The Dead Sea
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The Dead Sea

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia | SELF

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia | SELF
Band Alternative Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Spunk Singles Club"

Leader Cheetah kick off the album with a heavy Neil Young fetish on Bloodlines and the Dead Sea close it with grand gestural synth rock but in between there's some delicacy and choral power (the Middle East's Blood), a splash of anxious white-girl blues (Super Wild Horses' We Don't Believe It), Sun-period early rock (the Harpoons' Garden City), 1960s vocal pop sugar (the Maple Trail's New York) and spectral rock a-la Cat Power (Lola Flash's Psycho). And more.

Bernard Zuel - March 09 - Sydney Morning Herald

"Spunk Singles Club"


Noted Oz indie label showcases promising bright young things

In the spirit of Sub Pop and the domestic (and alas defunct) rooART, Australian label Spunk has put together a series of tracks released each week and showcasing an Australia-wide and richly diverse set of bands. These releases are now available on the one disc, which kicks off with the now-familiar Bloodlines, a jangling indie anthem from Adelaide’s Leader Cheetah. Some more obscure gems are to be found as well – Townsville’s The Middle East create a dreamy pop wonderland in Blood, while Megastick Fanfare channel Talking Heads (as well as David Byrne’s samba dabblings) in Musing’s Hearthrob. Elsewhere, Blue Mountains combo The Maple Trail serve up a shimmering, gently psychedelic style of folk pop in New York and NSW Central Coast’s Birdlife blend minimalist indie rock with surreal echoey vocals and a surprisingly sweet pop chorus. Blended with the electronica of Seekae, the Bo Diddley-gone-tribal lo-fi of The Harpoons and the epic instrumental expanse of The Dead Sea, the sheer diversity means you may well not enjoy everything on Spunk Singles Club Volume One – but you’ll still have great fun unearthing your personal favourite gems.


MATT THROWER - Rave Magazine

"The Dead Sea EP review"

Tim Bruniges recruited a couple of friends - drummer Nick Kennedy (Big Heavy Stuff/The Cops) and bass player David Trumpmanis (Sarah Blasko/Bluebottle Kiss) - to help him realise his fascination with the "generation and regeneration of musical ideas". The first fruit of this collaboration is this self-titled debut EP, ethereal sounds emerging from the static, fragments of the signal retrieved, made clear and then drifting off once more. It's three pieces of ambient, insistent, instrumental, experimental, majestic and undeniably moving sounds, over all too quickly in 12 minutes.

- Michael Smith, editor, Drum Media. - Drum Media

"The Dead Sea EP review"

Over the course of twelve minutes, The Dead Sea shows us two things. Firstly, that The Dead Sea have a firm grasp on what really drives ambient music, and secondly, that they're able to boil down a lengthy track into a three minute experience. The EP is bookmarked by two drone pieces, which evolve more quickly than we're used to seeing from these glacial types of tracks. But it works; The Dead Sea navigate these waters well and pull on different emotions that we generally experience. This is all highlighted by the middle track, "Departure Gates," which brings in the percussion and a Hammock influence into the mix. The focus shifts from soundscape to melody, but the plethora of shimmering effects still dazzles our mind in a hypnotic trance.

In less time than it takes most ambient artists to tune their guitar, The Dead Sea demonstrates a deep understanding of two of ambient's most sought after tools. Even more so, I find myself putting "Departure Gates" on repeat and its infectious little tune burrows its way into my subconscious in a way which very few artists of this ilk are able to do so... hopefully there's more of this magic medicine to come.

-Lee Whitefield - The Silent Ballet

"Mess & Noise Album Review"

Once the solo project of Tim Bruniges, The Dead Sea have now become a fully-fledged band with the addition of Todd Sparrow/Big Heavy Stuff alumni Nick Kennedy (drums) and David Trumpmanis (guitar, allsorts). Now flanked by such talent, Bruniges’ cinematic compositions are given license to take flight, soaring well beyond the territories explored on his debut EP.

This is anything but your typical post-rock record. Influences such as Mogwai and their ilk are subsumed by Bruniges knack for writing actual songs, albeit ones that don’t adhere to verse-chorus-verse structures and very rarely feature vocals. The album’s bridging of longer, more exploratory pieces with brief vignettes maintains a sensation of perpetual motion; as one track seamlessly seques into the next, the notion of each song as a distinct piece begins to fade, and a picture of the The Dead Sea as a whole begins to emerge.

