Gigs seem to start so early these days. I raced down to Boney on Friday as I really wanted to catch Vacuum and word had it that they were scheduled a little after 8. I got there closer to 9 but still managed to catch the last three tracks. Vacuum consists of Jenny Branagan and Andrea Blake sculpting an ice cold blend of minimal techno and stark industrial dark vibes. Processed vocals sit atop pulsing rhythms interwoven with intricate melodies. This music deserves to be heard on a massive system in the early hours of the morning in a dark hole in the ground. I don’t think they have any releases out yet but there are a few live clips floating around the internets. I am definitely keeping my ears open to what these ladies are going to do next. The world needs more of this.
Fatti Frances was next up, bringing her post-RNB soundtrack to the early evening at Boney. This gig really should have started at midnight so the music suited the atmosphere. I haven’t seen Fatti Frances (aka Raquel Solier) for a few years and her take on club music is as dense and enigmatic as ever. The beauty of Solier’s live presence is without a doubt her voice, which strongly sits upon the hypnotic sounds of exploded RNB. The beats have all the right sounds for a top 40 hit, but the way Solier composes them invoke a strange journey through process and decision. The uneven yet captivating beats are softened by lush beds of synthesis which is all accented by the strong vocal. Once again, this is dark late night club music for the near future.
Launcestonian Matthew Brown lugged his TR-808 as carry-on luggage across Bass Straight and treated us to a pummelling set of dancefloor electronics buried in a layer of smoke machine haze as deep as Brown’s music. There was a more sizeable crowd here by this time and the audience responded in the appropriate way by convulsing to Brown’s intricately crafted retro-futurism. Massaging some decidedly techno sounds from the 808, adding a blend of synthesisers ranging from melodic to harsh and never resting on anything for more than a few minutes we were treated to a typically eclectic set from one of Australia’s most interesting composers.
Rounding out the night was another of Australia’s best electronic musicians in Morgan McWaters’ solo modular synth wig-out WORNG. This night was the brainchild of McWaters, launching his 7” flexi-disc ‘Artefacts’ on Metal Postcard Records and was an outstanding selection of the best of Australian electronic music. WORNG took his impressive modular setup to the dancefloor, and as his set began, so did the inflation of his trademark inflatable pyramid on the stage itself. As the set progressed, the pyramid inflated creating a surface for the projections generated by some of his synth modules. WORNG’s sound is a deep and hypnotic take on submerged deep space techno, which inevitably takes on a mind of it’s own due to the somewhat volatile nature of modular synthesis. McWaters’ take on the performative aspects of live electronic music is to be commended. In a world where many musicians covet their esoteric gear in an occult manner, here is WORNG standing in the audience with all of his gear exposed for the peeping fanboy/girl gear heads to drool over. His sense of the irregular and unpredictable is also keenly displayed, as he sets off his sequencers and gently pushes his oscillators into uncharted territory. If you haven’t caught a show by WORNG yet, then you really should “do yerself a favour”.
This was an outstanding evening of high class local entertainment of Australian electronic musicians. Now, I only mention and make the following point because it seems that an event like this evening is the exception and not the rule, but the lineup was a wonderful balance of gender. In fact there were more women than men on the bill tonight, which should be such an everyday occurrence that mention of it should be on par to a reviewer commenting on the bar serving drinks, but unfortunately it isn’t. There is no reason that gigs like this shouldn’t be the norm, and all promoters should really check themselves while putting together lineups because there is a massive wealth of amazing female talent out there, as was shown tonight. OK, end of rant. Good gig. Job well done everyone.
(You can listen to WORNG’s set here if you are interested.)