such depth and intelligence
..one might draw comparisons with
DJ Shadow in his more ethereal moments"
[Metropolis Magazine Tokyo]
amphibian's own website here
of German vinyl pressing thru Curl
German remix by Marlow of 'Empty' by
Australia's amphibian is the bomb! A super tough yet restrained
and stylish broken beat workout coupled with the devastating vocals
of Natalie Elizabeth Gay. Clean, tight production yet still warm
and human - amazing! ...Have listened to 'Empty' 5 times and it
only arrived in the post 2 hours ago! Will definitely be in my
box for the long-term."
Nathan McClay - TownB]
of 'Adventures In Whistle Village'
I'm a tired old man but I'm particularly tired of yr generic
nu-skool lounge beats and faux-emo-electronica from musicians
who should know better. Gracefully enforcing themselves as an
alternative to such aesthetic insults is Australian trio amphibian
whose new double album release Adventures in Whistle Village
is a carefully laid cross-section of live sound (drums, piano,
double bass etc.), manipulated sounds, and 'the miscellaneous'.
Adventures... takes to the notion of 'genre-subletting',
working through the issues associated with working inside the
realm of jazz beats and cyclic trip-hop sentimentalist textures
and deriving their own concerted response. Sublime features lighten
and shade this set, but the structures from Matt Hill's piano
and Fontanelle-style Rhodes, along with Barry Hill's wonderfully
buoyant double bass line the album with a base which is as water-tight
as a plastic pool liner, the album at large ringing true of The
Necks live throws, often combining a dark funk-riddled groove
with a nervous ambience. Vocalist Natalie Gay contributes to Amphibian's
first vocal outing Empty and the band recall Sydney's Wicked
Beat Soundsytem in the process. It goes without saying that there's
more then a shingle of atmosphere on Adventures...; both
upbeat and contemplative in persuasion, and through it -like labelmate
Don Meers - amphibian have come up with a concoction both immediate,
cinematic, and most importantly, lingering.
[Steve Phillips, JJJ, Beat Magazine + SadnessIsInTheSky]
Australian trio take the traditional
instrumental and compositional elements of jazz and blur the line.
A journey through hardly-hurrying drum beats, warm organic keys
and bass is met by occasional surprises of subtle electronic bites.
A bonus remix disc with local electronic artists adds heavier
drum breaks and samples to make this effort a classy listen.
[Chloe Sasson, Sydney Morning Herald]
are, on the surface, a jazz trio -
double bass, drums and piano - but their music owes almost as
much to ambient, electro-dance and classical minimalist Eric Satie
as it does to jazz. On Adventures In Whistle Village, their
second album, Amphibian provide a cool sea of jazz-inspired ambience
for the listener to drift around in. The key to Amphibian's music
is mood and thematic development. If you're new to this sort of
stuff you'll wait for the musical fireworks and be left wondering
whether you missed something. Amphibian's special talent is to
take a theme - try the hypnotic, flute/voice line in Bedouin
- and slowly seduce the listener, introducing subtle variations
and textures (field recordings of frogs and birds sneak into Duck
Squadron). Some hot saxophone peppers the later tracks. Matt
Hill's piano/Rhodes/synths provide the melodic direction of the
music, but also the subtle grooves that make tracks like Tentacle
irresistible. What really makes this music work, though, is the
agile, dynamic interplay between bassist Barry Hill and drummer
Rob Walsh. Their playing is a lesson in economy, subtlety and
groove. The icing on the cake is Empty, a cool, bittersweet
jazz ballad sung with passion by guest singer Natalie Gay. The
bonus CD includes several inspired remixes of this track. Let
Amphibian prescribe you one very effective chill pill.
[David Curry, The Canberra Times]
an album comes along on which subtlety
defines its quality... Like a rare butterfly that has only days
to prove itÕs beauty... The original... is special enough, but
with added achingly creative re-mixes on a bonus disc. Drop what
youÕre doing and head for Whistle Village, you might be surprised."
