Virtual Proximity are a Melbourne audio-visual electronic outfit headed by James Annesley, a musician trained in many wind instruments including baritone, tenor and soprano saxophone, bass clarinet and flute. They are self-described as “dark jazztronica.” James formed Virtual Proximity in 2005 and has previously released two self-titled full-length albums via Bandcamp, the first of which was available in a jewelled CD case.
James has collaborated and improvised with other jazz musicians within albums and live shows, which are a combination of live instrumentation, digital looping and spontaneous drum programming. They utilise an intimidating array of midis, with wires and pedals, and unique instrumental midis like flute and double bass. Visual programming is added to provide extra colour and movement to the ambient and texture-laden atmosphere of the shows, of which have been witnessed at shows like Rainbow Serpent and Uncomfortable Beats.
Virtual Proximity’s latest offering Blue Glow Path saw James and his current primary collaborator Tristan Courtney (trained in bass string instruments and electronic improvisation) take a three day country journey last year, where they recorded six hours of improvised electronic sounds in 45-60 minute sets. The first four tracks of this session were then taken, edited, slightly altered and mixed for this offering.
Blue Glow Path is eerie and texture-laden, with drum machine boom-bap and Annesley’s reverberating flute midi directing the tracks, complimented by the rhythm of Courtney’s double bass and grounded in broken and progressive hip-hop drum patterning.
The overall impression the EP left on me is that it helps flex Virtual Proximity as a live improv act, and is also great atmospheric listening for those lazy days. The textural component create a more organic atmosphere than most “real” bands could replicate, and last track ‘Ego Evaporates’ encapsulated this aesthetic probably the most conclusively.
You can download all of Virtual Proximity’s albums for free at their Bandcamp site and I highly recommend you keep an ear out for their live show, which mostly occur in smaller jazz and nightclubs in Melbourne.