Karmic Hit Previews & Rarities Booklet Cover

A chronology of Karmic Hit; The story so far....


After upgrading his home studio to something a little more serious, Steve Kilbey sows the seeds of the Karmic Hit label by offering up 'Downtime' to his brothers Russell and John for their own projects. His generosity spawns a small collective of musicians, based around the Kilbey family. CDs are written and recorded, including Snow Job, Hypnotised, Warp Factor 9, Sex Industrie and the beginnings of the Penny Drops. Frustrated with past dealings with record labels the idea of Karmic Hit springs forth as a way of directly distributing music to the public, effectively cutting out the middleman. The Bhagavad Guitars release their album 'Hypnotised', the first to bear the Karmic Hit insignia.


The studio confines force a move to more professional surrounds, a deserted studio in Rozelle, formerly the site of Electric Avenue, where many Red Eye recordings were made.


Jack Frost and Bhagavad Guitars release respective CDs on newly founded Karmic Hit label.


The Karmic Hit Studios are sold as Steve Kilbey moves to Sweden.


After much legal wrangling, Karmic Hit establishes itself properly. The Penny Drops is the first release under [the] new, self-regulated label.


Thanks to public support and sales KH2 Studios open...

t r a c k   n o t e s

Trilemma Steve Kilbey

This is the first of three tracks Steve Kilbey recorded at Moppetron Studios in Sweden with Mårtin Jansson. These tracks (along with Bossa and Aquanaut) find Steve Kilbey in a relaxed and distinctly laid-back frame of mind. While the backing tracks were recorded in Sweden, the drums and percussion were added in Australia.

Steve Kilbey - vocals, organ
Mårtin Jansson - backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, percussion
Darren Ryan - drums, additional percussion

Bad For You Jack Frost

An unused track from the Snow Job sessions, this relentlessly driving pop song is lead by the vocals and intricate wordplay of GW McLennan, while Steve Kilbey played most of the instruments. This track, along with another, yet to be recovered track — 'What Goes Around Comes Around", was written between Jack Frost albums as an exercise in songwriting. Steve Kilbey and GW would meet to write a quota of songs per session. There was never a "real" mix of this track (the one featured here is a "rough" mix) as it was considered too "jolly" for the Snow Job album.

Steve Kilbey - guitars, bass, vocals
GW McLennan - vocals, guitar
Tim Powles - drums
Russell Kilbey - Blues harp

We All Fall Us

A recording project featuring Margot Smith and John Kilbey, this being the first track they wrote. The bare bones were made available for download on the Internet and suggestions taken from listeners around the world. These suggestions were taken on board and further recording took place. This is the result. The unusual timing of this track (9/4) was picked by Margot — seizing on the first drum loop she heard.

Margot Smith - vocals
JLK - music, backing vocals
Darren Ryan - additional drums and percussion

We Need a New Leader JLK

Or do we? This track is from the sessions of John Kilbey's new album, the first since the Penny Drops. It is based around a 32 bar, modulating chord progression and mantra-like lyric. It originally contained more lyrics, questioning our desire for leadership and the lack in quality thereof but these were discarded and the listener left to make their own conclusions as to whether a new leader would solve or create more problems...

JLK - vocals, music
Darren Ryan - drums and percussion

Citizens Snog

David Thrussell — poet, philosopher, and maker of hit records — is one of those people whose talents are capable of filling the musical spectrum, and still his audiences ask for more. They ask because they know that in the lyrics and the music he creates, there is both melody and an enchantment they can readily understand. This is an alternative version of a track from the new Snog album. The initial recordings were done at the International Nudist Colony in sunny Hepburn Springs and finished at KH 2.

David Thrussell - vocals
JLK - music, b/vocals
Darren Ryan - drums and percussion

Transmigration Isidore

Jeffrey Cain (Remy Zero) wrote the music for this and recorded it in one day with help from two of his band mates. Originally titled 'The Day Things Got Worse', Jeffrey gave the track to SK when Remy Zero played with The Church in LA, as a gift, thanking him for his music. Little did he expect a message on his answering machine the very next day saying SK had finished lyrics to the song. Recorded in the US, Jeffrey creates the perfect mood and sounds for Steve Kilbey's plaintive lyric.

Steve Kilbey - vocals
Jeffrey Cain - guitars, keys
Cedric LeMoyne - bass
Gregory Slay - drums

Ghost Town Russell & John Kilbey

The first collaboration from RK and JLK since Warp Factor 9. The airy sounds on this track belie its dark origins, loosely inspired as it is by the Ghost Train tragedy at Sydney's Luna Park in the Seventies. Conspiracy theorists pointed to a smokescreen deliberately hiding a sinister Satanic sacrifice. Others cited poor safety conditions. It seems when faced with the unfairness of life we must search for some hidden order to make ourselves feel less at the whims of the Gods... Listen for the blending of the vocals in the chorus.

Russell Kilbey - vocals, bass
John Kilbey - guitars, keys, b/vocals
Darren Ryan - drums and percussion

Save Me Curious (Yellow)

This track is [a] collaboration between Karin Jansson and Boris Goudonof, taken from a never released album, recorded before Karin moved back to Sweden. The sessions were experimental and electronic, with spoken narratives over bleeping soundscapes and grooves. This is the most "conventional" track from those sessions. The recording of it was far from conventional however, using a 'folding paper' type of game as its process, with additions being made alternately. It all came together in a weird atmosphere of lethargic urgency, sadness and chance...

Karin Jansson - vocals, music
Boris Goudonof - music
Darren Ryan - additional percussion

Bossa Steve Kilbey

The second track from the 'Trilemma' sessions. Steve Kilbey's clever lyrics recreate a night out in NE America, in some sort of casino, where drunken people listen halfheartedly to a little band play in the corner, the same band which plays every night to the same people. One of SK's recurring nightmares. Here, the band swings to a shuffling bossanova.

