Posts By Greg Stone

LISTEN: Ptwiggs – Purge

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ptwiggs

Sydney producer, Ptwiggs’ Debut EP, Purge, released via exciting new Sydney imprint Deep Seeded Records, is a white-knuckle ride through fierce sonic territory. A neon-lit dystopia where skulking, ambient synth pads are juxtaposed by a relentless rhythmic assault. Where woozy melodies and sampled Japanese vocal snippets collide in nightmarish distress, and it’s all you can do just to hold on.

Twigg’s maximalist approach shares common ground with a new breed of uncompromising bass music experimentalists like WWWINGS, Amnesia Scanner, and fellow Sydney-sider Grasps_ (with whom Ptwiggs and WA?STE recently collaborated on the track ‘Praying Waiting’). The music seems like a response to a sensory overloaded society on a seemingly inexorable march to tipping point.

The EP follows a string of equally impressive singles, ‘Cry for Ikari’, ‘Hypno Game’, and ‘Clarity’, each one adding another layer to the determined aesthetic vision which now reveals itself fully with the arrival of Purge.

These are futuristic dancefloor productions with little regard for the actual dancefloor. Refreshing, ambitious music that bullies you into the passenger seat and locks the door from the outside.

Purge is available digitally and on vinyl via Deep Seeded Records here.

 

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LISTEN: Raven – The night is dark, the night is silent, the night is bright, the night is loud

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raven

Renowned Sydney cellist, Peter Hollo, has built a solid discography over the years. Aside from his work as a member of FourPlay String Quartet and Tangents, he has become somewhat of a go-to player for recording artists when strings are required. This has seen him play and record alongside a countless list of both local and international artists including Oren Ambarchi, Seekae, Holly Throsby, Lisa Gerard, Philippe Petit and many more.

His solo work and collaborations have been consistent over the years; however actual releases have been more sporadic to the point where his latest full-length, the night is dark, the night is silent, the night is bright, the night is loud, feels like his first fully realised album.

Under his Raven guise Peter’s layered cello creations draw from far-reaching influences including neo-classical, ambient, post-rock and various forms of electronic music. At times his playing is intimate and personal, at other times expansive and dramatic. His chops as a cello player will come as no surprise for those familiar with his work, but what is unexpected are the sparse, ambient pieces, peppered with delicate piano and electronic flourishes. These explorations showcase the breadth of Peter’s influence and abilities as a musician.

The epic ‘descent’, is a perfect example, beginning with sprinklings of piano set against scrappy percussive clatter and eerie pads, before a sinister synth growl threatens to swallow the piece entirely. After the turbulence subsides the growl still looms in the periphery. A territorial predator preserving its turf.

I feel it would be almost cliché to call the album cinematic as this word is overused and tends towards the grandiose, however there is an undeniable film score quality to many of the pieces. The clever, understated arrangements evoke imagery perfectly suited to the moving screen, from the anxiety-fuelled horror of ‘infestation’, to the ramshackle convoy of ‘copra’.

The night is dark… is an adventure which invites you to saddle up with it. It’s music to accompany your next expedition, be it across the globe, or across the street.

Peter is playing shows in support of the new album. You can catch him in Sydney this Thursday at Venue 505, then onto Canberra on October 21st at the ANU Drill Hall Gallery

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LISTEN: Rolling Mass – exclusive mix

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Rolling Mass

Electronic duo, Rolling Mass, is a collaboration between Melbourne artists, Carolyn Schofield and Max Kohane. On paper their respective work appears to have few points of intersection musically, Schofield with her sprawling ambient synth explorations as Fia Fell, and Kohane with his exhaustive discography taking in grindcore, modern composition, sample-based beat music and beyond. Their debut EP, Prime Unity, doesn’t favour either camp but instead uses elements from each artists’ sound to explore something new altogether. The result is an intriguing mix of techno and free-form electronica where bubbling samples meld with pulsating synth in an evolving sound world that is both nostalgic and futuristic.

The video for the title track, created by Errol Green (Exotic Snake, Yolke), perfectly captures this world using feedback generated through a 90’s video mixer.

