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.


Fragmented Frequencies Oct 09


If your curious about sound, about texture, about frequency, without the need for overtly musical elements like melody or percussion, in finding new ways to compose and construct sound, then Melbourne is the place for you this month.

Tomorrow the World is a mini experimental sound festival at the Westspace Gallery, that’s on currently and will continue until the 1st of November. Every day of the week you can trek down to Westspace to get your fill of curious and eclectic sound and media artists doing curious and eclectic things. Whether it’s a Philip Brophy or Adrian Martin slide night, improvisor Jim Denley or Norwegian guitarist Kim Myhr discussing their practice before demonstrating it via performance, or Marco Cher-Gibard and Rosalind Hall’s amazing audio visual sax/msp performances that need to be seen to be believed, you’ll get your fill of experimentation and innovation here. Hell it even ends on a boat going down the Maribrynong with sound artist Philip Samartzis who will use the boat and surrounds to create a site responsive sound performance. Perhaps most interesting is the focus on children for some of the events, with Eamon Sprod and Dale Gorfinkel taking an instrument building workshop, or a couple of weeks later Sprod and Rod Cooper taking the kids for a walk down the Maribrynong. This doesn’t sound like your usual monotonous chin scratching sound festival, where underfed students fiddle earnestly with laptops to conjure up terrifying and hurtful sounds that no one really wants to hear anyway. But you never know. Check for the full program.

Western Australian Matt Roesner has released a couple of really interesting, quite minimal electronic albums that tread the boundary between sound and music on both Room40 and Apestaartje, though his latest is a 12-inch on UK label 12×50. He’s coming to Melbourne along with Perth shoe-gazers The Ghost of 29 Megacycles, a dreamy heavily reverbed Windy and Carl meets My Bloody Valentine three piece, who’s album Love Via Paper Planes (Sound and Fury) is due anytime. What’s more TGO29M guitarist Greg Taw will play live with Roesner, offering some drum textures and guitar drones alongside Roesner’s laptop and guitars. They’re playing Horse bizarre on the 22nd of Oct, the 23rd at Glitch Bar, and the Tote on the 24th all with different local supports.

Over the last decade or so Australian born French resident percussionist Will Guthrie has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to move between jazz, rock and quite musical realms into more experimental directions using contact microphones and junk to create these incredibly articulate musique concrete sound pieces. It’s pretty clear that the guy can play almost anything. Spike-S is a 7-inch on Norwegian label Pica Disk. And it’s mental, The first side is an all out assault of kick-ass pedal to the metal kit drumming. He pummels those bastards under a noisy drony mess of raw searing noise and it feels good. Meanwhile side b becomes much more tinkery and electro acoustic, focussing more on space, a kind’ve cut and paste reworking using elements of side A. It’s inspiring stuff. Check out for more details.

Keeping the French/ Australian relationship going French sound artist Cedric Peyronnet (Toy Bizarre) is releasing a 3-inch cd a month over a 12 month period, each with a new 12 minute piece composition. And crazily enough they’re all based on reports made to him by an Australian about a 1 metre square patch of the Atherton Gardens. So for example “Fog, drift, quiet, a lone red vine leaf floats…falls, flurry and plummet from the golden ash,” gets us an incredibly visceral almost glacial sound piece, with bird chirping behind a sharp metallic and quite thin oscillating drone. It’s incredible work. Each disc is limited to 50. Check for more.

Finally Fragmented Frequencies can’t go past a Sabbatical night at the Empress, Glass, Drums and Piano. It’s Lucas Abela (evil glass blowing dude), Sean Baxter (Bucketrider) and Paul Grabowsky (Melbourne jazz alumni). It sounds absolutely wild and I have no idea what to expect. It’s on the 7th of November. Also performing are James Rushford and Joe Talia, a duo who earlier in the year released the curious electro acoustic music concrete Palisades (Sabbatical). Check for more details.

Bob Baker Fish