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The best kept secret in music


"Avant Guarde Magazine (UK)"

“The title is derived from the visionary writings of the 12th century abbess Hildegard von Bingen. Wishart’s longstanding Early Music group, Sinfonye, is in the process of recording oeuvre for the US record label Celestial Harmonies. But Wishart’s interest in singing doesn’t stop at the point where Sinfonye’s repertoire ends, circa 1400. Of the ten tracks on Azeruz, eight are songs.

Her collaborators on this project are Chris Abrahams, pianist with Australian improvising group The Necks, and tape collagist and sound engineer Shane Fahey; but Jim Denley and Amanda Stewart (from Machine for Making Sense) pop up here and there, along with Mina Kanaridis.

The artless sung-spoken vocals over Moorish hurdy-gurdy lines and rythms on ‘Lacuna’, and the manner is less weirdly adolescent, more sensual. Actually, ‘Angels’ is downright sexy, music and all, as is ‘Travelling at the Speed of Time’. Wishart’s hurdy-gurdy and violin are extremely potent in contexts such as these, and they cut through the mix in machine-driven, dance-oriented pieces like ‘Quinken’. The instrumental ‘Cloud Over the Moon’ is pretty much a hurdy-gurdy feature, with occasional dense, billowing synthesiser chords foregrounding its switchback figurations and edgy sonority. But the instrumental contributions are always at the service of the song; nothing is permitted to divert attention from the atmosphere and effectiveness of each piece.

This isn’t musos playing at avant-pop, it is avant-pop, albeit made by grown-ups for grown-ups. To hear the soundworld of Sinfonye merge seamlessly with an absolute stoner of a groove on the title track is worth the price of admission alone, but everything here is surprising and really rather wonderful.” - (Oct 2000)

"Drum Media (Sydney, Australia)"

“Musically it’s one of those glorious genre-irrelevant numbers, and to try and get a picture of what they’re like, imagine if you will a combination of Bjork, The Paradise Motel, Cat Power and Dead Can Dance. Narrowing it down it’s a sort of an ambient mediaeval dub…an ethereal, otherworldly mood pervades the CD, creating a dreamlike state.”
(Michael Smith)

"...Primarily it is the vehicle of Stevie Wishart, and you might remember her doing experimental and electronic music with Machine for Making Sense. Also forming Azeruz are Chris Abrahams (The Necks) and Shane Fahey (Social Interiors). They form the core of the group, plus it also features some special guests like Amanda Stewart (also from Machine for Making Sense) and Cathy Synerdal (Lime was it?), amongst others.

Musically it is one of those glorious genre-irrelevant numbers, and to try and get a picture of what they're like, imagine if you will a combination of Bjork, The Paradise Motel, Cat Power and Dead Can Dance. Narrowing it down it's a sort of an ambient mediaeval dub...Stevie plays the mediaeval fiddle and hurdygurdy throughout the album, which gives it even more of a middle ages feel. It looks like they've gone to town with it and programmed whatever they felt like and messed with heaps of effects. You've got Abrahams laying down some menacing piano chords too.

An ethereal, otherworldly mood that pervades the CD, creating a dreamlike state. It probably won't be everyone's cup of warm beverage...but damn it makes for a tasty cup."
(Mark Nielsen) - Michael Smith/Mark Neilsen

"RealTime Magazine (Sydney, Australia)"

“Wishart (Machine for Making Sense), Abrahams (The Necks) and Fahey combine to create a magical listening experience, a convincing synthesis of medieval, pop and jazz. It’s great to hear Wishart singing, Abrahams is as seductive as ever on keyboards and Fahey provides an immersive aural field.”
- Sydney Festival - Real Time 42, April/May 2001


Azeruz (self-titled) - LP, 2001


Feeling a bit camera shy


The musicians on this album are experts in their fields and succeed in creating a sonic landscape of great breadth and depth that stretches back through time. Themes, song structures and instrumentation of early European music are successfully translated into a modern context with Stevie’s haunting vocals, arrangements and lyrical interpretations.

Traditional instruments (flutes and percussion by Jim Denley, Stevie’s hurdy gurdy, fiddle, and violin) are combined with intricate sampling, programming and keys (Chris Abrahams) and analog synths & found sounds (Shane Fahey) brought together by Shane’s skilful, spatial production techniques.

This album is a musical odyssey that stems from the manuscripts of early music vaults. Chris, Stevie and Shane have translated the traditional form of early music song through the use of complementary harmonic gestures that have been sampled from the album’s pre-production recordings. Loops have been worked into the whole structure of the music as beats and rhythmic overlays, and extend into the areas of vocalisation and instrumentation.

There is a delightful precision to the remix-like programming and a substantial depth of field that is characteristic of a well-devised soundscape. Made over two and a half years, the benefits of time and space are evident in the finished product.