Despite only containing 3 tracks the EP feels expansive, each piece stretching out beyond its own orbit. Prime Unity will no doubt appeal to fans of Schofield and Kohane’s individual work, and should also pick up some new fans ready to take this unique voyage. The EP is available on vinyl and digitally via Brain Dead Records here.

To celebrate the release of their EP the duo have compiled an exclusive mix for whothehell. Featuring tracks from heavy weights like Carter Tutti Void and Jan Jelinek alongside more obscure artists such as Tourist Kid and Body of Adonis, the mix provides great insight into some of the music they enjoy and the music they create.

Tracklist:

Heldon – Moebius
Danny Wolfers – Fantasy Or Dream I’ll Take Anything
Suzanne Ciani – Concert At WBAI Free Music Store
Convextion – Distant Transmission
Beatrice Dillon – Poisson
Carter Tutti Void – V 3
Helm – Olympic Mess (N1L Remix)
Helm – Olympic Mess
N1L – Jaget Och Maskerna
Sleezy D. – Trust Track
Suzanne Ciani – Concert At Phil Niblock’s Loft
Home Listening – mixmixmix (excerpt)
Body of Adonis – Gossip/Grooming
Phuture – Acid Tracks
Jan Jelinek – Do Dekor
Tourist Kid – Under Armour Suite
Lukid – Riquelme
Panasonic – Vaihe (Fön)
Giuseppe Ielasi & Andrew Pekler – Yallingup
(N1L – Jaget Och Maskerna)
Helm – Olympic Mess (N1L Remix)

 

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LABEL PROFILE: Moontown Records

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moontown

Founded by multi-disciplinary artist and musician Danny Wild in 2012, Moontown Records has become the home for a plethora of boundary-pushing artists with little regard for specific music scenes or communities. And while the origins of the label were humble to say the least, the far-reaching roster now counts artists such as 100%, Thhomas, Lalić and School Damage, among many others in its fold.

On why he decided to start the label Danny says there was no real plan or ambitions, but instead was a platform for him to introduce people to the music of outsider artist, Turtlenecjk, whose prolific output is a story in itself. The label organically perpetuated from there as a number of Danny’s friends were making music, which to him was “engaged, fresh and inspiring”.

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On the artist selection process Danny notes “there is no formula, it might be a friend sending a demo, an anonymous email, or me obsessing over someone/something I have chanced upon. I really don’t think it’s ever been the same over the 50 odd releases I have done so far. I generally steer away from any demos sent to me from a third party, whether it be an agent or manager.” He finds that the style or genre of an artist’s music is less important than their approach, choosing to work with people who are “passionate and dedicated, but not serious”.

The label has always had a strong emphasis on physical formats, mainly cassettes but more recently vinyl. When asked about this approach Danny explains it stemmed from his own fascination with collecting, starting with “skate VHS tapes then into zines, cassettes and records”. Aside from that he also prefers the texture and sound of these medium and that he “never really saw a digital release as ‘real’”. His thoughts on this are however changing with the current state of “hyper consumption and waste”. As any music fan still drawn to the tactile beauty of a physical release will attest, there is something gratifying and ultimately more rewarding about a tangible object. A feeling which only affects a certain type of person. And as the way in which people consume music continues to evolve, Danny’s view is somewhat romantic reflecting “I am a nostalgic person…Musicians agonise over their music and by the time it comes to release day it might be a year or more old, people then consume it in a flash and are done with it. At least with physical media it exists in the world, a chance encounter could happen at a record store or elsewhere – and that is exciting to me. Mystery is exciting!”

With 2 releases already under his belt for 2017 – a 12” by Brisbane post-punk trio, Bent, and a tape of electronic and ambient experiments from Perth’s Leafy Suburbs – Danny is planning on 2 more 12” releases before the end of the year. He doesn’t want to give too much away on the releases but says its “very exciting and influential music”.

So stay tuned for more intriguing music from this great label and in the meantime navigate your way through the wealth of amazing material in the existing catalogue.

