Single Gun Theory was an electronic/trip-hop band from Sydney, Australia. They formed in 1986 and released three full-length albums between 1987 and 1994, after which they took an extended hiatus: six years, to be precise, before releasing their final work as a band, the soundtrack for the film The Monkey's Mask, in 2000.
Jacqui Hunt (vocals), Pete Rivett-Carnac (programming) and Kath Power (programming and backing vocals) made up the band. You may know Jacqui's voice from the song "Euphoria (Firefly)", which appeared on Delerium's mainstream breakthrough album Karma in 1997. Their first record contract was with Canadian label Nettwerk Records; they never actually landed a contract with an Australian label. Their distribution in their home country and in America was handled by IRS Records. Though just about every website I've seen SGT appear on declares them "internationally acclaimed", I've never met anyone at all who had ever even heard of them. Granted, this could be due to my own insularity, ignorance or lack of worldliness, and while they may be acclaimed by me, I can't say the same for anyone else, though the band would deserve such acclaim.
There's a bit of a dearth of information about SGT on the web, which is part of what leads me to question the claim of international acclaim. Then again, they were most active around twenty years ago and have fallen (unfairly, IMO) into obscurity. Where should I start describing what I know of them? Hm. Well, the first thing you may notice about the lyrics is that it they have a decidedly new age feel, and the music features samples from a number of new age figures, such as mystics Sharon Klingler and Edgar Cayce, the Dalai Lama, Mohandas Gandhi and others. Also included are samples from various political figures I cannot name, usually talking about war. The music otherwise is surprisingly original; I can't think of anything contemporary to compare it to. It's electronic (I hesitate to use the "electronica" descriptor because I hate it), with lushly layered drums which are a bit under the usual dance club BPM rate, fairly liberal use of scratches, innovative synths and the inclusion of various other-cultured vocalizations, much like Delerium uses, which are more a part of the music than the vocals since the listener probably is unable to comprehend them and that they mesh easily with the music. It could be classified as trip-hop/electronic pop. There are no guitars or other standard pop instruments; the music is entirely synthetic apart from the voice samples and vocals. Synths, drum machines, sequencers and samplers and, if I may be so bold, pure bliss are the order of the day here.
Pure bliss. That's what I'd call this music. Now, I'm not into new age music at all, if you consider Yanni, John Tesh, Kitaro or their ilk to be new age music, but I really like SGT and I wouldn't lump them in with that lousy company. Their music has been a great steadying factor in my life for the past fifteen years or so. The music is inspirational, but not in a religious sense, per se, though I don't doubt that a religious person wouldn't be inspired by it in a different way than it inspires me. The lyrics deal with a variety of things that could be considered new age: astral projection/out-of-body experience, meditation, mysticism, past lives, the third eye, deeper levels of consciousness, time, cause and effect, death and reincarnation. Though there are of course other themes, these are the most dominant. The lyrics sometimes mention God, as well. I can only assume that it's the Christian God, but somehow I doubt this was the intent, given the other themes. I'm an atheist (and I have been for most of my life), and normally songs about God annoy me, but with this music it's worth overlooking because it sounds so good. Jacqui's voice is so soothing, so reassuring, so full of longing.
I realize many would offhandedly reject such music because of how I just described it, which is fine with me: it's good music they miss and merely a suggestion I fail to land. They'd be missing something truly beautiful, though. Beautiful, calming, mystical, spiritual, inspiring and, perhaps most importantly, reassuring, just by the sound. Like an aural cup of tea after a long day. Even if I didn't speak English and couldn't understand the lyrics, I would still find it soothing. I dare call it wonderful. And yet it's very obscure. Music such as this deserves better. Go get yourself some of it today.
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through the years, through the years
carried pain and loss with my love
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Singles and EPs
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As I mentioned above, Jacqui Hunt provided the vocals for the song "Firefly" on Delerium's 1997 album Karma, though you may know it better for the song "Silence", for which Sarah McLachlan provided vocals. She's also appeared on Paul Mac's "Stay", which was released in 2002. Her first solo album, Auraphonic, appeared in 2008. It's got a lot more trip-hop elements in it than anything SGT ever put out. It was followed by an EP, Calisthenics, in 2009.
Pete Rivett-Carnac went on to become a producer for Vincent Stone, among others; he also became a session musician, appearing with Tegan Northwood, among others, on various, mostly Australian releases.
Kath Power seems to have left the music industry after SGT's final release in 2000.
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And now, some links
Music videos (all require a Flash player)
* Watch this video, at least, if none of the others. It more or less summarizes the themes of Flow, River of My Soul.
I've been meaning to write this for the past eight years. Finally got it done!
Please send me a message if you've ever heard of SGT. I'll be very surprised if I get even one message saying so.
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