Book-ended with the rolling ocean waves on a beach, and recorded in nipaluna/Hobart’s magnificent Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), the single ‘bereavement’ by musical polymath Ben Salter encapsulates something of the natural beauty and rough-hewn chill of the southern isle. A brief but evocative piano piece, Salter’s voice is soft and almost broken, quietly reflective and imbued with a sense of loss and regret.
The video accompanying the track mirrors the stark simplicity of the track: ethereal, beautiful and Arctic with a open ended finale as Salter walks toward the water.
This is a magnificent and immersive piece that is haunting and elegant.
The single is available to stream here or as an EP along with two enticing covers of songs by Robert Scott (The Clean and The Bats)/Dallas Henley and The Kinks as well as some additional originals through the link below:
‘bereavement’ comes off Salter’s forthcoming treatise on the topic of grief, loss and the vicissitudes of aging, ‘twenty-one words for loss’.
The entire album was conceived, written and recorded over two days in April earlier this year at MONA during Salter’s six month residency/installation. Salter says of the writing and recording process:
The album started as another writing exercise in the museum, one of many. I wrote down twenty-one (often quite obtuse) synonyms for the word “loss” on individual pages of a notebook and then scribbled down some lyrics for each, in a very stream-of-consciousness manner. Then I went through and composed and recorded each track very quickly, playing everything myself.
The only restriction was that the songs had to be around the 90 second mark, so the whole album only runs for 30 minutes or so. I did something like fifteen tracks on the first day and the remainder on the second.
Salter is an institution in Australia: he has an indefinable style and an immersive approach to his music that has seen him play and collaborate with musicians all over the world including Marlon Williams, Vika & Linda Bull, Gareth Liddiard (The Drones/TFS), Emily Wurramara, Robert Scott (The Clean, The Bats), Mike Watt (The Minutemen, Porno For Pyros, The Stooges), Tim Rogers (You Am I), Liz Stringer, Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger), Julien Wilson, Mick Thomas (Weddings, Parties, Anything), and Dan Kelly.
Over the past two decades Salter has toured extensively throughout Australia and across the world, performing at house concerts, concert halls and everywhere in between – From the Australian High Commission in London, to outback pubs, Icelandic community halls, Japanese garages, Honolulu dive bars, Breton sheep farms, Swiss lounge rooms, and many more besides.