Steve Kilbey - lead vocals, electric guitar, keyboards, bass
Mårtin Jansson - backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, percussion
Darren Ryan - drums and additional percussion

Dion Bhagavad Guitars

The b-side of KH001. Originally from the first Penny Drops sessions but deemed more in keeping with the Bhagavads, this track was also hidden away on the Bhagavads' 'Hypnotised' album. Written one scorching afternoon at the KH studios, its inspiration was taken from the relationship between Plato and his love 'Dion'. This was a true love affair, free from sexual tensions, at least, they apparently never got it on — hence coining the term "platonic relationship".

John Kilbey - vocals
Jeremy Butterworth - guitar
Boris Goudonof - melodeon

The Winged Measurer SOMA

From SOMA's 'My Ancient Vihmaana' EP comes this eerie/beautiful instrumental. It is a millennium ago. Folks have got fire building down and there's a big one going on in the middle of the camp. Psychedelics haven't been invented yet, neither has television but there's a lot of strange and wonderful things going on deep inside the blazing logs. The shadowy tree people outside the circle seem to bend a little closer, someone gets up and begins to talk. The Winged Measurer evokes an alternative past. Lamenting without words our uncertain future...

David Thrussell + Pieter Bourke - design, debate and deployment

Time Gentlemen Time Warp Factor 9

The sound of closing time in the bar at the end of the universe. Written during the paranoid recordings of '5 Days in a Photon Belt', this track was left off the finished record as it sat outside the disc's loose story. Recorded, like much of the album, using a game-like process to determine the sounds and performances, this track features all four voices of Warp Factor 9 but is lead by the haunting whisper of Boris Goudonof.

Boris Goudonof - vocals, keys, programming
Russell Kilbey - vocals, keys, programming
John Kilbey - vocals, wah bass, bass, FX
Darren Ryan - vocals, percussion

God is Big Business Sex Industrie

After having a minor hit in Australia with their version of AC/DC's 'Jailbreak', the Sex Industrie began recording an album which is to this day unreleased. There were some obligatory record company disputes that managed to seal that lost gem away, at least, until this track surfaced. Here one Sandy Chick takes on the vocal duties.

Sandy Chick - vocals
Michael Harris - guitar
Russell Kilbey - keys and programming
David Thrussell - keys and programming
Dare Mason - additional programming

Aquanaut Steve Kilbey

Inspired by thoughts of Namor the Sub-Mariner, Aquaman and Kevin Costner in Waterworld, SK started out writing a song which was intended to be serious. Thinking of how humans rush to space exploration instead of searching the very water around us, SK's "serious" attempts gave way to one of his most delightful tunes. A simple sort of song, good for children to sing. The lyrics are as playful as the slapping ocean waves...

Steve Kilbey - vocals, organ
Mårtin Jansson - backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, percussion
Darren Ryan - drums, additional percussion

Travelling Karma JLK

As featured on JLK's new album. Based entirely on a true story, this song literally popped into the head of JLK as the events unfolded before him one blurry Wednesday afternoon. Inversely turning the song structure for 'We Need a New Leader' this track has only four chords (which modulate in the bridge) and a plethora of lyrics. For the listener keen to unravel the story there are actually two girls involved in this saga...

JLK - vocals, music
Darren Ryan - drums, percussion
Anthony Shortte - washboard

No Contact Us

The songwriting and recording for Us seems [to] thrive on creating order through chaos. The vocal on this track is actually a "guide", that is, something recorded quickly so that the idea isn't forgotten. It was realised later that anything that needed to be captured, well and truly was... and the guide became the finished vocal take. For the uninitiated, this means Margot Smith stood at the microphone mere minutes after hearing the chord progression and sang this track totally off the top of her head. An impressive feat.

Margot Smith - vocals
John Kilbey - music
Darren Ryan - drums, percussion

Persuasion Jack Frost

This track was mixed for Snow Job — GW McLennan liked the finished song but Steve Kilbey thought it wasn't in keeping with the other tracks on the record. Sandy Chick, whom seemed to be singing on everything SK did during this period, adds her creamy vocals. The song implies a Victorian seduction by a shady figure and the public's responding point of view.

Steve Kilbey - vocals, guitars, bass, keys
GW McLennan - vocals, guitars, bass, keys
Tim Powles - drums, percussion
Sandy Chick - vocals

Back of My Mind Fake

The anonymous Fake project was a veil for Steve Kilbey to see if people would buy his music without his name being attached to it. Boris Goudonof and Sandy Chick joined him in the exercise. Back of My Mind was the one single released from the Fake album. A limited edition vinyl disc was made featuring a number of remixes. This one is the furthest in mood from the original track but has a soothing charm all of its own.

Sandy Chick - vocals
Steve Kilbey and Boris Goudonof - music
JLK and R. St. Clair - remix

Tricka Tricka Boom Boom Song The Twillies

Truly a preview of things to come! Daughters of Steve Kilbey and Karin Jansson — this track came about from the Twillies complaining that they never saw their dad due to his recording commitments. Written when they were only four years old (they are now the ripe old age of 10), it was taken into Karmic Hit Studios to get it down just like they had watched everyone else in their family do so many times before. The result is enchanting. Originally intended for their private listening only, this track has received so much enthusiastic praise it is included here — due to popular demand!

Miranda Jansson Kilbey - vocals
Elektra Jansson Kilbey - vocals
JLK - music

Jack's Dream Jack Frost

B-side to 'Thought I Was Over You / Every Hour God Sends' — a short but clever piece about a sailor drowning. GW McLennan recites his spooky tale over SK's soundscape.

GW McLennan - vocals
Steve Kilbey - music