. Somewhere between me and the calm wisps and puffs of cloud suspended gracefully in a gentle breeze, peaceful against the perfect blue sky.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Winter In Sydney

Well, winter is on its way out so I thought it's time to write about what has been going on in Sydney over that period.

Sydney Opera House lit up with design by Laurie Anderson
Image copyright Daniel Boud

Since its inception last year, the Vivid Festival has been quite a success with cultural events around Sydney. Brian Eno was the curator for the first one. I did get a chance to hear him speak and he still thinks in a very lateral way about art, music and climate change. One of his clever ideas from many years ago was to create a deck of cards called Oblique Strategies.  When one got stuck on, say, a project, you pull a card out and act on its suggestion to help find an outcome. So if you're getting blocked, reach for an oblique strategy! 

Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed - Press Conference
Image copyright Daniel Boud

This year Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed were the curators. I went to see Laurie do a talk about her life and curating the festival. She was the first artist in residence for NASA! She and Lou also did a subsonic symphony for dogs... I didn't attend as I don't have a dog and wouldn't be able to hear it!

There was also the Sydney Biennale going on over at Cockatoo Island and venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Island is quite an experience in itself as there are many buildings and warehouses where the installations are housed. There are also cranes and heavy machinery, which could really be classified as installations themselves. The history of the island is colourful as it was a convict prison, then a ship building yard when the war was on. Now you can camp there and enjoy the sweeping views of Sydney.  

The other great winter activity was the Art Gallery of NSW having free movies which coincide with their exhibitions. I saw "On The Waterfront" with Marlon Brando's riveting scene with Rod Steiger in the back of a taxi. I also saw "The Sweet Smell of Success" which had Burt Lancaster playing an odious character along with a sensational Tony Curtis. It is Tony Curtis at his best, he just needed a good script. The big studios didn't want to make the film as they thought it was too raw and gritty, so Burt Lancaster's production company picked it up. I'm glad he did, it is a treasure to be enjoyed for all time.   Art Gallery NSW


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

enchanted by Francesca

Tonight I attended the Depot Gallery II for the latest solo exhibition 'enchanted' by the very lovely and extremely talented Francesca Raft.

In her own words, "I am fascinated by the simplicity in light, color and form… the landscape, the essence of nature… the resonating beauty that makes one feel and experience the desire of belonging and possibility… I strive to capture this in paint".

For the past months I have been diligently working every possible moment on the recordings that Aqualash will be releasing in August, and as much as I love music - deeply and truly and passionately and uncompromisingly - it really can be *** hard work and literally an emotional minefield. Taking time out tonight to go and view this exhibition has given me a much-needed shot of inspiration and enthusiasm for the creative spirit!

And now I'm here to let you know, in case you need a booster shot yourself:
if you are in Sydney, Francesca's exhibition is from today, Tuesday 15 June, until 27 June, at Depot Gallery II, 2 Danks Street, Waterloo, Sydney, 2017. Or check out her work at the website:

Now, back to the studio…

x Sarah

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Life's What You Make It

Last week at work, a colleague walked in with a cloud of gloom shadowing his eyes, his head and shoulders bent forward under the weight of his foreboding. "I understand, and sometimes I feel the same way about that," I said. "But life's what you make it. Hey, remember the song?"

He didn't, and I couldn't remember which 80s band…. (Talk Talk)

The next day was my birthday. A friend sent me the latest Rowland S. Howard album, "Pop Crimes", as he knows I am a loving fan, and I was devastated to learn that Rowland passed away at the end of last year. And there at track #3 is Rowland's cover of "Life's What You Make It".

Rowland S. Howard has a long musical history from 1978 to 2009, including his two solo releases "Teenage Snuff Film" (2000) - the era I saw him perform live at Newtown RSL in Sydney - and "Pop Crimes" (2009).

Often, I don't know details or histories of music I listen to, and I can definitely be vague about albums and song titles. What I do know is how the music makes me feel, and Rowland S. Howard - from the very first time I heard him - has claimed a piece of my heart.

So, Mr Howard, bon voyage. May your travels be ever musical.

x Sarah

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I love Jeff Beck + my new big wish.

I love Jeff Beck. I love his music. I LOVE the way he plays guitar. It's nice to be in love.

At his concert in Sydney last night, the band was fantastic as well (Narada Michael Walden on drums, Rhonda Smith on bass and Jason Rebello on keyboards) but wow, the way that man plays his guitar - the incredible tone, the sweetness….

It's not new news to any Jeff Beck fan, and there were many, many adoring, elated people in the Enmore Theatre last night, but no matter how many times you hear it, to be in the audience and hear it all live, well, it just makes you want to say it all over again - the incredible tone, the sweetness, the stunning melodies...

