Posts By Greg Stone

VIRTUAL MIXTAPE: 100%

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Virtual-Mixtape_Lucy-Roleff

Illustrations by Lucy Roleff

Brisbane trio 100% make synth-driven post punk brimming with infectious grooves carved from primitive drum machine rhythms and suitably stony vocals.

Their self-titled debut, released via the always on point Moontown records in April last year, is a fully realised declaration, perfectly capturing the group’s musical vision. Their sound is a culmination of their diverse influences, from 80’s pop divas and 90’s house music, to their other musical projects including Rebel Yell, Cannon, and Heavy Breather. All of which makes perfect sense in the final result.

On ‘Lost Youth’, the lead single from their forthcoming EP You are 100%, the trio continue to deliver the goods with their most irresistible offering to date, along with an accompanying film clip which visually captures the mood of the song.

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For the ninth instalment in our Virtual Mixtape series the individual members guide us through some of their favourite movie soundtracks, a suitable theme considering some of the initial influences on the group’s sound were gleaned from synth-heavy film scores.

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Grace’s Selection:

HACKERS (1995)

I only watched Hackers about two years ago, stupid!! Fashion, music, the total misrepresentation of what they thought the future would be. The film follows teen hackers who rollerblade everywhere and hack into huge company computers for fun. Angelina Jolie is a total babe and I’m still searching for a mad quicksilver rashie that she reps during the film.

‘Halcyon On and On’ by Orbital (named one of the most inspirational/emotional songs of all time) opens the movie, it starts slow and builds and builds until that beat drops and you’re in the bloody groove 3 mins into the 9 min song (thank god it’s 9 mins). P.S. please also watch the film clip, it is made from BBC planet earth footage.

[Grace also designs and sells great stuff under the name Halcyon On + On]

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‘Cowgirl’ by Underworld, woah. This started me down a whole new path of dark tech. Repetitive, builds, drops, it is just so hypnotising. The little snares and shakers that keep adding one by one to create the hype before the bass drum kicks in is something that helps inspire ideas for the drum beats I create in 100% (obviously not at the pace of this song!).

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Of course ‘Voodoo People’ features in the final hack of the film. Jolie says “alright lets boot up” and then commences The Prodigy’s greatest track (~controversial~). All these songs are insanely captivating for me and possibly due to their repetitive nature, I just love them. Hackers for life.

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DRIVE (2011)

The Drive soundtrack is everything right about the music I love today. Synths, arpeggiators, electric drums, what more can I say. The score by Cliff Martinez drives [ 😉 ] the whole film with added bonuses of songs from College, Kavinsky and The Chromatics. Accompanied by Ryan Gosling’s face in a neo-noir crime thriller.

‘Tick of the Clock’ is another one of my slow build favourites. Not much really “happens” in it, but the underlying groove is something I could be absorbed in for hours.

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College & Electric Youth’s ‘A Real Hero’ is easily one of my favourite tracks on the album. It’s sad and beautiful, that’s all I can really say.

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If I had to pick a favourite of Kavinsky’s, I could not go past ‘Night Call’. An absolute groove, slow but punchy drums and a synth line that sticks with you. The vocals change between a distorted robotic male and a soft female vocal right at the point where a new synth sound comes in. It’s a perfect combination.

I never have and don’t think I ever will, get sick of listening to this soundtrack. A+++

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Lena’s Selection:

SUSPIRIA – GOBLIN (1977)

Music like this just becomes embodied by the scenes it’s given to. Goblin are intrinsically linked with filmmaker Dario Argento and the collaboration for the film Suspiria is one of the finest musical-cinematic scores in collaboration. You can get haunted with synesthesia from the sound of the italian technicolour seeping into this track. Its divine and sickly. I would love to see this performed by the Goblins live, but I would probably blindfold myself out of fear. Great original scores fill you with feeling and there is delirium in this opening number, regret and momentum. Drop out of Ballet school or else, become a witch.

