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DIRTY THREE

Post Rock/Math rock • Australia


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Dirty Three biography
Dirty Three were formed in 1993 in Australia by Mick Turner (guitar), Jim White (drums) and Warren Ellis (violin) and have been doing music together ever since. The violin taking the leading role, they've managed to mix folk melodies with classical and rock instrumentation all in a post-rock structure.

Their first three albums had a more fast and aggresive type of playing while the later ones starting with "Ocean Songs" saw them slowing down, making a more mellow style of playing and also making longer songs. Their newest album, "Cinder" marked another change to their sound adding for the first time vocals and making more shorter and focused songs than before. The production also changed since it was the first time they could record in the studio individually as oposed to their live recording technique they used on all of their previous albums.

- Chamberry



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Approved by the post-rock experts team.



Discography:
Sad and Dangerous, studio album (1994)
Dirty Three, studio album (1995)
Horse Stories, studio album (1996)
Ocean Songs, studio album (1998)
Sharks, EP (1998)
Ufkuko, EP (1998)
Whatever You Love, You Are, studio album (2000)
Lowlands, compillation (2000)
In the Fishtank 7, split with Low (2001)
She Has No Strings Apollo, studio album (2003)
A Strange Holiday, EP (2003)
Cinder, studio album (2005)
Live! At Meredith, live album (2006)

Dirty Three official website

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Horse StoriesHorse Stories
Touch & Go Records 1996
Audio CD$10.22
$4.25 (used)
Whatever You Love You AreWhatever You Love You Are
Touch & Go Records 2000
Audio CD$8.48
$0.98 (used)
Ocean SongsOcean Songs
Touch & Go Records 1998
Audio CD$10.46
$0.40 (used)
CinderCinder
Touch & Go Records 2005
Audio CD$10.92
$5.00 (used)
Toward the Low SunToward the Low Sun
Drag City 2012
Audio CD$10.55
$4.69 (used)
Dirty ThreeDirty Three
Touch & Go Records 1995
Audio CD$10.33
$2.52 (used)
She Has No Strings ApolloShe Has No Strings Apollo
Touch & Go Records 2003
Audio CD$15.85
$0.45 (used)
Ufkuko EpUfkuko Ep
Bella Union 1999
Audio CD$20.99
$3.99 (used)
Whatever You Love, You Are [Vinyl]Whatever You Love, You Are [Vinyl]
Touch & Go Records 2010
Vinyl$16.70
$29.24 (used)
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DIRTY THREE shows & tickets


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DIRTY THREE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DIRTY THREE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 5 ratings
Sad & Dangerous
1994
3.50 | 8 ratings
Dirty Three
1995
2.79 | 11 ratings
Horse Stories
1996
3.44 | 40 ratings
Ocean Songs
1998
4.00 | 17 ratings
Whatever You Love, You Are
1999
3.62 | 13 ratings
She Has No Strings Apollo
2003
2.38 | 7 ratings
Cinder
2005
3.40 | 5 ratings
Toward the Low Sun
2012

DIRTY THREE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Live! At Meredith
2006

DIRTY THREE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DIRTY THREE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Lowlands
2000

DIRTY THREE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Ufkuko
1998
2.00 | 2 ratings
Sharks
1998
3.00 | 1 ratings
Low / Dirty Three, In The Fishtank 7
2001
3.00 | 2 ratings
A Strange Holiday
2003

DIRTY THREE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ocean Songs by DIRTY THREE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.44 | 40 ratings

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Ocean Songs
Dirty Three Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Another intriguing lo-fi post-rock piece from Dirty Three, the followup to Horse Stories continues the band's masterful evocation of a unique atmosphere - a collection of threadbare and sparse pieces which put the listener of mind of comfortable but worn-out clothes or ramshackle fishermen's pubs on isolated and windswept coast. We're not talking yo-ho-ho sea shanties here, but there's something about the way the album is structured, with its quiet lulls and occasional stormy exclamations, which suggests to me the cycle of the tides and the rolling waves of the open sea. Once again, Warren Ellis and his compatriots have a winner on their hands.

