So do you know about Melbourne’s hidden Kosmische history? A scene developed around men who wore capes and were producing cosmic electronic music as equally strange, beautiful and forward thinking as Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra (1974) and their German contemporaries at pretty much the exact same time. Steve Maxwell Von Braund was in London in the psychedelic 60’s and was profoundly influenced by the likes of Hawkwind and Can. Upon his return to Melbourne in the early 1970’s he purchased a Korg synthesizer and began experimenting. In 1975 with the help of Gill Matthews (Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs) he recorded Australia’s first electronic album Monster Planet, a sprawling highly textured experimental synth suite of mutant cosmic beauty, complete with epic sweeps of crunchy oscillating space jams. The following year he began working with Geoff Green as the equally interstellar Cybotron, subsequently releasing 3 studio albums and one live recording.
Both the iconic Monster Planet and Cybotron’s painfully rare Sunday Night at the Total Theatre from 1976 have just been rereleased on Melbourne’s new vinyl reissue label Dual Planet and been given deluxe treatment. Monster Planet is a gatefold with extensive liner notes, whilst Cybotron’s live recording recreates the original DIY artwork. This recording in particular is jaw dropping. It’s difficult to imagine how an audience today could cope with such synthesis driven spiritual ecstasy, let alone in the mid 70’s. The liner notes call the suite ‘ecstatic moog ragas’ and it’s an apt description of the wigged out cosmic goodness contained within.