Tantrums/ Vladislav Delay/ Harmonic 313 – Where?House at The Argus Building (Melbourne)

The Where?house is a shell of a building, all exposed concrete pillars and dark recesses, with lights, colours and patterns projected onto every conceivable space. It’s an amazing venue to experience music, with large, or in places no ceilings, and a wide expanse in front of the stage, meaning that you can basically EQ the music you are listening to yourself, simply by walking around.

Local outfit the Tantrums are a strange bunch, not altogether rock, not totally dance, they exist in the fringe somewhere in between. If you can imagine the sound of Vangelis meets Neu, with a vague gothic vibe then you’d be halfway there. It’s difficult to know what to make of them. There are a lot of ideas bouncing around, some good, some concerning. Somehow that only adds to the fun.

Finish electronic legend Vladislav Delay takes to the stage like it’s a pulpit. Richard Devine has inexplicably pulled out of tonight’s performance, which has given Delay an extra thirty odd minutes. He uses it by crafting some incredible nerve-wracking avant electronic textures. He hints at grooves, yet deftly avoids falling into them, crafting the soundscape to an agitated journey. At times the ingredients are familiar, a sound here or there reminiscent of his recorded work, however in the main it’s abstract barely coherent electronics and it’s incredible.

Just when you’re questioning your sanity, he drops in a groove, possibly just to prove that he can, it’s fractured and beautiful, too weird for the dancefloor, but much more coherent than the previous twenty five minutes. His set continues with Delay taking every conceivable opportunity to fracture his sounds. For the uninitiated there’s probably not a lot to hold onto, however if you’re familiar with his recorded output, at times it feels like your dancing to what isn’t there as much as what is. We know these sounds, so even if the approach is more messed up than usual at least it’s a demonstration that he’s actually playing live. It’s one of the most difficult, beautiful and progressively unhomogenised electronic sets you could ever hope to see.

Harmonic 313 by comparison feels derivative, with his shuddering dubstep ingredients and sped up breaks, he’s DJing and processing bits and pieces through effects. If Delay hadn’t happened it would’ve been great. But in a post Delay world it’s hard to really focus on anything else.

 

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