Maria Kozic & the MK-Sound

Background

Maria Kozic & the MK-Sound was a collaborative project of Philip Brophy & Maria Kozic. Maria wrote lyrics for a range of artworks she had produced and exhibited - the first set for the exhibition Help! at Roslyn Oxley Gallery in Sydney in 1990; the second set as part of the mini-retrospective MK-Art for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in 1992. For both suites of songs, Philip composed the music.

Publicity photo © 1989 - photo by Madelynne Cornish

Credits

Composition, all instruments, samples, production & mix - Philip Brophy
All lyrics & vocals - Maria Kozic

1990

Help! - 4 tracks on The Present Records Compilation on Present Records

1992

Viral Pulse - CD on Present Records

2016

"Trust Me" included on the compilation MIDNITE SPARES, Efficient Space Records, Sydney

Maria Kozic Is Bitch billboard, Sydney © 1989 - photo by Australian Centre for Photography

Overview

Help!

Original press release

The titles are sharp and pointed: "Pieces", "Manimal", "Head" and "Bitch". They are being used sonic slivers blasted out from the menacing mind of Maria concert- otherwise known as Maria Kozic & the MK-Sound. These four tracks are Maria’s vocal/ lyrical interpretations of her critically acclaimed sex and violence paintings from her 1989 solo exhibition in Sydney, titled Help!. Following the controversy of that exhibition, most of Australia in 1990 was treated to Maria’s billboard too. Many an unsuspecting motorist was confronted by the arresting image of Marie opposing in bra and stockings and holding a power drill while squashing a GI Joe doll in her hand. Huge letters bellowed out "Maria Kozic is BITCH".

Extending the themes of her solo exhibition and billboard project, Maria decided to hit the studio and make some noise and sonically remake Help!. Her brief to producer Philip Brophy was as direct as her lyrics: give me a cool sound; I’ll provide some hard lyrics, a heavy voice and a tough body.

Publicity photo © 1989 - photo by Madelynne Cornish

Viral Pulse

Original press release

The cover to viral pulse features Maria Kozic in a silver rubberised spacesuit, holding a kitsch, phallic ray-gun in one hand. Her other hand - her whole arm - has mutated into a humongous, metaloid mass of armature. She stands, calm and ready; floating against an alien landscape - in actuality a microscopic image of sperm cells attempting to break into a female egg. That's as good an introduction as any to the world of Maria Kozic.

Pulse "If the world offends the - pluck it out!"
A techno beat with 1 million screens. A metropolis terrorized by the incessant soundscape of 1 billion job sirens. Somewhere in the throbbing, urban heart, a body undergoes a grotesque transformation.
Masterpiece "All hail the beef - hail the masterpiece."
Dedicated to all be macho male artists of the world, this song tells it like it is. To a soothing disco back beat, cosmic bites the prick that feeds art history. That’s life "You take your life - leave me with mine."
Not a have-a-nice-day song, this weird mix of funk and Gospel brass expresses a basic sentiment: some days, you just don’t want to take crap from anyone.
Manster "Beauty is beast deep."
A slick, soul funk rhythm section props up some nice cheesy Glam flourishes. Kozic alternatively shrieks and intones the good, the bad and the ugly in her sexual attraction to the most monstrous side of man.
Read This "You’re your own class - you're one whole arse."
It’s dirty, funny and tasteless. It’s like a therapy session gone terribly wrong. And it’s the most operatic hybrid of dance metal you’re here all year.
Time's Up "Burn, baby, burn - lick that flame."
More anger in the Kozic vein, this song switches between the psychosis of political terrorism and the head miss of social anarchy. And it’s funky, to boot.
Trust Me "I died 1000 times."
The most soulful yet morbid track on the CD.
Cumics "Unh! Unh! Unh! Unh! Unh! Unh! Unh! Unh!"
No English here, amigo. With dialogue taken from Italian sex comics, Kozic gets this on in a swirling acid beat, singing the praises of Satan, sadism and sperm.

Technical

Help

The 4 tracks for Help! were recorded and mixed over 3 sessions throughout 1989. Each track was written around an 808 drum pattern (on a machine borrowed from Philip Samartzis) which was synched to various bass and squelching sounds on Philip's Roland S-100 set-up. Additional DX7 and Roland keyboard lines were added, plus a range of acoustic drums and percussion were overlaid on the 808 patterns. Extremely amateur fuzz guitar playing was also undertaken by Philip. Everything was recorded onto an 8-track mag-tape recorder; the mix was done with live punch-in/outs and FX twiddling.

Viral Pulse

Unlike the completely analogue production of the Help! tracks, Viral Pulse was produced on an ASR digital workstation. All sampling, tracking, sequencing and FX were produced within the unit. Two analogue synthesizers - the Roland SH1 and the Mini-Korg 700 - were extensively sampled to construct digital versions of their distinctive analogue sounds. These form the bulk of the synths in the tracks. Master mixes of each track were laid down on an analogue 8-track, and Maria's vocals were multi-tracked in the studio. The vocal arrangements for Viral Pulse are ambitious and ornate, with Maria relishing in the various characters she projects with her lyrics. Aficionados will pick up on the countless references to classic 80s horror films and memorable 70s toy advertisements.