The day before Midnight Oil will officially announce their reformation, guitarist Jim Moginie has released new music.
‘Under The Motherland’s Flag’ features four songs with a common them about changing the date of Australia Day.
“I wanted to put out an EP of songs that had a binding lyrical narrative, on the theme of Australia’s indigenous people. Also wanted to release these tunes on Australia Day 2017 and mark the fact that as one side celebrates and the other mourns, that is not cause for any celebration at all. Change the date. These were recorded in my studio over a few months last winter with engineer Andy Vinall. “
The four songs are:
Your Own History (Jim Moginie)
Bruce Pascoe is an Australian Indigenous writer, from the Bunurong clan. After reading Bruce’s work, I was inspired to write this. His work reveals that before the arrival of Europeans, Aboriginal people had agriculture, stone dwellings and fish traps which puts to rest the notion that Aboriginal people were nomadic, a lie that enabled the invaders to explain away the sudden disappearance of our original inhabitants. And the effect that this fact, never spoken of, has on the psyche of the Australian way of life. The song took months to write, and was recorded simply with bouzouki, harmonium and acoustic bass.
Wind In My Head (Neil Murray/Jim Moginie)
Cowritten with Neil Murray, my favourite Australian songman. Based on a bouzouki lick that I played that Neil liked, we put it together in a hotel room in Darwin after one of our duo shows. Neil finished the lyrics a few weeks later and sent them on to me.
The song explores the memory held by the land, memory of the people and previous inhabitants, moving through the landscape as if in a dream. It’s full evocative lines like ‘I see the old ones, I see them proud, I see their love still in this ground’ and ‘a forest temple, an empty beach, any place is within reach’.
I recorded it with Sydney’s Lozz Benson who added drums, footstomps, percussion and backing vocals.
First Fleet (Jim Moginie)
This song is a lost song written in the mid 1990’s which was part of an abandoned ‘ROCK OPERA’. Some of the other songs from this work ended up on Midnight Oil’s album ‘Capricornia’. Again with Lozz on drums, I love this drum track. I played all the other instruments.
By trying to civilize Aboriginal people with European customs, the Europeans presumed their culture was a civilizing influence where as it was much more barbaric in those days that the culture it sought to eradicate.
It Must Be Adieu (Jim Moginie)
Inspired by the story of Pemulwuy, an Eora man who grew up in Botany Bay and fought the white man after spearing the soldier MacIntyre as payback for killing Aboriginal people. He was a warrior in the uncommemorated civil war that happened with the arrival of Europeans. Known as a cleverman for his ability to escape arrest, his bushcraft and his escape from a prison hospital wearing a leg iron with a buckshot wound to his head. I had the piano piece recorded separately, very much in the style of an Irish slow air, and managed to marry it to the song with a bit of editing.
Midnight Oil will announce their reformation tomorrow morning (Friday 16 February 2017) at 9am (AEDT). Fans can watch the announcement at the Oils Facebook page.
Midnight Oil broke-up after their last tour in 2002. They reformed only twice since then for WaveAid and warm-up shows in 2005 and for Sound Relief and warm-up shows in 2009.