Love Letter To A Record: Fascinator On Dirty Three’s ‘Horse Stories’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.

Fascinator – Dirty Three’s Horse Stories

Dear Horse Stories,

The fact you’re still in my phone after all these years says a lot. Others have come and gone, even your younger sibling Ocean Songs, who I must admit I’ve dabbled with extensively over the years has slipped out, but I promise, you’re still in there. Just in case I need you.

Your face has a horse on it. I guess that’s appropriate for a record, but it feels weird writing it. It looks like it’s jumping off a city high rise at night into the dark, blue-black infinite ocean. Has it just escaped from one of those city carriage things? Am I supposed to feel like a liberated horse going for a night swim? My emotional response may as well be explained that way…as any words seem futile and fatuous trying to describe Jim’s paintbrush drumming that seems like it’s sending morse code poems to God. Mick’s starry chords that sound like a gentle friend dipping their fingertips into a still lake and the sad daydream of Warren’s bow like a thousand Greek tragedies entering their final act.

I still remember the deep meditative reverie I entered into on my first listen. Laying on the floor riding a dusty old magic carpet through ‘Sue’s Last Ride’, ‘I Remember a Time When Once You Used to Love Me’, ‘Warren’s Lament’ and the rest.

‘Hope’ still takes me from tingles to tears and back.

I’ve seen parts of you live a total of three times and each time has affected me powerfully. The first time was at one my favourite venues, The Forum in Melbourne. Halfway through the show I became quite overwhelmed and passed out in the crowd. I watched the rest of the set propped up against the wall.

The next time I saw you was the fabled Meredith storm show. I secretly held hands with one of the most special people I’ve ever met who I was madly in love with at the time. We stood on the hill looking down the amphitheatre and as The Dirty Three began, an incredible lightning storm birthed opened the first crack in its cloudy grey curtains. As the performance went on, the two cacophonies, both on stage and in the sky, seemed to crash and crescendo together with Warren’s bow flying through the air, stray horsehairs flowing and following, conducting the lightning with each wild, violent stroke of his bard-ish fiddle. The whole crowd was all oohs, aaaahs, wows and goosebumps. It was magic.

The third time was at The Prince Bandroom in St Kilda and I mainly remember the fact that I cried through a good portion of the set and thanked the heavens afterwards that I can still see and hear things that bypass that cynical fuck inside me and let all the feelings happen.

Anyway Horse Stories, I hope this letter finds you well and maybe prompts The Dirty Three to take your songs out for another little canter through the valley or perhaps a cheeky night swim sometime soon.

Warmest Regards,

Johnny Mackay

Fascinator’s new album ‘Water Sign’ is out Friday 15 June. Pre-order here and listen to his latest single Drenched Out here and check tour dates below.

You can read Slow Dancer’s love letter to another Dirty Three record,’Whatever You Love, You Are’, right here.

Fascinator Australian Tour Dates

Thursday, 21st June

OAF Gallery, Sydney NSW

Tickets: Moshtix

Friday, 22nd June

Dark Mofo, Hobart TAS

Tickets: Dark Mofo

Saturday 23rd Jun

Workers Club, Melbourne VIC

Tickets: Oztix

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