uncle e. – little girl on the hill / e waves

uncle e.
little girl on the hill / e waves

The last 12 months have been busy for Tim Pledger. Hot on the heels of Chocolate Ice, the second full length from his artcore jazz experimental band Bohjass, comes these two EPs, almost a world away from his band-related material. Here we have Pledger branching out in the studio, tweaking with atmospheric sounds for all they’re worth. It’s strange, often scary, but definitely very interesting.
little girl… is a two-track glide through repeated pulsations, rising blips, and haunting, almost threatening samples that are hacked to pieces and repeated over and over. The title track is 19 minutes of harrowing build-up with little release, the audio equivalent of Mulholland Drive‘s eternal yet unresolved suspense. “Bunny’s Whorehouse” is half that length, yet it’s equally as uncomfortable, this time using a more mechanical loop as the framework for its journey. According to the liner notes, there are samples of both Muhammid Ali and Rex Johnson films, and these voices are warped unintelligibly, zoomed in and out of the mix and manipulated into the kind of distorted erotic sound that scares your neighbours even when played at midday.
e waves seems almost human, a repeating loop of a female voice laughing and saying, “I forget you weren’t gonna keep playing” providing, at least in the opening moments, a warmth absent from its predecessor. But then a scraping screech kicks in, like metal on metal, as the driving beat and the vocal becomes more distorted and cut up, layered into itself, folded into a percussive force and eventually another more melodic voice drifts across and in between and then takes centre stage. Almost 25 minutes later, “hannawaves” is over, and we’ve had a male, a new vocal sample, that laugh, and a host of other “organic” sounds to intrigue us. “The waves are here” samples Bohjass, proving that Pledger’s self-referential style of humour is still present, even amidst this 19 minute epic of backward loops, under-laid bass scales, and competing samples. This time it’s smoother, more settled, but still as complex and rhythmic as the other tunes.
The EPs give us an entirely new perspective on Pledger’s abilities to sculpt sounds into a textured and challenging whole. It’s by no means easy listening, but nothing by this Melburnian multi-instrumentalist ever is. Yet, as always, it’s the possibilities that are ripped open by Pledger that make him one of the more intelligent and exciting underground Australian artists making music in what can otherwise be a seething snakepit of commercialised harlots.