Words: James Frostick
Artist image: Harriet Fraser-Barbour
Introducing Millenium Cowboy – the solo ambient electronica project of Adelaide/Tarndanya musician Harriet Fraser-Barbour. Ahead of the August release of Millenium Cowboy’s debut EP MC-MOOD, we’re premiering the visuals for lead single ‘Wilson Tanner’ – a deeply meditative work that coaxes out a hypnotic calmness.
Harriet Fraser-Barbour wears a lot of hats – musically, that is. I can’t comment on the size of her literal hat collection with any certainty. Harriet writes and performs in bands including (but not limited to) Workhorse, Fair Maiden, Wireheads and Introduction!, contributing to a catalogue of work that boasts plenty of quality gear from top to bottom. Back in 2018 Harriet quietly debuted a solo project dubbed Millenium Cowboy, which catalogued Harriet’s foray into the realm of delicate, languid and experimental electronic composition. Aside from a demo of reworked pop songs and country ballads, there hasn’t been much in the way of output under the Millenium Cowboy moniker until now. Next month Harriet will release an EP called MC-MOOD through Berlin label Magnetic Dreams. The effort was composed over a five-day period in which Harriet hunkered down mid-COVID isolation, composing a track a day and further mining the depths she started to explore two years ago. The first piece we’re hearing from the EP is ‘Wilson Tanner’, a the remarkable-yet-melancholic nine-minute meanderer that showcases Harriet’s knack for crafting skin-tingling ambient soundscapes.
The song is comprised of humming synth swells, sparkling flourishes of iridescent sound and vocals that are more of a sigh than a chorus. For how layered and lush it is, ‘Wilson Tanner’ feels light and intangible – something we can experience but can’t posses. It’s akin to chasing a fleeting dream, the structure of which we can only vaguely recall yet its remembrances stir emotions we can no longer rationalise. The track boasts a kind of ruminative energy that is easy to get lost in, turning me into a semi-conscious somnambulist roaming the mellow undulation of ‘Wilson Tanner’s soundscape. I only regain my senses once the song is finished. This isn’t to say the song is forgettable – far from it. Rather, its hypnotic nature is so potent that I find myself listening repeatedly, chasing the track’s warmth over and over.
The visuals for ‘Wilson Tanner’ are equally languorous and stirring. Comprising fragments of Super-8 footage shot by Harriet, the fuzzed-out shots of Adelaide’s topographical elements are softened and out of focus – like we’re watching a compilation of someone else’s time-ravaged memories. The images gently coalesce and dissipate, much like Millenium Cowboy’s ghostly soundscapes. It’s a fitting accompaniment that serves to enhance the track’s subtle sensory manipulation. Submerge yourself here:
MC-MOOD will be released digitally and on a limited number of baby-blue cassettes on August 14 through Magnetic Dreams.