Swampland Magazine | New music again? On the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre

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In 1981 Melbourne band Essendon Airport released their second album Palimpsest. If you’re lucky enough to have the original vinyl, you can reach inside the sleeve and find a red-and-white screen-printed paper detailing various album information, including the following acknowledgement: “All” “songs” “written” “and” “produced” “by” “ESSENDON AIRPORT”. Like the prevailing character of Essendon Airport, it’s all good humour, pastiche and witticism sitting alongside theory and philosophy, and threaded with the postmodern suspicion that there are no musical or textual originals, only opportunities for recontextualisation. (Paradoxically, it’s this fact that renders Essendon Airport as an entirely original entity, loaded with a unique personality.)

Formed in 1978 as a duo featuring David Chesworth and Robert Goodge, and later joined by Paul Fletcher, Ian Cox and Barbara Hogarth, Essendon Airport is part-band, part-aesthetic project. There are not only preoccupations with musical minimalism, pop, post-punk and free jazz, but concerns with referential meanings and popular culture—the commercial and the political. Nowadays Chesworth (kind of) jokes, “We were all Marxists then”, and the fun of Essendon Airport was in countering both the historical thrust of modernism and the contemporary push of the commercial…

Read the full long-form profile on Clifton Hill Community Music Centre at Swampland.