Red Wine and Sugar – A Population of Indoor Cats LP
Red Wine and Sugar is the collaborative project of Samaan Fieck (music/sound) and Mark Groves (voice/text). Both have been active as part of innumerable projects in the Australian underground music scene for many years: Groves as frontman for noise punks True Radical Miracle, in power electronics projects such as Dead Boomers and Absoluten Calfeutrail, and, most recently, in the woozy tape loops and colloquial soliloquies of his solo project Absurd Cosmos Late Nite; Fieck as a shadowy presence on guitar and sundries, shaping the explosive noise outbursts of Smash Tennis, the post-Dead C basement jams of outfits such as Ghost Gums, and the deconstructed rock moves of Where Were You at Lunch.
As gratifying as these projects have been, Red Wine and Sugar is where Fieck and Groves follow their respective muses furthest down the rabbit hole, occasionally surfacing to offer up another slice of their radically idiosyncratic combination of drily delivered text and concrète sound. Groves’ close-miked voice delivers a fragmentary litany of closely-observed suburban aperçus, touching on diets quickly abandoned, insomnia, peak-hour commutes, and the anxiety of the everyday. Occupying an uncomfortable position somewhere between ironic distance and earnest confession, his words capture the lowest rung of a ‘general all-purpose experience – like those stretch socks that fit all sizes’ (John Ashbery). These words are woven into Fieck’s intricate sound works, meticulously edited and detail-rich environments that touch on classic electroacoustic techniques, gritty tape-trader underground moves, and distant strains of drum machines and synth that pay tribute to the great works of 80’s art pop (Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Jane Siberry).
Francis Plagne, September 2019