Peter Koppes is a founding member of one of Australia’s finest rock bands, The Church. Over the course of their 31 year career, the group has experienced their fair share of ups and downs. One thing that has never wavered however, is their dedication to the music. To this end, in addition to his work with the band, Koppes has recorded two EPs and five albums of solo material, and is presently hard at work on his sixth.
The recent two-disc Misty Heights & Cloudy Myths collects 33 tracks of Koppes' solo work, and serves as a handy introduction to some of his best material. The music is of a much more personal nature than his collaborative efforts with The Church. One thing that is immediately noticeable is the incredible variety of atmospheres and textures that inform these songs.
What I found striking was just how suitable so many of his recordings seem to be for use in television and film. When asked about this this, Koppes says, “my publishers have always asked me to send my instrumentals in to be presented that way, which is something I am finally beginning to do.”
His instrumentals would definitely do the trick. Take “Grasshrooms” for instance. Described as “a testament of the ingredients alluded to by the title, especially the crossing over chromatic movement in the middle section,” it is fairly trippy, but not in an off-putting way. Koppes' pop sensibilities are far too deeply ingrained for anything like that to ever happen.
More to the point would be the cinematic quality of songs such as “Caravan” and “Arabia” off the Water Rites album. The time he spent in Morocco in 1978 apparently had a lasting effect on him. Both of these tracks exude a haunting whiff of Middle Eastern intrigue. In fact, nearly everything on Water Rites has a larger than life element that practically cries out to be paired with celluloid.