Saturday, January 05, 2013

John Henry Calvinist RIP

Multi-Instrumentalist, with the emphasis on mentalist, John Henry Calvinist, aka David MacKinnon died in September 2012. I only learned of this tragic news a few days ago upon visiting an old friend. David MacKinnon (b 1962) was a founding member of The Lost Domain, which probably had one of the most developed and far reaching influences on the early freak folk scene around the turn of the last century.

I first learned of the existence of the art of David Mackinnon with the 1993 compilation of Brisbane bands from Malignant with his band Invisible Empire. Monty Bloomfield (bands Queer and Noose d. 1994) put out a compilation on his label Malignant, F*ck the White Race. I had a lot of friends who were on that album.

Fast forward 10 years and I am living in Sweden, I am playing music and arranging gigs for the free freak folk scene, and I meet Mats Gustafsson of the great zine Broken Face. Mats and I talk a lot and one thing he presses on me is a CD by a Brisbane band called The Lost Domain. Its is Sailor, Home from the Sea and I am blown away.

As following the link to the release notes of Sailor will show, this was a connection in many ways. I was in 2004 already part of a group of people working under the direction of mueslical eye frog Michael Donnelly, who wrote as a comment on the 2004 release page;

Hey,wow....i live in northern NSWs,about two hours from Brisbane and am part of the musicyourmindwillloveyou sightsoundcollective,we have just started our own homebaked cdr label,with our initial set of releases due out at as soon as i finish doing the artwork...which should be soon.
Strangely enough , the way you describe the Lost Domain is very similar to the kinds of sounds we have been making for the past ten years.....based upon free improv,bringing together acoustic and electronic elements,forging new dimensions in sound ...ect
and to think,we are so close...i thought there was nothing like us in this big dry i am thrilled to discover some likeminded spirits.i await the release of their cd with anticipation and would love to get in touch....cheers

These were indeed likeminded spirits. And by Mats in Sweden bringing Micheal in Australia into context with John Henry and Co. a bridge of shimmering amber light was cast out over the rainforest retreats of every long haired mystic north of the southern ranges.

Since then more music has been made and minds altered. John Henry has moved on, but the sounds remain behind every rock, road sign and broken barroom window. I hope that the body of work left behind continues to inspire for a long time to come.

On the Waterfront, parts 1 & 2 - The Lost Domain

From Sailor, Home from the Sea (Digitalis, 2004), film by John Henry Calvinist

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