Panoptique Electrical: Melbourne (12-15/8)

Jason and I arrived in Melbourne on the Wedensday afternoon and were picked up from the airport by Zoe and Jed who ferried us into the city (via a patisserie) for a bit of suprise/strategic field recording*.  Melbourne was gloomier than I’d ever seen it in awhile – the tops of buildings had disappeared in thick fog and the city took on a wet wintery gothic-ness.




*Field recording quickly became the norm for each of the locations on our tour, since the recording of Mount Schank worked so well for the Varoce’s set.


After much second guessing we arrived at ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) located on Federation Square.  The proposed location for a field recording would be the Len Lye retrospective exhibiting in the main gallery area.  I had never come across the work of Lye to any great extent let alone really seen any of his work, but the exhibition (esp. kinetic sound sculptures and scratch films) was pretty mind-blowing.  


The following day commenced by having a customary breakfast on Degraves Avenue, then a bit of nosing about and catching up with my brother in the afternoon.  Sean and I circulated Fitzroy and Collingwood for a couple of hours, I picked up a triple vinyl of The Tired Sounds of Stars Of The Lid and checked out some of the bookstores and cafes along the main strips.  Later in the afternoon Panoptique bumped into the Curtin Bandroom for the night’s performance on a shared bill with Great Earthquake and White Woods.




Great Earthquake was a nice addition to the night – the solo project of Noah Symons who loops drums, accordion, guitar and bass, creating multilayered textures that he improvises over.  The following group, White Woods were a guitar-driven unit reminiscent of Joy Division and Deerhoof, driven by swirling drum beats and noisy arpeggios.




Our set was (again) quite different in feel to the previous shows.  The opening ten minutes of the set was pretty unstructured with not much consistency, it seemed we couldn’t really establish some sort of unified idea of where things were heading (the live pub scenario probably had something to do with this.)  However, things gradually came together as our respective parts started to click and we were able to carry things along nicely for the next forty minutes.  An interesting aspect of the set was the tendency for the four of us to take turns playing in twos whilst the remaining two members would take a break – Jason and Zoe, me and Jed, Jed and Zoe, etc.  It added a really nice quality to set, opening sections up and giving things a bit more air.  The instrumentation was also a highlight, Jason seemed to be playing his keyboard in a slower languid manner, I focused mostly on building drones, Zoe’s ‘cello was very hushed and sparse, whilst Jed’s guitar work came into strong relief with some beautiful cyclical textures and arpeggio figures.


After a good night’s sleep, on Friday morning I checked out the NGV’s Dali exhibition gorging on the surrealness for next three hours.  I love Dali, in particular his later work which I’ve always had a strange attraction to – there’s something really wounded and contemplative about it.  



Salvador Dali – The Path of Enigmas (1981)



Later in the day I went on the hunt for a little gift to bring back for Lauren.  I found a gift in the same place I picked up some Rooibos and Madacascan black tea – a little green gold rimmed tea cup (which she likes!)  Later on, I meandered along Brunswick Street in search of some dinner, then retired for an early night.


Saturday was home time.  


Off to Canberra/Sydney tomorrow for the final leg of the tour. 


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