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PRETTY IN PINK (1986)

I have an indefensible love for Brat Pack films and this, in conjunction with a desire for the macabre in the likes of Suspiria for example, is something I hope can come through in a project like 100%. Pretty in Pink is absolutely the best one in my opinion, it covers all the necessary ground and has a gorgeous soundtrack. I think that John Hughes would have by the time this film came through, conditioned some sense of responsibility for the taste of an audience who came out to see these films, as well as cutting ground for bands on the edge at that time. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s ‘If You Leave’ was written for the film and is the kind of cheesy bittersweet ambiguous love notes you want for an end credits-roll piece. Take note, we’ve written one for our next release and we’ll do it again.

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Chloe’s Selection:

THE WEDDING SINGER (1998)

I’m not usually one for rom coms, but this Adam Sandler masterpiece pulls my heart strings. The films aesthetic and soundtrack resonates with 100%, it’s cheeky and fun. I highly recommend purchasing the soundtrack – The Wedding Singer volumes one and two, you won’t be disappointed. Adam Sandler plays Robbie Hart, a hopeless romantic wedding singer and he’s never looked better.

The opening of the film features the song ‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)’ by Dead or Alive, sung by Sandler. This wedding party scene has it all, shoulder pads, mullets, breakdancing, cocktails and an outrageously large wedding cake. Everything I could ever wish for. This song is an upbeat 80’s synth hit, and matches the scene perfectly.

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‘Blue Monday’ by New Order is a personal favourite. It mixes a 70’s disco vibe with dark 80’s synth pop, both genres I am hugely inspired by. It’s a perfect sad dance track, just over 7 minutes long with driving drums and bass. This is a sound that greatly influences my synth playing. The song is heard during the club scene, neon lights and disco balls throughout.

‘White Wedding’ by Billy Idol is another favourite featured in the movie. Billy idol makes a guest appearance as himself in this film, seen sporting his signature biker wear and bleached hair. Hot hot hot.

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And how could I leave out The Boss. I’ve seen Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band live twice now with my dad, both times were inspiring and captivating. Springsteen’s energy and antics on stage is like nothing I’ve ever experience before. He’s a powerful rocker, giving it all. ‘Hungry Heart’ is a neat 80’s rock ballad, with a funky keyboard part to match. Five stars.

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You are 100%, the forthcoming EP from 100% is due out on Moontown Records soon so stay tuned.

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LISTEN: Friendships – ‘Nullarbor 1988-1989’ LP

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Melbourne based audio/visual duo friendships return with their new album Nullarbor 1988-1989, a tribute to the arid stretch of land that separated the duo in their respective home towns of Jerramungup and Footscray.

This is a truly original work that the duo admits may not appeal to all fans, but as they have stated “it’s exactly what we wanted to create and is exactly what we want to say.”
Gone are the playful, feel good vibes, replaced with pummelling rhythms and sinister, rolling bass lines. This is not dance floor elation. This is dance floor decimation

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The album wastes no time in making its intentions known. Opener ‘Big Farm in the Sky’ slowly unfurls with an ascending amen break and simmering synth arpeggios which give the track an air of euphoria. But from then on it’s straight down to business, and things don’t let up until the album’s death knell. This comes via the film score sparseness of album closer ‘Keep Smiling At Me Like That And You’ll Be Picking Your Teeth Up Out Of The Gutter’, with its pensive piano chords set against mechanical noises recalling petrol monsters roaring down the highway, or the cold, indifferent steel of the abattoir killing floor.

And whilst the musical cues come from around the globe the album is undeniably Australian. Whether it’s the thematic elements explored by the duo, the accompanying imagery, or the spoken word passages and their unsettling evocation of violence and menace; this is an unflinching ode to this harsh, at times nightmarish land.

Watch the stunning video for ‘The Roof’ below and grab the full album here.

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LISTEN: TEEF Records – Imperium In Imperio II

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Tommy Faith, founder of the always entertaining and on point Australian music blog Sound Doctrine, started TEEF Records in 2014 and has since clocked up a string of cracking releases from relative newcomers Spirit Faces, Anatole, Arthur Wimble and, most recently, Yon Yonson.

