The Shape of Sound – Vol.3 Melbourne Australia (Iceage Productions)

shape of sound

This third and final survey of the sounds of underground Melbourne highlights and celebrates the diversity of styles and approaches currently occurring in our midst.  It feels broader than previous outings, and that’s a good thing, acknowledging some of the progressive work occurring in more electronic and beat based territories.

The eccentric electronics of Worng are a prime example, they sound like zombie acid house music crossed with a John Carpenter score and are probably the highlight of what is a truly eclectic collection of music. It feels like this time around it’s less abrasive than previous outings, with unexpected additions like the gentle repetitive guitar noodling from the appropriately named Sleep Ensemble.

Em Vecue Aquieu also offer gentle meditative atmospheric ambience that’s lush and cinematic yet it’s aggressively ruptured by some piercing electrics of the following track, courtesy of scene mainstay Ollie Olsen, acting like a high priest of noise, corralling all the negative pitches and coalescing them into a cumulative muscular drone piece.

Parts feel like they were originally recorded onto cassette, and there’s a definite low fi wooziness to a lot of the material here, like the organ and drum machine haze of Rites Wild, which with its reverb and delay drenched washes of sound is simultaneously lethargic and strangely compelling.

Robin Fox offers electrics as a field recording, there’s highly textural music concrete from Mitchell Brennan, and Sean Baxter offers some brittle uncomfortable chaos. Matthew Brown’s low-key synthetic experiments are typically amazing, whilst Wife rounds out the collection, sounding like no input mixer feedback loops utilising the most difficult sine tone pitches on the album.

It’s strange and beautiful music, startling and even scary at times. Yet this is the sound of 2013 Melbourne in all it’s weird joyful diversity.

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