Track By Track: Margins

Melbourne quartet Margins may be instrumental, but the solitary song with vocals on their newly [re-released](/news/4561487) second album ?Divide? still gets the most attention, says ADAM COOPER.

Let me start by acknowledging my discomfort with providing explanations of individual album tracks. Two points come to mind:
a) We would prefer the album to be appreciated as the sum of its parts (or at a stretch the sum of four sides, if you are listening on vinyl)
b) The absolute last thing we wish to do is impose an intended meaning upon an individual track. These pieces of music merely exist as a catalyst for the listener’s own unique interpretation. There is nothing to ?get?, so please don’t invest too much meaning in what’s been written here, lest you be branded some sort of fanboy.

However, to keep things interesting I have included suggestions for film scenes you may wish to indulge your senses in whilst listening to certain tracks. This is a regular feature of our live set and the act of sourcing this material keeps me regularly and thoroughly entertained – so please enjoy.


Quite hilarious to recall that the foundation for this song was an evening jam between Dave [Geisler] and myself under considerable influence of his first batch of home brew. Though he assures me that the pre-mix used was a Little Creatures clone, I choose to believe it was in fact some sort of Drunken Hobo Giggle Potion. At the time my wife’s piano was set up in an old bungalow at the rear of our house. The neighbours must have thought it was Dudley Moore and Peter Cook performing from beyond the grave. The opening thump is an accident: Dave’s fat foot on the piano pedals.

Open by Margins by BATTLE


Originally titled ?Swell? after the [melodihorn](http://www.youtube.com/watch’v=BKkPFlqklh4) intro. I remember buying the melodihorn for $5 at a garage sale in Gosford, hence the awkward clacking of the keys. This was in fact a most unwelcome addition to the track, proving that we are clearly more cheapskate than avant garde. The finger-tap solo that concludes the song is performed live with the band, though I dare not take credit away from the borrowed tube screamer that propels it.

Live visual sync: the foxhunting scene from The Omen III.

Gulag by Margins by BATTLE

?Ice Station?

Named after a particularly ugly painting hanging in the caf? down the road from the studio. It may well still be there, considering its $300 price tag. Awful.

Live visual sync: the [dream sequence](http://www.youtube.com/watch’v=OfowVslQBQk) from Tarkovsky’s Stalker.

Ice Station by Margins by BATTLE

?E.J. Birdsworth?

Yes, after [the chick](http://www.youtube.com/watch’v=J2x3bCAQlBw) from Prisoner [Cell Block H] – Brett [O’Riley]?s touch.

Don’t remember too much about the process of recording this one. However, I do know that it can be synced perfectly to the opening titles of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly* (qualities that Lizzy Birdsworth possessed in spades). The working title was ?80s Sitcom?. Imagine for a moment the lead guitar line over the opening of *[Charles in Charge](http://www.youtube.com/watch’v=km22zWPz4uY) – bingo!

E.J. Birdsworth by Margins by BATTLE

?Rabbit Head?

Sung and named by Jess Cornelius [of Teeth & Tongue]. Began life as a single guitar line intended to be echoed by a female voice. The vocals were recorded in the front room of Jess’s then-sharehouse a number of months after the guitars were tracked. Probably the track that garners the greatest degree of attention, despite taking the least amount of time to record. Vocals will always trump anything else for attention – even without lyrics.

Rabbit Head by Margins by BATTLE

?Things Fall Apart?

Named after [the book](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThingsFallApart) of the same name. The track rollicks towards an inevitable collapse that imitates the book’s take on tradition contorted by change. Loosely related to this theme, we have often played this track to an accompanying video sync taken from the film Altered States. [The clip](http://www.youtube.com/watch’v=gy9eRzkOc) sees William Hurt take a hefty shot of peyote soup and then royally tripping out, only to find his girlfriend has transformed into a goanna.

Things Fall Apart by Margins by BATTLE

?Man Vs Nature?

This most enjoyable track to play live was in fact a complete brain-fuck to record. Written in various interrupted spasms and finally given definition upon on the day, it remains a unique example of how to blow four minds simultaneously whilst creating genius.

Live visual sync: The final battle scene in Predator.

Man Versus Nature by Margins by BATTLE


A complete improvisation between Dan MacKay [of The Nation Blue] and myself. Without going into personal details, this is an enduring example of music induced by tension between two individuals. A moment of perfect crystallisation, this is and will forever remain the most pure track on the album. Perhaps someone will play it at my funeral.

Division/Suspension by Margins by BATTLE

?Static Cleaner?

In juxtaposition to its precursor, this is a seemingly throwaway piece performed, yes, on acoustic guitars. Although never truly intended to appear as a feature track on the album, it ends up serving as a masterful circuit breaker between the tension of ?Division//Suspension? and the whimsical opening of the following track. Thank Dave G and his trusty static cleaner brush for the title.

Static Cleaner by Margins by BATTLE


Obviously named [in tribute](http://www.youtube.com/watch’v=BgvzrVD6xww) to the aquatically inspired tremolo bass odyssey that brings it to a close. Akin to drowning in bong water, albeit an expensive French variety.

Cousteau by Margins by BATTLE

?Transmission Blues?

A meandering road to nothing and everything simultaneously, this piece is an example of duelling structure and freeform. Thankfully, a lull in proceedings allowed me to get my head around the possibilities of the A minor verse beforehand. A single take, each verse is improvised between structured crescendos. A welcome addition was Chris Rainier’s deliciously wack guitar solo in the final verse, a slippery slope of trills, whines and plucks that drag the listener into a maelstrom of oversaturated guitar language that possibly only he can decipher. Rounding out the album is a lullaby outro that holds you in its cushioned palm as you descend back down upon terra firma. A baby-grand finale.

Live visual sync: Tom Cruise enters the Mask Party in Eyes Wide Shut*. Alternatively, try the [funeral scene](http://www.youtube.com/watch’v=sYFXv6bDIY8) from *Soy Cuba.

Transmission Blues by Margins by BATTLE


####?Divide? is out now through [Battle Worldwide Recordings](http://battleworldwiderecordings.com/battle).