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LISTEN: R Hunter – Exclusive Mix

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r hunter pic600

Young Melbourne-based producer R Hunter, aka Asher Elazary, inhabits an intriguing zone where found sound, noise, and techno-leaning electronic music intersect. It’s a zone he shares with other contemporary fringe-dwelling artists like Sd Laika, Amnesia Scanner, and Dedekind Cut. His debut, Estrus, released via Nice Music late last year, is a saturated deconstruction of club music, in which pummelling rhythms emerge from sludgy collages of sound, only to drown again in the frenzy. This is music to soundtrack your next anxiety-fuelled nightmare, forward-thinking, introspective and challenging.

Starting out playing guitar, Asher followed a number of musical paths before deciding to focus his efforts on electronic music – something he’d previously only dabbled in. Currently studying classical composition, Asher is interested in “electronic music that deconstructs the genre and re-contextualises it outside of club spaces”. “The idea that an artist is able to communicate their identity and life experience through a certain choice of sounds, particularly via sampling and field recording,” he says, is particularly important to him.

Asher explores memories and different emotional spaces, processing sounds via “fairly destructive audio programs” he’s written, which form the structural basis of each hellish soundscape. “I guess I found it amusing to explore my own trauma through techno and electronic music,” he explains, “probably because I am absolutely terrified of clubs”. Asher also uses his live sets to address the origins of anxiety and trauma. He spent a lot of time designing tools that allow him to remix and loop elements on the spot, and he’s created intense audio-reactive visuals that he describes as “somewhere between the Gantz Graf [Autechre] music video and the Windows 98 maze screensaver” (the latter a playful reminder that his computer is always on the verge of a meltdown).

Asher is currently working on new music, moving away from dance music formats and focussing on the noise elements. His approach to writing music has also changed, with a new emphasis on live performance.

Before we get to hear new music from Asher, he’s created this mix for whothehell.net, with music from a host of international and local artists including Hyde, Pollen Trio and Marcus (not Singing), as well as some exclusive R Hunter material and remixes. Get down and dirty for the next 45 mins.

 

Tracklist:
Young Thug – RiRi (r hunter edit)
R hunter – Cvntvtv (r hunter edit)
Dedekind Cut – Fear in Reverse
SHALT – The Treatment
Hyde – Thunder Paint
Shxcxchcxsh -SsSsSsSsSsSs
Demdike Stare – Dyslogy
Marcus (Not Singing) – To be Possessed
Doll – Fun
R hunter – BoYz ToYz
Battle Trance – Blade of Love I
LOFT – Zissou
Frank Ocean – Nights (r hunter edit)
Grischa Lichtenberger – 002_0415_09_re1214_06_re_1114_27_re_ 1014_21_re_0614_20_lv_2g_2_b
Jenny Hval – The Great Undressing
Nina Buchanan – Wet
Helm – Olympic Mess (Beatrice Dillon remix)
Motion Graphics – City Links
Pollen Trio – Moon
Yu Miyashita – The Silent Pulse
Bataille Solaire – B.M.B.S.
Yves Tumor – Perdition
Allan Holdsworth – Endomorph

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LISTEN: Spirit Bunny

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Spirit Bunny cover

Brisbane trio Spirit Bunny deal in a unique brand of noise pop, although the term ‘pop’ in this instance refers to the short, sharp catchiness of their songs as opposed to any subscription to traditional structures or formulaic song writing.

Their self-titled debut album is an explosion of overdriven synth, rollicking drums, and circuit-bent 8-bit craziness. This is electronic music with the earnestness and urgency of a live band.

Brimming with raucous energy, the band bursts out of the gates with opener ‘Disco Horesride Montage’, a suitably animated introduction followed by the equally infectious instrumental cut ‘Bunny Battles’. And even when the pace drops back on the bouncy, hip hop inflected ‘Screaming Keys’ the palpable energy remains. The band rarely comes up for breath until the latter stages of the album, where tracks like ‘CRT Screens’ and ‘Gold & Brown’ introduce a slightly more pensive mood. But even on these tracks it’s not long before the band continues their aural assault, as if rejuvenated by the brief respite.

Spirit-Bunny

Aside from the obvious influence of the chiptune scene, there are nods to bands like Battles but with a scrappy, garage band tenacity. This is not background sound to lull you to sleep, this is brash, insistent music that demands your attention.

The band are wrapping up a national tour in support of the album with just a hometown Brisbane show remaining. For those of you who missed catching the band on tour, hopefully it won’t be too long before they head out on the road again. Until then, grab a copy of this fantastic debut now.

