“Epic, a four-letter word which this song truly deserves” | ‘Ode To The Dudes’ | Quinlan Porteous

“I can’t think of another epic song that captures in less than 150 words how humanity has gone from living on the land to exploitation by those with no regard for people other than in their ability to generate wealth”

“…. on the planet I’m born on the bastards ‘ll tell ya, that slavery’s banned, while they package and sell ya. They won’t let us live on the beaches and in trees, while they breakfast at Maxim’s and brunch in Los Angeles ….”

I’m going to have to use a four-letter word which this song truly deserves. And you’ll perhaps be upset – because “epic” is one of those annoying words. Like “iconic” it’s slapped onto cultural artefacts unworthy of the name, anything from ice-cream to underwear. One more instance of how late-stage capitalism robs valid concepts of their power in the service of the almighty buck.

Quinlan … “If I didn’t know I could deliver a spirited vocal, I wouldn’t have taken on this iconic Billie Reid song. To do justice to the lyric, thus to Billie, I needed to be fearless. I wanted to offer up a musical creation, more so than just release another song, that not only paid homage to Billie Reid the poet but to Billie Reid the Planet warrior, thus supporting the cause, that is, the movement against our planets reckless destruction, that Billie is so passionate about. I think I’ve done that. I laid my soul out there, and I’m proud of what I’ve produced.”

The fact ‘Ode To The Dudes’ brings to mind such thoughts in seeking to write about Quinlan’s take on what is probably Billie Reid’s defining lyric tells you a good deal about the song. Quinlan wanted to do the words justice – “I needed to be fearless”. You can judge for yourself, but I’m inclined to agree with his assessment – “I laid my soul out there.”

In its tone and sonics ‘Ode To The Dudes’ evokes a powerful politically-charged track from late in David Bowie’s career – ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’ – a collaboration with Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails). Like that potent meeting of talents Quinlan draws on a pre-existing song which others breathe vital new life into.

Just how is this track epic? Let me count the ways. For one, I can’t think of another that captures, in less than 150 words, how humanity has gone from living on the land to exploitation by those who see others only in their capacity to generate wealth for themselves. The way I’ve put it there suggests the track could be a tired rant, but Billie’s words have a timeless quality, taking you on that journey through his ability to tap into mythic concepts with a few impeccably-chosen phrases.

Quinlan draws on the full range of his vocal talents, taking listeners from folk ballad to anger, against a backdrop that steadily builds up a sound-picture with wailing sirens and hints of riot. It works to good effect, alchemical production part of what it shares with the Bowie track. And again – as with The Thin White Duke’s restless explorations – there’s a more experimental mix of the track, ‘Ode To The Dudes (Ext-Re-Mix)’, that stretches sonic possibilities further still. Producer SquidEyes serves up propulsive explorations akin to an action painting inspired by the song’s anger – not one you’ll listen to so often, but one of those pieces of music that’s perfect for cranking up when you’re in the right kind of wrong mood. In 2022 it’s likely we’ll be feeling it more often.

Charlie Reynolds

* Class always shines through and perhaps Quinlan has missed his train once or twice through his own personal demons, but you can’t keep a champion down, the fight is on, he’s not ashamed of who and what he is. There will be a second act to this play and that feels good. It’s a simple thing, a guitar and a tune and voice. Sometimes that’s all you need. His heartbeat is loud and strong. John Young (Contemporary Musicologist).

* It’s been a long road for Quinlan Porteous. For a decade or two he’s been name-checked as a fine thoughtful musician, steeped in the music of southern soul, and with a dry sense of humour. His journey started well before that but somewhere along the line Quinlan’s artistic bearings went askew through being drawn into the eccentric orbits of the famous.

For a while Quinlan became a dressed-up stooge jumping through record label hoops. Now, battered and wistful but tattered heart still beating, he’s doing things on his own terms. And unlike earlier days he’s more willing to recognise the songwriting skills of others – Billie Reid in particular.

Quinlan grew up listening to his family’s record collection. Parents and siblings introduced him to the close-knit harmonies of the Everly Brothers and – like a tossed pebble skittering across a pond – he effortlessly dipped in and out of new influences as he went. South African township music. British blue-rock before Led Zeppelin rewrote the rules. Chet Atkins and other titans of Americana. Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan, James Brown and Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton and Tina Turner.

Now, Quinlan Porteous has come full-circle. After misadventures and problems around the fatal trifecta of ego, substances, and productivity, he’s pretty much at peace with the men he’s been and the man he’s become. Rueful for sure, but no harm in that when another opportunity to put music into the world appears. Still drinking from the same well, and now supping steadily while he works on songs old and new with rising players and producers.