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 Horse Stories by DIRTY THREE album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.79 | 11 ratings

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Horse Stories
Dirty Three Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 1996 was a very good year indeed for Warren Ellis. As well as being the year he became a full member of Nick Cave's backing band The Bad Seeds, after some well-received guest spots on classic albums of theirs, it also saw the release of Horse Stories, a fine project from his Dirty Three project. Though the band are a trio, it's Ellis who's the star of the show, laying down emotive and powerful violin solos over the laid-back musical backing of Mick Turner and Jim White. It's an intriguing post-rock sound which puts me in mind of the artier sort of Westerns, and comes recommended to any post-rock fans who like albums with lots of violin.

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 Ocean Songs by DIRTY THREE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.44 | 40 ratings

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Ocean Songs
Dirty Three Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak

1 stars Having purchased this on the recommendation of the Post Rock collaborators here on PA, I must admit to being quite bored. The three musicians--a strumming electric guitar player, a violinist that gets stuck on repeating some very simply, almost folk/nursery rhyme-familiar melody lines, and a brush drummer who, at times, seems to drift in and out of the same universe as the string players- -at times feel as if they are not even in the same room much less playing the same song (especially with regards to tempo). Now if this were King Crimson or Oceansize or Tool--all of whom love to use polyrhythms in their songs purposely--that would be different. Maybe, like me, the pace is so slow, so boring, that they're taking turns nodding off. Narcoleptics! Songs 2 and 5, in particular, go way off track--and it doesn't sound good, so I don't think it's really intentional. Plus, there isn't enough variety in the music in which to display these musicians' skill. Only enough to put me to sleep. Five to ten times. I'm going to have to give this one one star--for completionists only (though what this album's addition could possibly 'complete' I am unsure.)

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 Horse Stories by DIRTY THREE album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.79 | 11 ratings

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Horse Stories
Dirty Three Post Rock/Math rock

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars Dirty Three are Australian Post Rock and as much as I would like to support my own country and give this album a high review, the fact remains that this is very dreary music and I am not a fan. It just meanders on forever with droning violins, miserable structureless music that has no defining hook. This may even slot in to rock in opposition at times, but it is a weary slog getting through this. The first track, '1000 Miles', is a prime example of how to bore me listless, when it comes to music, with violins that scratch out tuneless drivel and guitars that are sporadically placed creating a very depressing sound.

'Sue's Last Ride' is more of the same, the violins are better sounding on this but once again the post rock format is rather downbeat, and I have no time for this type of music that registers sadness on every note. The drums by Jim White on this build up better and are perhaps the best thing on the album, played with feeling and finesse. The jazz fusion style drumming is at times aggressively improvisational. The track builds to an intriguing tempo where a very noisy fractured cadence is blasted out, provoking feelings of chaos or loss of control.

'Hope' has a strange sound, almost bluegrass with very quiet ambience settling into a rhythmless mood. The lack of metrical pattern is mesmirising at first, but then I grew tired of it. Violins can be put to great use in prog such as VDGG's violin period or even Comus' early material, but Dirty Three, overdo their use and it grates on the nerves.

I actually liked 'I Remember A Time When You Used To Love Me', especially the guitar work on this by Mick Turner. The violins are satisfactory on this and there is a much stronger melody, that grew on me. The heavier guitars kick in and I was delighted at the much more cohesive or focussed approach to the music. Towards the end the music is all over the place, a freak out of chaotic noise, but I consider this a highlight.

The experimental sounds continue on 'At The Bar' with its minimalist guitar and layered violins. There is no beat at all, and this is even sadder than previous songs. Perhaps it is the man at the bar drowning his sorrows over a cold one after his lady has walked out on him. Perhaps I might listen to this the next time I feel depressed, or perhaps this music would make me feel worse.