Mid-last year TEEF released Imperium In Imperio, a compilation of exclusive tracks from a veritable goldmine of local talent including Collarbones, Setec and Electric Sea Spider amongst many others. While the TEEF roster leans towards bedroom pop and electronica, the extensive list of artists featured on the compilation cover a lot of ground, stylistically speaking, without losing the sense of cohesion needed to make such releases succeed. And to top it off, the profits from the release were given to OXFAM’s Nepal relief fund, after a devastating earthquake struck the South Asian country in May last year.

Here we are a little over 12 months later, and Tommy’s at it once again with Imperium In Imperio II. Keeping with the eclectic nature of the first compilation, the 18-track second instalment features a slew of great artists with equally diverse and engrossing offerings – from the exquisitely squashed hip-hop entry from Sampa the Great, and the hypnotic warmth of Tracy Chen, to the ghostly 2-step groove of IljusWifmo. Once again the proceeds will be donated to OXFAM, this time for the Syrian refugee appeal, helping OXFAM provide food, water and sanitation to some of the 13.5 million people who have fled their homes over the last five years.

Grab this amazing compilation now and not only will you support this great cause, you will also show some much deserved love to your new favourite label, TEEF.

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LISTEN: Tangents – Stateless

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Improvisational outfit Tangents comprises a handful of talented musicians whose combined resumes include Triosk, Icarus, FourPlay String Quartet, Spartak and Pollen Trio, amongst others. Their new album, Stateless, was recently released by Temporary Residence, a perfect fit considering the US label’s eclectic and adventurous roster, and near flawless back catalogue.

Stateless effortlessly melds live instrumentation with electronic processing and programming, striking the perfect balance between the group’s improvisational roots and meticulous studio construction. The resulting music is simultaneously familiar and unique. In a broader musical sense there are nods to predecessors like The Necks, Supersilent and Tortoise; then there are more elemental references such as the processed cello at times recalling experimental duo The Books, or the deft scattershot drumming bringing to mind the skittering electronics of member Oliver Bown’s own Icarus project. But these are merely touch points as Tangents is certainly the sum of its parts, each member bringing their own individual influences, experiences, and style to the group’s sound.

A notable departure from their debut album I, released via hellosQuare in 2013, cellist Peter Hollo states that “the two albums are almost diametrically opposed in terms of our creative workflow. I is a document of the first performance by the five of us – before Tangents existed as a group at all. Fortunately we had the prescience to record the lot, and we spent a number of sessions editing those into the album itself. Stateless, by contrast, was not performed as a quintet at all. Ollie [Bown] took improvisations by group members in solo and duo configurations, and began sequencing tracks out of these.”

The music is created by the four performing members, but largely composed from this material by Bown. Initial foundations were created, Hollo said, then additional performances were recorded on top, bringing structural clarity and helping guide each piece to its finished form.

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There is a concerted focus on space in the music, a key factor to the album’s success. Individual members’ contributions are allowed to breathe, each finding its place within the mix and not vying for the spotlight. Glitchy electronics combine with the drums to create a rhythmic backbone, the cello alternating between plucked bass lines and freewheeling bowed parts, while the piano washes over with crystalline clarity. This is certainly not music to be pigeon-holed, taking cues from jazz, post-rock, early ‘00s folktronica, drum ‘n’ bass, and so on.

The group have been playing shows in support of the album – namely a monthly residency at the Glebe Justice Centre – but due to the nature of the writing and recording process on Stateless, they were faced with the difficult task when adapting the music for a live setting. Hollo admits “It’s always a conundrum for improvised groups. What to do when you’ve recorded and released albums of material that has been shaped into consumable and recognisable tracks? We made the decision after this album came together to try to learn at least a few of these pieces… we have adapted them into something partially composed, partially improvised, with a structure that is sometimes only loosely followed. If the audience knows the album, they will at least hear familiar material appearing at times”.

