I arrived in a sticky, windy and very hot Melbourne yesterday morning nursing some bad sunburn on my shoulders, which is not good for carrying backpacks >_< After getting into the CBD I met up with my brother who assumed the role of a kindly porter taking the painful load off my back.
Later on, I bumped my gear into the 1000 Pound Bend space on Little Lonsdale Street in the city meeting up with Tessa and the other performers. I realised that I’d already crossed paths with a few of them on my recent Panoptique Electrical adventures, but given our hazy acknowledgment of each other I would say that our original acquaintance had been brief.
The space itself was pretty impressive – it resembled a shop front with a large store area tacked on the back. The decor had a tasteful vintage/kitsch vibe going on, and their food menu (I had the vege lasagna) was fab.
As for the performance area, Tessa had done a great job setting things up in a practical and innovative manner – the main performance area was in the centre of the room with the mixing station, whilst the 8-speaker system fanned out creating a circular formation around the seating for the audience that had been arranged.
Josh Bach got things underway around 7:30 with a set comprising of warm analog textures derived from his extravagant set-up of what looked like a customised synth and a few other effects modules.
Richard Pilkington’s set was the most terrifying and impressive noise set I’ve sat through in quite sometime. I believe it was broadcast through six of the speakers in the room, the visceral/abrasive textures and general intensity of sound were rendered all the more effective (and physical) by the extreme volume level.
Tim Catlin’s set was a lot more restrained by comparison – rendering rich multi-layered textures of near-pure tones using an Ebow’d electric guitar, a loop station and some customised stomp-boxes. It reminded me a lot of Robert Fripp’s guitar work with Eno.
Following a short interval, Tessa Elieff performed two works – a manipulated field recording of bird activity in a large drain, and a collaborative work using a variety of samples. I liked both pieces – particularly the latter piece, with its interesting form and textures.
My set came next. After a brief little hiccup (I had forgot to plug my computer into the stereo line :0!) I performed my work for earthed cable, which is the same process I used at the recent Earpoke concert. It went well enough, the sonic result in the space was excellent, especially given Tessa’s suggestion during soundcheck that we double up the stereo image via the desk create a more ‘surrounding’ result.
Vijay Thillaimuthu’s set brought the noise back (in a good way) It seemed to me to be a lot more gestural and aggressive than Richard’s set. Whereas Richard employed a degree of restraint during his set, Vijay opted for a more militant(?) approach dropping sonic bombs and volleys around the space. Vijay’s set was enhanced by Kit Webster’s amazing video projection which mapped the sounding process to what looked like an old TV having a seizure.
Following Vijay, there was another interval, this time including some very ambient music and video work by Paul Candy.
The final leg of the got underway with an affecting set by Martin Kay, using a selection of samples including an Iranian singer. It was probably the most well composed performance of the night in my opinion – excellent stuff.
Finally Kit Webster (who had been responsible for all of the performance visuals during the night) offered up a fittingly minimal work for sine waves with sweeping tones, difference patterns and sub-frequencies.
It was a fantastic evening. Many thanks to Tessa for organising and executing such a professional and inspirational night of electronic and experimental music. It was really an honour to receive an invitation to perform alongside such great Melbourne based sound artists and make some lasting friendships as well.