'Red' has some nasty drums that crash over a semblance of noise with violin and guitar. Once again it is interesting for about a minute and then you just want to turn it off. The violin is excruciating on this, like scraping your nails down a blackboard. The violin shrieks like a tortured child, and the drums are like hammers smashing down, the guitars are just freaking out. Is it enjoyable? You be the judge, but I found it disturbing.

'Warren's Lament' is named after Warren Ellis the violinist obviously so you might expect a violin solo . For the most part that is what you get and it is languorous to the point of delirium.

'Horse' is another highlight due to a compelling rhythm and very nice violins played duel style both by Ellis of course but the two violins sound terrific together and dare I say it, perhaps this is how they should be heard as it adds a texture that resonates and brings the music to a new level of power. In fact this is the only uplifting song so far on the album but it is too late I feel, as we have already been bombarded with one depressing sonata after another, a brain drain as far as I am concerned.

'I Knew It Would Come To This' ends the album and I was glad it had come to an end to be honest. This last track takes an eternity to get going. It finally moves into some weird ambient sound that I will instantly forget as soon as the Cd is ejected. The violin sweeps are as melancholy as ever, and this may feed the emotions of some depressed individual, but I am not interested in being dragged down by music, innovation is one thing, tugging and evoking the negative emotions is another, and this music does that for me, and it is not welcome. I actually felt nauseaus with all the violin swoops that sound off colour and effectively were dragging me to the depths of despair. I have heard some downer music such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but somehow the creative vibe and overall atmosphere is compelling on their albums, not so with Dirty Three's "Horse Stories".

Overall, this is simply not my style of music, you may have picked that up, and it is not the genre but the way the instruments are used that I object to. I could never enjoy this album, and will perhaps never return to it. The band members are obviously talented but it is of no earthly good if the music does not appeal, apart from 2 tracks. I can see this appealing to your average Post Rock fan, whose ears have been attuned to the music, but this is extremely niche and will only appeal to a very small sector of prog fans hence the lack of ratings here on their albums. My opinion is you should first really check these guys out online before forking out for this album, as the music may disappoint you as much as it did this reviewer.

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 Cinder by DIRTY THREE album cover Studio Album, 2005
2.38 | 7 ratings

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Cinder
Dirty Three Post Rock/Math rock

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Downbeat, melancholy, violin soaked ambience that is difficult to adjust to.

Cinder by Dirty Three came to my attention because I am Australian and there are so few prog bands from my great local island that I feel it a duty to access, wherever I can, anything progressive from Australia. The problem is I rarely come across anything as innovative as, say, Dream Theater (USA) or Riverside (Poland) or PFM (Italy), instead the music tends to focus on a dreamy soft lulling melancholia which is simply not for my tastes. So it is with trepidation that I approach this review on a local band. First of all the music is definitive post rock and I am definitely not into this subgenre. I find it tiresome and lacking in many areas. The rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes on this album focusses on the violin as the primary instrument and it has its place in many bands I believe, namely VDGG and Comus, however in this case the Dirty Three utilise the violin as a very sleepy addition, rather than playing it aggressively. There are no riffs to speak off of course in this genre but the music is quite forgettable as a result. It meanders along and you need more patience to receive it than the average Godspeed You! Black Emperor album.

The haunting ambience on such tracks as 'Cinders' is pleasant enough, with very slow chord changes and erratic jazzy drumming, but once again it is likely to send you to sleep. The repetition of the chords and the slowness of the music is there to entrance, it is obvious, but I still cannot get into this style at all. The first 5 tracks are so forgettable I cannot even recall one note, however I gave this a chance and kept listening despite my sudden urge to throw on some Riverside or VDGG.

On the first few tracks of the album, there are no full on up-tempo tracks to balance the slow pace, although some of the drumming is infectious such as the heavy beat on 'Doris', perhaps the heaviest track on "Cinder". The guitar jangles and crashes on this track, using pretty much one note for a while and there are the additions of bagpipes by Mark Soul, giving it a unique, uplifting feel. It is certainly a highlight among a plethora of mediocrity in the first 6 tracks.