Alt-country is part of the story, and only part. In the same way that the 60’s country scene begat Grateful Dead and grew into a roots psychedelia scene, later turning into Green on Red and others of the Paisley Underground, the vibe Quinlan picked up on since coming across Soundscape has rejuvenated him. Partly it’s about meeting younger players who share similar reference points. That makes musical communication so much easier. The results speak for themselves. It’s a simple thing, a guitar and a tune and voice. Sometimes that’s all you need. Quinlan’s heartbeat is loud and strong. Charlie Reynolds.

“… Quinlan’s resonant delivery of Acid Blue’s bitter-sweet lyric deserves the same opportunity”

There’s a psychedelic revival happening. Tech-bros are micro-dosing, entrepreneurs are attending ayahuasca ceremonies, because when there’s money in the air people will do what they need to come up with fresh ideas, and nature’s brain-candy is the source du jour. I’m sceptical about that financial motive, but the principle itself is sound enough, which amateur psychonaut Billie Reid explores here in a song he wrote looking at the impact of hallucinogens on a depressive episode.

Richard Ashcroft had it right when he was with The Verve and sang “the drugs don’t work.” But the glimpses they give of a something better that creativity emerges from are an understandable lure. Ashcroft’s song was the stand-out from the band’s album ‘Urban Hymns’. Quinlan’s resonant delivery of Acid Blue’s bitter-sweet lyric deserves the same opportunity.

Quinlan Porteous | Acid Blue (Official Music Video) | Ode To The Dudes | Youtube

‘I Can Hear Your Heartbeat’ | “Quinlan drops all the bells and whistles and goes for the sound of truth”

The simplest things are the hardest.

An all-guns-blazing rock epic is in so many ways easier to assemble than a straight-forward love song.

Sometimes the same people can deliver both, like when Meat Loaf worked with producer Jim Steinman. I’ve heard Quinlan go big before, on the anthemic ‘Ain’t It A Shame’. This time, the singer drops the bells and whistles and goes for the sound of truth.

This arrangement leaves Quinlan nowhere to hide – and he doesn’t. It’s good to hear a guy being open and vulnerable. Quinlan’s got the maturity to let the words do the work, and they convince.

The song is a miniature, a moment, a memento, that could have been made pretty much like this version – allowing for studio tech – in the fifties. All the more impressive that it’s just been allowed to slip into the world as is without Quinlan and team making a big deal out of that.

Quinlan Porteous | I Can Hear Your Heartbeat (Official Music Video) | Ode To The Dudes | Youtube

“… a tale rich in folkloric imagery that reminds us that the prospect of love is both timeless and significant”

There’s a thing with fairyland. About how you’re not quite sure you’re there until, sometimes, dark shadows make clear you’ve transgressed. And too it can be a place of wonder and beauty. All of which works really well if you’re singing about relationships, as Quinlan Porteous does in a tale rich in folkloric imagery that reminds us that the prospect of love is both timeless and significant.

Quinlan’s voice holds an almost Tolkien-style narrative and the truth of the emotions it evokes. It takes a singer with conviction to deliver that blend when “dark shadows fall away, beneath the giant magic eye of day”. Sometimes big feelings and big ideas need big metaphors. “Baby I love you” is fine, but with centuries of songwriting tradition to draw on, reaching into that history and doing something new is a risk that’s worth exploring.

‘Silver Chains and Magic Eyes’ shows that the journey is worth taking. It’s a song we’ve all felt in different ways, expressed in a form to bring out the lovestruck villagers hidden beneath the guise of cynical city residents. The same current is there with cottage-core aesthetics and Netflix shows like ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’. Finding it in musical form isn’t a surprise. What’s pleasing is just how well it works. I want to hear more.

“… it’s the anthem you didn’t know you were waiting for” | ‘Ain’t It A Shame’ | Quinlan Porteous

Damn. You know those radio-friendly rockers that creep up on you and become your inner jukebox before you know it? Quinlan Porteous delivers just that with the steady conviction of a man who clearly means what he’s singing about lost opportunities in a frayed relationship.

At its steady core this is a song with its heart set on a stadium and deserves to be performed in one. Hell, not just one. Lots of them on a world tour. I want my old life back, and ‘Ain’t It A Shame’ that’s not so?

In a righteous world this is a song that you’d hear in the supermarket. Playing from passing cars. Soundtracking a break-up scene sometime into the third season of a forthcoming Netflix series about two people you were really rooting for. Let’s hope that happens.

It’s the radio thing I keep coming back to. This is the song I want to turn up when I’m on a long journey and missing someone who matters way more than I’d let on to most people. We’ve all got someone like that. This is the anthem you didn’t know you were waiting for.

