Gondwanaland

Gondwanaland was a uniquely Australian world music group featuring an unlikely combination of didgeridoo (Charlie McMahon), synth and electric keyboards (Peter Carolan) and live and electronic percussion. The two albums listed above capture the group at its zeitgest both as a live act and in the studio.

artist:
Gondwanaland

country of origin:
Australia

style(s):
World beat, ethno ambient, synth pop/rock

decades active:
80's - 90's

essential releases:

  • Let The Dog Out (1985, Log Music)
  • Wide Skies (1992, Log Music)

Reviewed by Mike G

Now disbanded, Gondwanaland was a uniquely Australian world music group featuring an unlikely combination of didgeridoo (Charlie McMahon), synth and electric keyboards (Peter Carolan) and electronic and live percussion. The two albums listed above capture the group at its zeitgest both as a live act and in the studio.

Let The Dog Out (1985) is a highly atmospheric live recording, Wide Skies (1992) is an equally wonderful studio album. The band was equally at home in both settings, playing a fabulous brand of colourful, atmospheric world beat and ethno ambient evoking the harshness, beauty and open spaces of the Australian landscape. Tracks vary from upbeat and celebratory to abstract electronic impressionism, and the blending of the didgeridoo with Western instruments with  - particularly Carolan’s organ melodies - is strikingly effective.

Wide Skies proved to be the band's swansong and is the best among their several studio albums. Many of the tracks feature didgeridoo in a less upfront role than before as the band explores new territory with electronics, percussive textures and Eastern atmospheres. Particularly strong are the contributions of guest viola player Cleis Pearce from the group Coolangubra, another Oz world music ensemble from the same era whose albums are well worth checking out.

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