Thankfully it actually gets better after a very poor start. The violins are overlayed and aggressive on the longest track on the album 'Flutter'. The drums are sporadic and improvised on this as a two note structure provides some tension and release. Another highlight due to its strange structure, after a while it settles into a clean guitar and moaning violin duet. The drums slow as if exhausted. There is an ominous unsettling feel about the music. After a slow start, it seems the album actually gets better as you get deeper into it. The repetition grows on you and the violin is a solid contributor to the ambience.

'The Zither Player' is, yes a track based on zither, giving it a foreign sound, perhaps Greek in flavour. It is a solid diversion from the ambience and presents a traditional folk or Gypsy violin sound. It grows on you on each listen and breaks up the slow pace very well. I started to like the album at this point.

'It happened' is a short tune with a duel clean guitar and moderate drum beat. The violin is absent and al the better for it at this stage. It is a quiet track and just flows along without any lead breaks, each instrument complimenting one another with deceptively simple chords.

'Great Waves' begins with a simple guitar picking and then Chan Marshall sings in a Celtic style the lyrics that are quite heartfelt and sad; "giving up, it's over, the world's wait is over... our bodies are exploding as the sky spews though our mouths..." An intriguing song and surprising with the sudden vocals, a first for Dirty Three and a very good addition too. I thought it was Bjork for a second and had to check the liner notes, it sounds like her at times. Once again a very good track that shines among the greyness.

The violins return in a soft balladic track, 'Dream Evie'. This is a two chord structure with some interesting sections but reminds me of the poor quality opening tracks too much to enjoy it.

A strange drum method moves the next track along, with some very slow violin and guitar. 'Too soon too late' is OK but once again will send you to sleep. Perhaps this is best played at night for insomniacs, I admit I feel sleepy when I hear it. The same goes for 'This Night' that is another dreamy slow ambient piece that does not peak my interest.

The strange atmospheric 'Rain On' has some innovative violin with staccato flourishes and shades of light and dark. The drums accompany the jagged shapes and it is another highlight for me.

'Ember' features violin, guitar and wire brushed rubbing on the skins. It feels as rainy as the previous track. I like the guitars on this in particular, the sad violin works well and it tends to build from a depressing atmosphere to an uplifting one.

'Feral' is another standout track sung beautifully by Sally Timms, who in fact does not use lyrics but 'ahs' and 'oohs' to great effect. The violin and piano play very creatively together and an unusual time signature shatters the ambience. It is a sad atmosphere that is created but still somehow is uplifting with Timms' clear vocalisations.

'Last dance' has more wire brush and tapping without a definitive beat, but the slow pace suits the guitar twangs. The minimalist feel is haunting and almost free form piano holds the atonal melody together. This is quite an experimental track that does not rely on a beat or a particular instrument, rather every instrument creates an overall style. This did feel like a GY!BE style due to the non reliance on rhythm and opposition of instruments.

The last track 'In Fall' begins with a soft gentle guitar and slow violins, with wire brushes caressing the drums. The music has really slowed to a halt as it if knows it will be ending soon. The patient non rhythmic free form is a major component again, but this track does have some intriguing guitar passages. This is some of the slowest music I have ever heard and once again I cannot help but to compare it with some of GY!BE's style for this reason.

OK, so I made it to the end of the album, but it was a weary slog, apart from the middle section with some innovative intriguing sections to speak of. The music is definitively instrumental apart from the addition of some pleasant vocals on two tracks, and these are both so good one wonders why there are not more like this. The vocals break up the hyper ambience and send the music into new more pleasant directions. However this album is sad, melancholy, slow and dreary for the most part. This may appeal to those who want to wallow in a sad dreamy state in their music, but I prefer more upbeat music with instrumental breaks and lyrics, not this background music.

I can give this 2 stars at least for the standout tracks.

