Track By Track: Benedict Moleta
Perth songwriter BENEDICT MOLETA is up to his eighth album of pensive, acute storytelling, rendered with a revolving cast of musical collaborators. He weighs in on ?The Magical World? below.
This song was written after reading [Ben Watt](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Watt)?s book Patient, an account of the rare disease he developed in the early ?90s, and the bewildering experiences he had in English hospitals as a result.
A tribute to Armando Barajas, and a brief history of the New Deal skateboarding company. Even though some people might cringe when they look back on the slow, ground-hugging tech skating of 1991, for me (http://www.youtube.com/watch’v=mPRan3Hjaec)* was a much more enlightening video than 1994?s *Children of the Sun, when everyone started putting on a phony style and doing fakie kickflips. In 2002 Kenny Reed, Ricky Oyola and The 7 Year Glitch seemed to bring back some of the magic. This song is just Julian [Bolleter] on piano and me singing – no other instruments. Julian’s piano playing is great and it’s an exciting song to perform.
?Ballgames in Birdwood Square?
I lived in a couple of different houses not far from Birdwood Square for quite a few years. I liked watching the guys playing soccer in the park there on weekend afternoons, sitting under the trees in the sun.
This one is about an anxious period a few years ago, when the house I was renting looked like it was going to be sold at short notice. I was going to have to find somewhere to live in a rush, with Perth’s rental prices soaring and landlords not being likely to go for a tenant with a large black dog. The song is about my dog keeping my company through this time, and being a good friend to me. It’s got a real guitar solo on it by Andrew [Ewing].
This one was prompted by driving down to the greyhound kennels in Southern River, seeing the white crosses by the side of the highway in the bright daylight. The ranges of the Darling Scarp are always striking and dark blue when you’re driving east out of Perth. There’s something hallucinatory about the combination of that dark blue background, the heat haze coming off the road and the names of motorists flashing at you from the white crosses as you pass them.
Probably my favourite song on the album. The harmonies from Miranda [Pollard] and Andrew, Andrew’s beautiful bass playing and the way the piano works with the singing all came together very harmoniously when we were recording. It’s a song about confused times, but I think it sounds pretty calm when you listen to it.
?Book of Trees?
A couple of years ago I bought a book of Australian Tree Portraits for someone – wonderful old photographs of native Australian trees. This song came out of it.
This one’s about a hairpin I found sitting on the edge of my bedside table. I guess it’s partly a tribute to Tracey Thorn too. The end of the song, when Julian’s piano enters, reminds me of Narnia, or winter in the Black Forest.
This is Julian’s favourite song on the album – he feels like it really goes somewhere. It’s about the Lakeways drive-in, which was near the house where I grew up, and the lake below the drive-in, where I spent a lot of summers digging around and playing bows and arrows with my mate Mark Robson.
Written about a part of Perth where I lived in a flat in the late ?90s, and where I found myself once again in 2011. It’s about experiencing new things in a place which is familiar but which has also changed in many ways. One of the nicest feelings you can have is walking down a back laneway in early summer, warm and quiet, with a bag full of stuff from the shop to make an excellent dinner.
This one’s about the hot heart of summer, trying to block out all the cracks of light at the edges of the windows, and keep the house dark all day.
Musically this is the most interesting song on the album. Julian’s piano leads the way, but I think the syncopation in Rosemary [Halsmith]?s percussion (on the flamenco cajon) is what makes in really groovy. There’s also a Graceland vibe in Andrew’s guitar solo, which I look forward to every time we play the song. It’s about living the sweet life.
####?The Magical World? is out now [independently](http://benedictmoleta.bandcamp.com/album/the-magical-world). It launches tomorrow (Nov 16) at Maylands Yacht Club in Maylands, WA, from 7:30pm with support from Mathas.