HEADLAND began in 2013 as a soundtrack to a collection of found super8 film fragments depicting surfing and coastal culture in and around Lennox Head, Australia in the 1970s. For True Flowers from This Painted World, contemporary, slow-motion HD footage by award winning filmmaker Stephen Jones (El Mar Mi Alma) overscores each track of a full length LP. The film provides a discrete and personally emotive portrait of the Lennox coastline that builds upon traditional notions of landscape and seascape where each and every frame seems painted by hand. The instrumentation is lyrical, the compositions quaint and heartfelt. The combination is a personal insight into an emotional understanding of place.
A limited release of DVDs will accompany the first 250 LP and CD sales of True Flowers from This Painted World.
Les Dorahy A well-regarded visual artist, since 2006 Les has operated the Nashua Road recording studio and in recent times his creative interests have been directed towards the accordion, composition and audio engineering.
Brock Fitzgerald A highly sought-after multi-instrumentalist, his CV includes recording artists such as The Scare, Wolf & Cub, Steve Smyth and Colourflux.
Murray Paterson Artist, writer, curator and arts educator, Murray is probably best known as a musician/composer working with Tex Perkins and The Dark Horses. In 2009 he and Perkins also collaborated on a film score for Rachel Ward’s feature film Beautiful Kate.
Joel Silbersher Singer/guitarist for seminal Australian rock band GOD (1986–1989) who had an enduring hit with My Pal, written by Silbersher. Joel went on to form Hoss and Tendrils (with Charlie Owen). As a solo artist he released Greasy Lens in 2002.
Rebel Waltz Films (Stephen Jones and Tatiana Velasco) El Mar, Mi Alma (2012) ~ A visual love song to the surf blessed land of Chile, its people, and the ocean that defines it. Ghost of Neruda (in development) ~ A thrilling investigation into the alleged murder of the most widely read poet of the twentieth century – Pablo Neruda.
On repeat these last couple of weeks, a discovery that would easily have ranked highly in our list of favourite records of 2013 if we’d been aware of it. ‘Soundtrack’ is the vinyl/digital album from Australian musician collective Headland, a collection of 14 tracks to match vintage 1970s footage from around Lennox Head, New South Wales. Much of the footage focuses on surf culture and it’s hard to imagine a more idyllic place to be as this sun-soaked suite of guitar based pieces mirrors the crashing waves down under.
Aside from the obvious need for suitable music to match such footage, to release it as an album requires it to be listenable as an album. To press it to vinyl requires it to be an exceptional listen, to justify the expense. Soundtrack is quite possibly one of the finest examples of a well put together album I can recall – there is never the need to hit the skip button, you find yourself listening to the album from start to finish – and regularly too! What’s more, there is great variety with instrumental and vocal pieces, lighter and darker pieces, harder and softer pieces – it has everything.
Rhythms Music Magazine
Recorded by a loose collective of musicians at various locations around Northern NSW and South East Queensland, Headland is the soundtrack to a new surf film that collates some 1970s local footage of the Northern NSW area.
The contributing musicians include Murray Paterson of the Dark Horses, Joel Silbersher of Hoss, Dark Horses, etc, Brock Fitzgerald of Wolf & Cub, John Schofield, Tommy Jones and others. Composed to complement the lo-fi footage that is aimed as much at providing a glimpse of life in the (then) tiny surf towns of the area as focusing on the actual surfing, the music is made up of gentle, guitar-based vignettes with vocals used only sparingly. Appropriately, the tone takes you back to the era, reminiscent of some of the more experimental and low-key moments of the music from Morning Of The Earth.
Focusing on live and improvised communication around simple, pretty riffs, the 14 short pieces float past like clouds. The music is always given plenty of room to breathe with rarely more than three or four instruments contributing at any one time, instinctively capturing a tone of reflecting on better times.
By Martin Jones
The Sunday Times, UK (23rd February, 2014) reviewed by Stewart Lee
Sound/Track – Headland – Headland Records – HL01
Luminaries of the Melbourne mafia gathered around the multi-instrumentalist Murray Paterson to soundtrack found ‘70s super8 footage of the New South Wales coastline. Paterson’s lap steel, its swooping sweeps familiar from Tex Perkins’ pellucid Dark Horses records, lends a rustic flavour to the group’s quietly expansive compositions, though there’s an empty space in the shape of some gruff Australian alt-rock troubadour at the centre of each track, it’s satisfyingly occupied by Hoss’ Joel Silbersher on three of the pieces.
The 14 tracks bring together a listless, melancholic, and (of course) cinematic mix of folk, hushed postrock, altcountry, jazz, avant – garde and pop-rock singer-songwriter music. The songs mostly trickle slowly and sparingly feature harmonious vocals.
The remaining contemplative instrumental pieces, some mixed with field recordings, manage to make a deep impression and make you dream away. Moreover, the atmosphere is liberating, lying somewhere between Boxhead Ensemble, Crevecoeur, Friends Of Dean Martinez, Donald Byrd, Lullaby For The Working Class, Hungry Ghosts, Pink Floyd and Neil Young: music that knows how to mesmerise and enchant.
All this adds up to a pleasant surprise that you will not soon forget. Hopefully this group will collaborate again in the future, because this tastes of so much more to come: an obscure, but great work.