Somnambule - Writing About Music

Dead Hollywood Stars ~ Junctions

I start to listen to this music for the first time tired and a bit depressed at the onset of another London autumn with its chill and rain. Outside my window the rain is beating down, the leaves are being blown from the trees, but I close my eyes with Dead Hollywood Stars in my headphones and it’s a hot Mexican/Spanish/American afternoon where the heat haze obscures the distance and a multitude of experiences await.

‘ Junctions’ employs found sound as signifier in the best filmic tradition: cicadas, threatening drones, Bollywood strings, Cooder-esque guitar, a horse neighing, gritty noises, and so on. There’s lots of things going on, but the detail isn’t fussy at all, just necessary to the setting of a particular scene. Synthetic sounds associated with IDM or D’n’B (bass waves, washes) are placed in a different context and the consequent mix of acoustic and synthetic is highly enjoyable. Rhythm tracks are used sparingly, when they are the template is electronica-derived.

The sonic world of Junctions is luxurious like a book whose first page you’ve just read and you know you’re going to enjoy the rest of. The predominant sound is acoustic and electric guitar drenched in reverb, implying great (American) distances. Lavishness is a large part what this music seems to be about: in the same way you’d enjoy savouring a Thali, here the constituent parts await your delectation, adding up to a satisfying whole, a nice full belly.

Reference points? John Zorn’s Spillane, FSOL’s Lifeforms, Fourtet’s first album, Ry Cooder’s Paris, Texas. New films are being recorded in rich stereo-sound constantly – this is one of the (much) better ones.

There are three photographs on the cover of the cd: mountains covered in cacti with a vivid blue sky above, railway tracks and shadowcast, old wooden doors. There is nobody visible in these images: they are scenes waiting for you to step into out of rainy London or wherever you are.
Colin Buttimer
October 2002
Published by the BBC