In contrast to the EP, this is a much darker, more aggressive recording. Kennedy’s hard-hitting percussion lends an air of menace to opener ‘Slow Jet’ and the epic ‘Zabriskie Point’, while the calmer pieces like ‘Okono’ and ‘Banquet’ are imbibed with a distinct sense of foreboding. Shining out from the fog is ‘Little Lights’, a brief but gorgeous track that serves as a well-placed break between ‘Nulla Desiderata’ and its wall of shimmering sound and the towering ‘Departure Gates’.

As luck would have it, the band have now left us and relocated to Berlin, just as they were fulfilling their potential. It’s a shame to see them go, but with an album of this calibre under their belts, they’re guaranteed to do well on the continent.

by Adam D Mills
- Mess & Noise

"Mess & Noise Live Review"

Half-way through The Dead Sea’s set at The Hopetoun on Saturday night, distraction begins to creep over me. How, I wonder, am I possibly going to review this band and avoid the words “cinematic”, “soundscape” or “builds into a mesmerising wall of sound”?

They’re all apt handles for The Dead Sea’s atmospheric, and frequently ambient, sound. But this is an era when Sigur Ros and Mogwai play stadiums and crescendo is cheap. Bludgeoned by an onslaught of imitative after-acts, reviewers too have to dig deeper for descriptors. No longer does “wall of sound” pack a punch when everyone’s doing it. It’s just a good explanation for why your eardrums still hurt the next day.

“This? The ringing noise? Oh, I walked into a wall of sound last night. Nothing serious.”

I’m at the gig because driving home a few nights ago I heard a song on FBI radio and was so discombobulated by the similarity of the intro to a track from a Fripp and Eno collaboration (‘Meissa’ off 2005’s The Equatorial Stars) that I nearly pulled over for safety reasons. The song (later discovered to be ‘Nulla Desiderata’) settled into its own skin after a while but I was still unsettled – in a good, tingly way – by its reference to Fripp and Eno. “Who is this band?” I thought.

Google The Dead Sea, and various outlets tell you the band was “formed around the vision of musician/video artist Tim Bruniges in 2006, with drummer Nick Kennedy (Big Heavy Stuff, The Cops) and bassist David Trumpmanis (Sarah Blasko, Bluebottle Kiss)”. The internet doesn’t tell you that Tim Bruniges – vocals, guitar and effects – also presides over a over a blinking city planet of guitar pedals.

The Dead Sea bear none of the influences of these bands. They are concerned more with sound, texture and layering than other discernible narratives, probably a sensible preoccupation for a largely instrumental act. When they do lay the guitars on in full volume it’s not to paste you against the back wall of the venue. There’s a delicacy to their approach in which you strain to hear muted melodies or effects that evoke something that seems somehow … lost.

This evocation of the bygone and distinctly sad is reflected in Tim Bruniges’ visual projections, which accompany their set. In a memorable sequence, a procession of 1950s cars weave along a dirt road. Eucalypts sway on the side of the road. It’s heavily-pixilated, mirage-like, drenched in yellows and whites. The scene shimmers with what looks like extreme summertime heat and a haunted quality a la Picnic at Hanging Rock.

While visuals have become almost a cliche with instrumental bands such as The Dead Sea, it’s more understandable when you consider the visual medium is Bruniges’ other primary artistic occupation.

Besides, anything to elevate one’s spirit a few meager inches off the grubby pub floor. It’s the early 8.30 slot at the Hopetoun, you see, and the room is lacking vibe. Ice clinks at the bar in the substantial gaps between songs. “SSSSShhhhhhhhhh!” some roaming wise guy hisses in mockery of the reverent silence. The visuals, thankfully, hold it all together.

There’s one jarring moment, though, as the projection morphs into a silhouetted crowd at an outdoor nighttime show, waving their hands ecstatically in the air. The image co-incides with one of the more emphatic moments in a song, leaving us to uncomfortably wonder if we were supposed to follow suit.