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 Horse Stories by DIRTY THREE album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.79 | 11 ratings

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Horse Stories
Dirty Three Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Ricochet
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The Australian post- and prog-rockers from Dirty Three release their third album, called Horse Stories, in 1996, polishing it through a most usual and eager burn of music and expression, a typical but also drastic set of experimental ideas and a flawless hexed-heavy imagination and emotion intermingling the luster and the exposure of all the technical and conceptual fruit fashion. All of this was previously crafted, but Horse Stories sounds finally as something different, something "completely better", though it's far from a most favorite.

With these first three albums (Horse Stories topping as the album with the biggest intensity, but, just the same, as the one that supreme the band's style), Dirty Three played a lot of experimental dark-aired post-rock, with typical influences or resounds from the ambient, atmospheric or nu-sound musical world. Each album (Sad & Dangerous, highly experimental and sound-cut, Dirty Three, hazy and static, and now Horse Stories, char-fully tonic) plays its critically good role, but this album seems for sure to be all what fans, listeners and addicts could wish for and like to listen. Speaking of which, the ways of enjoying Dirty Three haven't changed majorly during this time, so that they're enormous to the taste and shape of post-rock, but perhaps they're not as much enourmous to anyone's likes.

Horse Stories further on exhausts a general impression about how Dirty Three are (or aren't) fit within the post-rock universe. It sounds already late to think they don't have a round style, since all the atmosphere and the sense of experimentalism, of long sound dreams and of craving heavy melodies, all of this has, from album #1 immediately, outlined Dirty Three in one full side of post-rock, while eliminating them from other full such sides. Horse Stories, repeating the quintessential out of Dirty Three, explodes only on the quality measure and on the vicious sound. Math or indie music-free, with no relation to the garage or sound-morphing techniques as well, but neither mazed in serenity and soundscapes, Dirty Three play a mixture of experimental expressions and disjoints, in a full cloud of post-ambient, post-melodic and post-instrumental rock - Horse Stories wrapping tight the elegance and the stress, the lusciousness and the deliriousness, the ample and the ashed out of such a style.

The album 9 pieces that are, by themselves, enough to listen and feel (or not) impressed; though they have a highly tendentious minimalism and a rookie-like emotional comply, most of the melodies, especially those that fool out some dance-like sprinkles or an ethnic drop of spontaneous forms (what ethnicity, I couldn't tell...), make you feel the texture and the hauling kind of the music. But Horse Stories, beyond its compositions, sound like an album that grabs and beholds you in a most complex way. Starting from the heart of the music, the material, despite not being experimental per se, is complicated, unnatural, frenzied, intense and a bit nonsensical , heavy or rather too hallucinogenic, artistic or perhaps too shattered by its own complex seed. The biggest examples that stands both as a nerving defect and an elementary quality is the supreme amplitude of the sound and the music: the trio doesn't have force, boost and "mega bass" up their violin-bass (guitar)-drums improvisations, therefore every pieces, even if ambient and sound-creative, is after all dry, purely reflexive and abstract (in sweet forms). A lot of the most successful pieces are a brand of minimal (even repeated) melody and "grand hall harmony", but have the grace of musicality. To a conclusion, Dirty Three intrigues, instigates and insulates its music into fine-tuning post-rock, pretentiously profound and figurative elations, heavy art and simple but stubborn expressionism (counted as modern rock, mattering as atypical sound).

The band definitely groomed an independent powerful style of music with their first three albums, Horse Stories is the best.

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 Ocean Songs by DIRTY THREE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.44 | 40 ratings

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Ocean Songs
Dirty Three Post Rock/Math rock

Review by PATH_TO_HELICON

5 stars A jewel is the only word that i can say to define this spectacular piece ,an album that grows and reveal his secrets in every listening, between the delicate and emotive violin lines, the fine guitar (with delicious folk taste) and the inspired (very inspired) drums (spectacular drums! ,an excellent sample of musical expresionism) ,appear ten precious and lucid tracks. Ten wonderful tracks that draw melancholic landscapes ,with opium fragances,mist in the skies ,and the sea. . .The power of the sea involving this excellent album,the very best of Dirty Three.

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Thanks to Bryan for the artist addition.

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