Receiving favourable reviews and backed by some high-profile remixes from Four Tet, Rabit, and Bundy K. Brown (Bastro, Tortoise), Stateless is an exceptional album from a world class outfit. Be sure to grab a copy, and keep an eye out for further launch shows around the country and abroad.

Stateless by Tangents

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VIRTUAL MIXTAPE: Lucy Roleff

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Illustrations by Lucy Roleff

There is a timeless quality to the music of Lucy Roleff. Relishing the time-honoured tropes of contemporary folk music, Lucy’s music wouldn’t sound out of place if it had been released at any time over the past 60 years.

Her delicate melodies sit atop elegantly restrained accompaniment, allowing the songs to carve their own path, like water gradually eroding jagged rock into polished smooth surfaces.

Following her acclaimed 2013 EP, Longbows, Lucy’s debut full-length, This Paradise, is set for release on July 15th via Lost and Lonesome. Recorded with Tony Dupé at his home studio in South Gippsland, the album is a gorgeous, intimate affair, a record of understated beauty with universal appeal.

 

Considering the aforementioned timelessness of Lucy’s music it seems fitting that the theme for her Virtual Mixtape is ‘Five favourite female voices from the past five decades’, giving us some insight into the varied influences both past and present.

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Sally Oldfield – ‘Answering You’ (1979)

I’m a sucker for a 1970s folk compilation and so I had heard a couple of Sally Oldfield’s songs here and there but hadn’t thought to look further into her work. At work, my boss had one of her albums on a playlist and I was immediately drawn to her beautiful and interesting melodies. Sometimes I feel like her songs are about to topple into the terrain of Schlager music (which I have a wary relationship with from childhood) but for the most part, I think her song writing is brilliant and her singing so pure.

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Saâda Bonaire – ‘Invitation’ (1984)

Stefanie Lange and Claudia Hossfeld are the voices of Saâda Bonaire but the story behind the duo is kind of complicated as apparently the act was the brainchild of some German DJ guy, despite them being sold more as a duo. Anyway, I think this song is so sexy and icy cool. Kind of like Nico with a bit more pizzazz.

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Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins) – ‘I Wear Your Ring’ (1990)

A few ladies have been compared to Elizabeth Fraser over the past few years (actually I think I even got the comparison for my stuff with Magic Hands) but I don’t think anyone can touch her. She manages to pull off unusual and striking melodies without sounding like she was trying to be clever. Effortless and elegant. When I first heard this song, I played it on repeat over and over and wanted to find a way to cover it but wasn’t sure how to best go about it – I think, with much of her work, the magic is in the interplay of the vocals.

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Oumou Sangare – ‘Wele Wele Wintou’ (2009)

I just love this music video. There’s so much going on. Oumou Sangare is a very inspiring Malian musician – An accomplished singer, she is also apparently something of an entrepreneur and advocate for women’s rights. The political issues in Mali have come to prominent attention in the west with documentaries such as “They Will Have to Kill Us First” which I highly recommend to everyone. The fighting power and spirit of these musicians who have been threatened and exiled from their homes is incredible to witness.

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Allysen Callery – ‘It’s Not the Ocean’ (2016)

I have followed Allysen’s career for some time now and was very excited to hear her new album “The Song the Songbird Sings.” It certainly did not disappoint. The first song on the album “It’s Not the Ocean” is probably my favourite of her songs. She has a great knack for describing small, domestic moments and I love the line in this song “we’re out of sugar, I’m not shopping anymore.” Beautiful music and to top it all off, she’s a lovely person!

This Paradise is due out on July 15th via Lost and Lonesome. Lucy launches the album on 28 July at the Gasometer in Melbourne.

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LABEL PROFILE: Spirit Level

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New Australian label Spirit Level is the brainchild of electronic producer/Double J radio presenter Tim Shiel, and Wally de Backer of Gotye fame. Originally formed to provide a local Australian release for U.S. outfit Zammuto, who had supported Gotye on some of their U.S. tour dates, the label was then shelved for a period whilst Tim and Wally were busy with other projects.