“New Light Through Old Windows” | ‘I’m Acid Blue’ | Quinlan Porteous

I’m already familiar with this song, through a previous take by Quinlan. Where the former rendition made the song’s debt to the power of psychedelics as route to healing apparent, this alternative interpretation highlights the healing journey itself. The words are Billie Reid’s, and I suspect they were too raw about his depression for him to return to as a singer.

The difference this time round is new light through old windows, difficult times glimpsed from a better place, where the former delivered the initial overwhelm of that light crashing into a shuttered room. They’re complementary, yin and yang. We’re always looking forward and backward, living in their crosstown traffic, potential for utopia and oblivion arising from the interplay of a whole mix of inner and outer circumstances.

Skilful is a word that can sound prosaic, next to craftsmanlike in the lexicon of faint praise. Take a step back from both descriptions – mirroring the experience Quinlan is singing about – and you’ll begin to appreciate how skill and craft exist in the service of making the best possible choices for the music being created. What’s brought to the raw material – in this case a powerful and personal lyric with universal resonance even for those who haven’t struggled with depression in a clinical sense – is what can elevate it to its highest potential. That’s how this version of a song I already liked feels in its revelatory new incarnation.

* Somewhere in the embers of last century, the work of songwriter, poet, shaman Billie Reid started to exert a pull on other independent-minded Australian talents. Stories can, and maybe will, be read about those adventures. At this point, the vessel for that work has, since 2020, been our music production biz Soundscape Media.

Billie Reid’s talents are the molten core of what we do. To those who’ve come across him, Billie’s an irascible generational talent. And we want the number of those who share that impression to grow.

Sharing the load, and bringing a canny female take on Billie’s words, is versatile Fremantle-based singer and classy piano player Lily – who’s also writing impressive material of her own.

Our artist collaboration list also includes in-house stormcrow Quinlan Porteous – a man who’s weathered years of industry bs and continues to find redemption in music regardless. As do we all.

Let’s hear it too for Wayne A Halifax, the man whose vibe Chris Isaak channelled. And never mind which came first – sometimes those who follow get it right, and Wayne has the advantage of Billie’s lyrics. As does Alfredo Malabello, cursed by Universal Music Australia describing him as the country’s “Voice of Romance”. He’s more content, and rightly, with the tag “Australia’s Leonard Cohen”.

Soundscape sounds dip in and out of alt-rock, Americana, and smart pop. Our production styles range from roots-raw to Netflix-friendly rock with splashes and squeals of electronica. We can do polished, but we’re a fan of loose edges and first take magic too. And we look forward to hearing from you – about what we’ve done, what we’re doing now, and what we could perhaps do together. Soundscape Media.

Billie Reid | Single Tachyon Extrapolation of Existence | Ode To The Dudes | Youtube

“the subconscious mind of Eternity” | “… this may be metaphorically considered as the consciousness of creation, the mind” | Billie Reid

“…. this is the lightspeed and below universe of our physical senses, the single-particle-theory tachyon soup created as the single tachyon intersects with itself in different places at the same time, and the same place at different times; this may be metaphorically considered as the consciousness of creation, the mind ….

Just as the cosmos in its physical sense is a totally inter-related manifestation of its component attributes of gravitational and electromagnetic coincidence, so the events/consciousness’s within that cosmos may be seen to be dependent on/connected to everything else that occurs within that same instant (i.e, synchronicity). Accepting this, and being that we can have no real concept of (or existence in) an instantaneous universe, we may extrapolate that for all our intents and purposes a combined continuity of time and space is a prerequisite of our conscious awareness of the reality that we appear to occupy and that therefore, all events throughout time and space are influenced by and influencing all other events within that continuum in a coherent and instantaneous manner regardless of temporal and/or spatial remoteness. This is the lightspeed and below universe of our physical senses, the single-particle-theory tachyon soup created as the single “tachyon” (4want’v betr word, i.e, instantaneous particle/wave “pixel/bit/packet” … no mass, no volume, “just” infinite velocity) intersects with itself in different places at the same time, and the same place at different times; this may be metaphorically considered as the consciousness of creation, the mind. The faster than light realm of the uninterrupted tachyon may be thought of as the subconscious mind of Eternity (as above, so below etc). We have the potential (in our role as an interface between rational/instinctive/emotional consciousness, between physical/spiritual, matter and energy) to challenge the apparent boundaries of our existence, to examine the walls of our cell for loose stones, to grab a can of spray paint and try to tag the invisible as it moves amongst us. Some try…. this is their Lounge … Welcome to the Dawn … “The game is afoot” … Eternity Beware, Oblivion is at hand. LOL.