Brisbane launch:

May 20th @ The Bearded Lady

w/ Low Season and Leavings

 

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VIRTUAL MIXTAPE: Sebastian Field

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Virtual-Mixtape_Lucy-Roleff

Illustrations by Lucy Roleff

Sebastian Field is probably best known as the golden-throated front man for Canberra-based quartet, Cracked Actor. However he is also a member of gentle folksters, Burrows and more recently has focused on his solo project, the fruits of which will appear on his debut album, Picture Stone, later this year.

I first became aware of Sebastian’s work via Cracked Actor’s jaw-dropping full-length debut, Iconoclast, a work of majestic beauty underpinned by his distinctive falsetto. The band’s penchant for writing intelligent pop songs with an experimental flair carried through to the two EP’s which followed it; Upstructures, and the stripped-back Duo, both of which were released last year.

On the strength of his work in both bands, Sebastian’s solo outing is shaping up to be a cracker, and certainly one we’ll be keeping a close eye on.

For his contribution to our Virtual Mixtape series Sebastian has selected the incomparable Squarepusher, with an essay titled ‘Squarepusher’s Fantastic Obsession with Science Fiction’. Over to you Sebastian…

Seb-final600

Being a human (a human being) who’s been on the planet for *some* time now, my capabilities to achieve enthusiasm and excitement have deteriorated from the levels that I once used to be able to engage in. It’s a real shame. Things repeat themselves. Disappointments occur. Realities set in. It’s hard to maintain the same heights of vigorous elation that one used to feel. How bleak – but also really interesting and by proxy very exciting and enlivening to observe personally, lolz.

I can remember days when I would get so overwhelmed with anticipation for new Squarepusher music. In particular 2008’s Just A Souvenir. In the months leading up to its release, I was a bottle of bubbly, about to blow (blue tick of verification). I got it while interstate with some friends, detached from them for some time to enjoy the first listen. It was a few hours, I played it back to front a couple of times over directly into my brain through my headphones. I was so happy.

Anyway, for some reason I’ve felt it necessary to prelude this article with that introductory blurb because I think maybe it’s just nice to reminisce, isn’t it – aside from the present, all you have are your memories (which is a nice gift, really, that the experience of consciousness gives to you). Also, in being a bit self indulgent here, I feel I’ve given myself the opportunity to link to a track that has no real attachment to the overall subject, apart from being a track by Squarepusher.

Squarepusher – ‘Tommib’ (Go Plastic)

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A Band From Another Planet

For a while now, Squarepusher (Tom Jenkinson) has had an ever present obsession with concepts of science fiction, permeating them through his releases blatantly. It’s all the way through his releases from 2001’s schizophrenic Go Plastic to 2015’s nightmarish (and unfortunately underwhelming) Damogen Furies. The most obvious of his indulgences hitherto is perhaps the coming-to-fruition of his imagined science fiction future band, initially imagined on the aforementioned Just A Souvenir (JAS) and created in real life on his follow up release, Shobaleader One – d’Demonstrator.

In conversation on JAS, Jenkinson describes that the premise of the album originated from a daydream in which he was visited by a band performing in front of a large, glowing coathanger. The band played abstract math rock/jazz fusion/classical inspired compositions as surreal occurrences took place, such as parts of the drummers kit rapidly switching places with itself and the guitarist harnessing the ability to accelerate and decelerate time. As mentioned before, clearly an indulgence, Jenkinson tries his darnedest to replicate the experience of his daydream on JAS. It’s a lot of fun, you should listen to it if you’d like to. Anyhow, not satisfied with his efforts on JAS, he felt it necessary to have one more stab at directly replicating his vision by putting together Shobaleader One, the real life band from another planet.

Unfortunately, the (as of now) only recording put out by the band is pretty plain and underwhelming. Sorely missing the palette of Jenkinson’s solo studio abstractions, Shobaleader One – d’Demonstrator comes off as emotionless, two dimensional and really, really cold. That might be the point, even, being an alien band from another planet but the experience of sitting through the album is not very pleasant. The first track is brilliant, though, haha. I love it!

(more…)

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