travels and travails cvrTravels and Travails – Penny Ikinger (Off The Hip)

Originally slated to be a Best of album, “Travels and Travails” is a collection of 11 songs from Penny Ikinger’scareer, spanning 2004-23. Considering it was recorded with half a dozen different bands in various places around the world, it hangs together remarkably well.

There’s no real need to reference Penny’s musical beginnings in the hothouse that was Sydney’s underground in the 1980s. It’s as an artist in her own right back in her hometown of Melbourne, that she’s made her mark. 

She also has a appetite for taking her music offshore. These are collaborations with artists from France, Australia, Japan and the United States – live and in the studio. Fans will recognise the odd re-working of previously released material, but most cuts are new. 

Penny Ikinger music is swampy psychedelia, feedback guitar with glints of fuzz, folk and pop peeking through. 

The caustic “Siberia” is an uncompromising lockdown effort with Billy MillerRadio Birdman’s Jim Dickson and multi-instrumentalist Dimi Dero, assembled from parts constructed in France, Melbourne and Sydney. 

It sits comfortably next to a live version of “Tsunami” with her current band, Penny Ikinger’s Marbles, that’s brimful of tension and dynamics. The same crew give the Ikinger-Deniz Tek co-write “Ride On, Cowboy” a rippling, live-in-the-studio makeover.    

Another lockdown song, “Red Balloon” puts Penny in a studio with self-described Melbourne “dark ambient industrial” instrumental outfit Burning Sand and backing vocalist Marita Dyson from The Orbweavers. It’s a travelling song begat from not being able to travel; a doom-tinged, ethereal piece that’s captivating. 

Composed on a Paris rooftop with Penelope Inc bassist Vinz Guilluy and recorded under the deft production hand of ex-Dirtbomb Jim Diamond, “Voodoo Girl” is a bubbling cauldron of feedback and double-tracked vocals that’s delivered with brooding intent.   

The Silver Bells are Penny’s sometime Japanese partners in crime, featuring Masami Kawaguchi (guitar), Louis Inage (bass) and Yuichi Takahashi (drums), with whom she recorded this killer version of the Scientists’ “We Had Love” in 2018. The earliest tracks ("Spinsdter" and "Sycamore Tree") are two 2004 collaborations with Montana psychedleic collective, Donovan's Brain. For rehearsals, they're wonderfully intense. 

The last word is fittingly left to her current band Marbles, with a gentle/brutal studio re-make of “Tokyo City” that artfully showcases their command of dynamics. Is this a case of three guitar never being enough? You can make the call. 

A stunning collection. Let your mouse do the walking and Paypal do the rest via the link below. 


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