Fast forward to 2016 and the duo have resurrected the label to provide a platform for unique, compelling artists to be heard. When asked about the decision to revive the label Shiel states that “Part of the impetus for re-launching the label was having this realisation that I am surrounded in my day-to-day life by some pretty amazing creative people, and that we all have the will and the desire to collaborate and support each other – but sometimes you need someone to sort of plant a flag and say, ‘hey – this is a thing now. We’re a family now.'”

In addition to releasing music the label is committed to helping the development of their artists, assisting with any and all facets of the industry from song writing, mixing, artwork, promotion, contracts, booking shows etc. In Shiel’s words “I think we’ll just do whatever we need to do to help out…That’s the job of a label now I think, it goes way beyond just releasing music.” Throughout his own music career Shiel says he’s “really had to learn all of that stuff, piece it all together bit by bit on my own. Now hopefully I’m in a place where I can give some of that back, and through the label just do whatever is required to fill in the gaps. Even if it’s just being a bit of a cheerleader”.

The label’s first official signing is Melbourne artist Jordan White, aka Braille Face. Stumbling across his music on SoundCloud Shiel reached out to White and the two quickly became friends. This eventually led to the release of Braille Face’s debut single ‘Glow; an emotionally resonant slice of electronica not too dissimilar to fellow Melbournites I’lls. Simon Lam, the vocalist from I’lls, coincidentally mastered the follow-up single, ‘Backwards/Medicated’. Offering up a similar mood to ‘Glow’, this latest single builds from a wavering synth line atop a propulsive percussive loop, gradually unfolding and momentarily allowing White’s vocals to soar in beautifully restrained flashes, giving us a glimpse of what the Braille Face project still has up its sleeve.

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What’s next in store for Spirit Level? Firstly, the debut album from Braille Face, due for release later this year, then we can expect new music from the label’s latest signing, Melbourne duo Telling, one of Shiel’s own projects along with singer-songwriter Ben Abraham. And as for the future direction of the label, Shiel notes “We’ll go wherever feels right….I don’t particularly care what kind of music it is as long as I think it’s really great and creative, and that it moves me. And that I can imagine it moving other people.”

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VIRTUAL MIXTAPE: CORIN

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Virtual-Mixtape_Lucy-Roleff

Illustrations by Lucy Roleff

CORIN is the solo project of electronic producer Corin Ileto. A classically-trained pianist, Ileto weaves complex keyboard melodies atop glistening, rhythmic soundscapes to create her own lush brand of electronica.

Ileto’s debut LP, Wave Systems, released via Danish label Speaker Footage late last year, explored aquatic themes with submerged motifs and cascading synth washes perfectly capturing the majesty of an underwater world.

Since the release of Wave Systems, Ileto has been busy on a number of projects including a collaborative album with Melbourne artist Ju Ca, remixing composer Christina Vantzou, scoring dance works by Chloe Chignell, and recently joining Rainbow Chan’s live band alongside Moon Holiday.

For the latest instalment in our Virtual Mixtape series, Corin has provided a selection of music from some of her favourite Japanese producers.

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RYUICHI SAKAMOTO – ‘Riot in Lagos’

I am a long-time fan of Ryuichi Sakamoto and his multitude of collaborations, including his work in pioneering synth trio Yellow Magic Orchestra and piano collaborations with glitch producer Alva Noto in more recent years. The track I have chosen, ‘Riot in Lagos’, is from his album B-2 Unit released in 1980. I like the math-rock vibe and the mix of industrial drums with bleepy arpeggiated synth lines on this track. This track in particular has been cited as a key influence behind the electro sound of early New York hip hop groups such as Afrika Bambaataa.

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DJ WWWW – ‘Network’

DJWWWW is a producer that I found whilst sifting through the depths of SoundCloud. He is one of those mysterious producers that changes his alias every few weeks – his usernames have included “Lil Sega”,  “☆. exileVEVO”  and “pure trance”. He is also known for a label he runs called Wasabi Tapes which released a nice compilation Utsukushii earlier this year that I took part in.

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