“He was Pure Energy”: Listen to a Will Guthrie mix of Sean Baxter’s (1970 – 2020) music


Percussionist Sean Baxter was an integral part of Melbourne’s avant-garde and experimental music scene for over 25 years. I’ve only just realised I was watching him 25 years ago in the Throwaways. But I knew him as a founding member of the ridiculously heavy jazz of Bucketrider, Lazy with David Brown, Western Grey with Brown and sound artist Phillip Samartzis as well as the trio Pateras/Baxter/Brown, and then there’s a multitude of varied improvised experimental configurations. A huge champion of experimental music in all its bastard forms and with a marvellous turn of phrase, Sean was an icon of Melbourne music and his enthusiasm was infectious. Sadly Sean passed away a couple of weeks ago, leaving a huge hole in the Melbourne music community.

Fellow experimental percussionist and longtime friend, Will Guthrie has curated a radio show of Sean’s music that showcases his exceptional talents. This is what Will had to say:

“We are crushed by the terrible news of Sean’s passing. The Melbourne (and all over) experimental / improvised / noise scene took a huge blow just a few days before the start of the confinement, with the passing of legendary drummer, noise artist, curator, DIY stalwart, lover and enthusiast for all things strange, fukkd and brutal Sean Baxter. I made a radio show of his music, with a few anecdotes, stories and quotes thrown in.”

Regular collaborator Anthony Pateras has established a tribute fund for Sean, using all proceeds of sales from their 2019 album Pateras/Baxter/Brown – Bern / Melbourne / Milan (you can read our review here), to pay for a tribute concert when the lockdown is finally lifted. The album is an amazing compendium of their career and features a 32-page essay by Sean on free improvisation and the Melbourne music scene.

You can find the album here.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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