They opened with ‘Slow Jet’ from their soon-to-be-released self-titled LP (a tip of the hat to ‘Here come the Warm Jets’?) It’s synth-heavy but of most note are the drums, which are EQ-ed to sound hollow and echoey, similar to the big lead bass drum in a marching band. It’s a beautiful effect.

Most of their songs are beautiful, in one way or another. Many of them communicate themselves as ideas rather than songs. But while the effects emerging from the MacBook are impressive, The Dead Sea’s live show suffered slightly from the need to play around the omnipotent machine, leaving little room for spontaneity. I didn’t expect a sweaty jam session, but the set had more of a performance element than a gig. A row of neat chairs wouldn’t have seemed out of place. A couch would’ve been downright bliss.

By the end of the set, I realise I’ve got a better soundbite than all those reviewer cliches anyway. The Dead Sea: next most likely band to record a soundtrack. The Necks, Decoder Ring, Art of Fighting, step off. It’ll be The Dead Sea bringing gentle musical nuance to Australia’s next film about suburban alienation.

Mark my words.

by Kate Hennessy
- Mess & Noise

"The Silent Ballet Album Review"

The Dead Sea's long-awaited debut is a powerful mix of condensed ambience, crisp indie-instrumentals, and shoegaze-inspired dynamics. If that combination of elements sounds somewhat unorthodox, then the Sydney three-piece has succeeded in stepping out of the crowd and into the limelight. What is perhaps most noteworthy about the release is that a sound that is often unapproachable by a general audience is as accessible as it is ever going to be; ambient tracks are boiled down below the three minute mark (and really don't seem to be missing much of anything), longer tracks contain thick layers that engage and entertain the listener, and just about every five minutes a solid rock instrumental combines with the band's vibrant sound to get the blood pumping. Vocals even make an occasional appearance and are strong enough to lure in the non-instrumental enthusiast, as well as please those who are overly critical of the utility of singing. Few debuts are as fun, unassuming, and ultimately lovable as The Dead Sea. - The Silent Ballet


1) The Dead Sea EP: 2007
2) The Silent Ballet IX Compilation: 2008
3) Spunk Singles Club Vol. 1: 2009
4) The Dead Sea Debut Album: 2009

Tracks available for download from:
itunes, e-music, Red Eye Records, Amazon, lala, bigpondmusic, & 7Digital

We have tracks streaming at
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In 2006, on a misty, picturesque day in the Blue Mountains just outside of Sydney, Tim Bruniges (Decoder Ring) was driving down the middle of a non-descript, tree-lined road recording the experience on a mobile phone. A week later, that lo-fi footage was combined with a hazy, tape degenerated soundtrack to become “World Sham Pain”. The film received its premiere in a lounge room at a small performance night amongst friends.
A few months later, Tim got on a plane to introduce the second showing of “World Sham Pain” in Cinema 1 at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, France as part of the International Panorama of Festival Pocket Films 2007. This track subsequently became the opening cut of the self-titled EP and the trajectory of The Dead Sea began.

In June 2007, Nick Kennedy (Big Heavy Stuff, The Cops) and David Trumpmanis (Bluebottle Kiss, Sarah Blasko) were recruited to translate The Dead Sea to the live stage.
A slew of local gigs occurred throughout 2008, as did commencement of work on their debut album. Before it’s completion, tracks by The Dead Sea were featured on The Silent Ballet Compilation XI, the Swedish film “Halsningar fran Skogen”, the CBS series “CSI: Miami” and the first ever “Singles Club” on the Australian label, Spunk Records.

In 2009, having completed work on their debut album, the band travelled to Europe and played a series of shows including: a feature set at the Wilsonic Festival in Bratislava (one of Resident Advisor’s top festival picks), headline shows in Berlin and Stockholm and an idyllic headline performance on the edge of the sea at sunset at Malmo’s Sommarscen Festival.

Having returned to Sydney in August 2009, their album was released globally via iTunes, emusic, Amazon and Lala to much international acclaim.
The Dead Sea are preparing for an Australian physical release of their debut album and subsequent East Coast tour in late 2009 before returning to Europe in April 2010 upon invitation to perform at Audiobox in Murcia, Spain.

For more information on releases, reviews and tour dates please visit: