Let the words ‘Arnhem supergroup’ or ‘NT desert rock’ resonate for a while.
The ochre earth and white sands of Arnhem Land are an aweing part of the planet to be drawing musical inspiration from. Add to this a lineage that includes the late Dr M Yunupingu and other Yothu Yindi members, and there is something special going on with NE Arnhem Land young guns East Journey.
Something going on doesn’t begin to cover it: add in influences from the likes of Santana, Yothu Yindi and Jimi Hendrix. It’s the sizzling lead guitar from PJ White that is a standout on their newest EP The Genesis Project: a rock sensibility deeply fused with manikay (traditional song), bilma (claptsicks) and yidaki (didgeridoo) permeates this release following their 2012 debut.
Pick out the hypno-drone of Gapalan Yunupingu’s yidaki. He is one of the finest yidaki players in the world and you now get a sense of the musical pedigree present in East Journey. Lead single Bright Lights Big City adds in a funky rhythmic groove while Mokuy (Spirit) and Bonba (Butterfly) sounds like a long lost desert template.
East Journey and Yothu Yindi recorded most of the EP in Cairns and the group expects the tradition of Yothu Yindi to carry on through East Journey. Album production is provided by LA import Stevie Salas and there is a sense that this is just the beginning of great things to come from the group.
The Genesis Project is out now with the next single Ngarrpiya is available 6 April.