Smith, Bartender Magazine]
label that you've liked in the past is usually a safe call,
so when I heard a track from the latest Groovescooter release
on the radio I knew I had to hear more. Plus with remixes from
the likes of Deepchild, Don Meers and Beat World it was sure to
be interesting. Groovescooter is a Sydney label gaining respect
all over the place for it's sweet take on electronic/pop sounds,
but they seem to have taken a little bit of a step away from their
core with this release by Melbourne jazz crew Amphibian. The group
made of double bass, piano/keys and drums have had one prior release
which gave them their oceanic name. While I was initially drawn
to 'Adventures' by the call of the remixer and the label, it was
the mellifluous groove of tracks like 'Orphan' that have kept
me in rapt attention. That's not to suggest that the remixes are
worth passing up, Deepchild's wonderfully titled 'Woomera Breakout
Re-Funk' mix of 'Empty' is the sort of dubbed out funk that we've
come to expect, just with a slowed down tempo and Natalie Gray's
plaintive vocal. While Lava Musique's remix of the same track
has the sort of acid squelchiness that made Mr Finger's best stuff
so gorgeous and ENS remix is just crazy percussion madness. But
compared to the lovely atmospheric jazz and off kilter soul of
the album proper they just can't compete. Tracks like 'Tentacle'
manage to travel all over the place with oddly syncopated piano
keys and skeletal drum'n'bass rhythms padding out the back, while
mournful bass lines drown in the background. The warm sound of
the Rhodes pads along smoothing away the stress of the day in
a whirlpool of soulful grooves, while on 'Bedouin' Mark Spencer's
contemplative flute carries the melody in a sound that is so smooth
and wonderful that it's easy to become caught in the rhythms and
soulful sounds which seem to conjure up forgotten dreams and flights
of the imagination. 'Adventures...' is the story of a fictional
archeologist Dr Norris on her journey northward from the Nullarbor
Plain. The spacious mood is made up of subtle breakbeats, textural
bassy grooves and sax squeals, which easily conjure the rough
feel of desert winds and the rare sight of a treasured oasis or
the trickery of a mirage. Renowned jazz label Verve look like
picking this up for international distribution, so get in and
check this out before it's completely out of control."
[Calico, In The Mix]
ears more accustomed to the electronic avant noodlings
of leftfield electronica and mish mash noise, the straight up
mod-jazz sounds of amphibian seem (at first) to be rather tame.
While blurring the orthodox jazz line by incorporating digital
field recordings with the more traditional sounds of piano, drums
and double bass, the results are a smooth journey through steady
beats, interwoven with sprinkles and smatterings of melody. But
it's the haunting and addictive, and ever so seductive vocals
of chanteuse Natalie Gay, particularly on the feature tracks 'Empty',
that make the listen ever so more appealing. Having made their
mark on the UK chill scene, courtesy of live dates at the annual
Big Chill, this Australian three piece goes that extra step, delivering
something extra-special to this release by including a bonus remix
CD. Featuring reworks of 'Empty' by the likes of Deepchild, Groovescooter,
Don Meers and Nightswimmer, these retakes rework the originals
by adding that extra layer of fuzz and breakbeat workouts (think
Good Looking Records). For those who live their life with a touch
[Lemon Head, 3D World Magazine]
simple and beautiful ... leaves one feeling refreshed"
Fluid, beautiful music that loops itself around your head.
Sounds with plenty of space to roam. Sounds that leave plenty
of room imaginations to move. Music played extraordinarily well."
[Neal Hunt, Revolver Mag Sydney]
chilled and feverishly energetic...
one of the finest to pass our way in a long time."
[Time Off Mag, Brisbane]
"Ambient jazz at its best"
[Tim De Sousa, Revolver Mag, Sydney]
- Adventures In Whistle Village Double CD
| 02_duck squadron | 03_empty featuring Natalie
04_tentacle | 05_bedouin | 06_dr. norris
| 07_truffle | 08_orphan
'woomera breakout re-funk' remixed
Natalie Gay + members
Lava Musique |
07_ empty 'once 'round the shadowy block' remixed by Groovescooter
08_empty remixed by Don Meers | 09_empty Junkbeats
present Union remix |
10_orphan 'drowning remix' by Nightswimmer | 11_empty
to Groovescooter Catalogue