Kris Keogh is based in Nhulunbuy and his toddler won’t sleep without this music. As for others in the tiny Arnhem Land community, Keogh says: “I think zero people here like it.” I saw him last in 2009 at Newcastle’s This Is Not Art festival, pounding out a techno set on a monome. Even then, harp glittered around the edges and now, harp is all there is.
Keogh processed the raw strings using self-made software (included as a bonus download). Bass flutters, never finding a rhythm, and digital tape hiss is ever-present. Still, it’s quite new age-y though if it were playing in a massage room I’d probably keep one eye open. Water metaphors are unavoidable – is water harp’s spirit element? I hear sun glinting on ripples; trickles snaking through soil; drips in mossy caves. Keogh’s compositions were inspired by birth (his daughter) and death (his father) and are offered to others as a reflective space. As poet Denise Levertov wrote: “Don’t say there is no water/to solace the dryness at our hearts.”