So now I have a new, big wish - a most logical desire from my delirious state of in-love-ness, and yet never has logic been quite so intense! - my newest big wish is for: guitar lessons with Jeff Beck. Please. I'm wishing on stars here - this is serious.

I promise to practise. I promise to learn scales past the first three frets. I promise to upgrade my guitar amp from a 1970s 12 watt Fender Musicmaster Bass Amp to something that is much louder, faster and is actually a guitar amp, not a bass amp.

To show I mean business, I have just taken the whammy bar out of its (until-now permanent home) compartment in the guitar case, and attached it to my guitar.

OK. We're ready. Jeff, where are you…..?


For a taste of musical ambrosia click here -
Jeff Beck live at Ronnie Scotts, "Under The Veil"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Aqualash Soundtrack Music

At the moment we have been listening to pieces that were recorded and put away -
ideas, sketches, full pieces and instrumental tracks.

We have had music used in a number of short films and documentaries, and have many more pieces perfect for that medium.

So we are editing and remixing the existing tracks and giving them their own film and TV page, both on our website (coming soon!) and on ReverbNation - up and running right now

We have also been submitting to various licensing sites that promote music for film and TV.

Once that gets done we can focus on recording new tracks. There are
many we have already started recording, and plenty more ideas to choose from so we have our work cut out.

Stop by and have a listen!

Monday, January 25, 2010

January Escapades

Hey folks

It’s been a fast start to the new year, as soon as I got back from my camping adventure there were a number of shows waiting.

Firstly, with Belle Phoenix. She’s a singer songwriter from Sydney, now living in Germany. She was back for Christmas and decided to do some shows. I have played with her occasionally over the last 2 years and this time we played at the Landsdowne hotel in Broadway, Sydney and I had the chance afterwards to check out the Sydney festival opening night, which was massive. You can check out Belle at

The following Sunday I did the semi-regular Jazz gig at the Woolpack Hotel in Redfern. That’s with our alter ego Jazz group – Blue Velvet Jazz - with Sarah singing, myself on guitar and Peter Rundle on Piano. He’s our regular pianist, but we have also have Margaret Brandman join us on occasion. (

Then on Monday I was with Belle again at the famous Sandringham Hotel in Newtown. The bass player didn’t turn up, so Belle played a nylon string guitar and I played electric, and the drummer played only with brushes…. An unplanned change of arrangements but it sounded great – a fresh, sparse presentation of her music.

And finally for now, I just did another Blue Velvet Jazz gig last Sunday – the last of our current residency there. As we usually play corporate events and functions it was great to play public gigs again, and come back each time to familiar faces! At the gig in early January, one of the locals who has been there each week requested ACDC, and we played Back In Black as a swing/waltz feel, which actually sounds great, and is a heap of fun to do. Hopefully we’ll be back there soon.

So that’s January!


Friday, January 8, 2010

New Years Music Calendar

This is the first blog for 2010 so I thought rather than writing what happened last year, I will focus on what’s ahead.

Firstly the festival of Sydney will be having their opening night with numerous stages scattered around Hyde Park and The Domain (in central Sydney) with the Reverend Al Green headlining.

Last year Grace Jones was the headliner and Brian Wilson the year before that.

There are a lot of other acts coming for the Sydney festival, like Martin Medeski and Wood which are playing at the famous Spiegel tent and the Marcin Wasilewski Trio from Poland.

Also coming in March is the legendary Jeff Beck who was here only 18 months ago.

I imagine the Aussies demanded more as he hadn’t been out since the late ‘70s I believe. He is doing the Byron Bay Blues festival which will, no doubt, be the prized act. I had the good fortune of seeing him up close when he was in Sydney last year, and have good seats again for his show in March.

All I can say is that if you haven’t seen him then you don’t know what a person
can do with a guitar… he takes it to a new level of expression. Someone commenting on a YouTube video said that he is “A master of touch and tone” which is very accurate.

The other big show will be Ravi Shankar doing his farwell tour. I imagine he must be well into his ‘80s and what an ambassador for indian classical music.
I was first introduced to his music while watching footage of Montery Pop festival from the late ‘60s. All the musicians from the festival were there watching, including Hendrix. They were all totally in awe of this man.

The playing was so fast and full of fire,he got a standing ovation. That gave me the interest to investigate the world of Indian classical music and I have to say it is the most extraordinary music. The discipline and dedication involved is almost unreal as they start at a very early age and dedicate their whole life to the art form.

Also, Wayne Shorter will be playing at the Sydney Opera House. He was the sax player in the legendary quintet with Miles Davis in the ‘60s. The music sounds just as good today as it did over 40 years ago.

So much music and so little time but these are some of the acts I will be seeing, so hope you have a musical 2010 as well.