A one-sided C60 cassette. Limited to 50 copies only.
The Freebrain Orchestra formed in Brisbane in 2017 as a means to turn Bob Farrell’s home recordings into a live setting. Bob used to record albums out of his home studio in the Fraser Coast as the Soundman, Bob Dog and most recently – Bob Freebrain. He had them all mastered at 301 and employing everything it takes to make a ‘proper’ album; the only thing he didn’t do was press up anything you could call quantity and that’s how it’s been for the last twenty years. Farrell was originally a founding member of Laughing Clowns – having been a part of the Saints’ inner circle since his formative days at Corinda High.
I first saw Bob perform live at GOMA, opening for a reunited Clowns a decade ago. He played electric piano and sang and the only time there was a break in that music, he’d stand up, blow some atonal saxophone for a few minutes and then sit down again and resume hammering away at the piano and singing his personal, fractured lyrics about his world in rural Queensland.
A bit of time passed and I was asked by Ed Kuepper to drum for him at QUT’s Gasworks studio as they were attempting to create the world’s longest continual recording and joining was the unmistakable horn playing of Bob’s for an hour or so of freeform improvisation. A CD-r exists out there of this moment.
After that moment, Bob dove back into obscurity and time got away until a mutual friend of Bob’s suggested I get in touch with him to play music and thus Bob Freebrain was reborn as a live performing artist with myself on drums.
Wanting to fill out the sound and resemble something sonically along the lines of Archie Shepp’s big bands and of course the Sun Ra’s Arkesta with perhaps a touch of Father Yod’s Ya Ho Wa 13, I enlisted Wolfgang Kuepper to play guitar and synth and for Don MacLennan to join me on drums. Wolf hadn’t played music since the days of Just Urbain at Brisbane’s Silver Dollar nightclub in 1980 and after Don’s tenure in the 1st lineups of Crime & The City Solution, not a lot had been heard of him since and like Bob, he too was a part of the Saints’ inner-circle having learnt his craft from jumping on Ivor Hay’s drumkit at Club ’76 in Petrie Terrace.
The Freebrain Orchestra has since played sporadically around town and had one of their shows recorded for a cassette release from the evening in Brisbane where they opened for the reformed Tactics. The cassette in question is the band in its most natural environment, stradding between rock and anti-rock – jazz and anti-jazz and we hope you enjoy the mad mind of Bob Farrell and his band until the tape stops.
Foritude Valley, October 2019