Category Archives: Review

Meg Mac- Justified Hype!

I usually tune out as soon as a new artist appears on every hip music blog all at once, because it tends to feel like they’ve just employed the services of a well connected publicist, it rarely feels like an organic thing.  However in the case of Melbournian Meg Mac, the heaped praise seems definitely well placed- she has undeniably got something all of her own going on.

I love that she is working a flat out pop/soul sound It’s something that generally doesn’t fare well with the cool kids here in Melbourne, but she manages to give it a lot of depth (probably courtesy of her smoking voice) making it edgy, sexy and Australian sounding without it losing it’s hook and commercial polish and it’s catching everyone off guard in the best kind of way.  The video is a wee bit handsome too.

Do you think the hype is justified?  Take a look and listen for yourself:

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ASTRA- Piano between fingers and electronic transformation

I was lucky enough to see both the rehearsal run and the performance of a highly ambitious and truly engaging presentation of new works on Sunday.

Titled ‘Piano Between Fingers and Electronic Transformation’ it featured the works of two Melbourne based composers Anthony Lyons and Steve Adam who composed pieces for solo piano and computer technology, and who for the past year have been devising work in close consultation with the pianist at the centre of the performance- Sonja Lifschitz.
It was entrancing, so often the fusion between organic and electronic can be forced and insincere- creating 2 separate sound sources that divide and confuse the listening experience.  However in the case of this performance they were entwined with subtle beauty, each allowing the other to take focus or to support.   Lifschitz in both her technical prowess and her commanding presence and focus in what was a demanding 70 minutes of playing was mesmerizing.

Here is a video from the compositional process leading up to the performance.

 

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Amon Tobin ISAM Live- Melbourne

I was lucky enough to have a prime balcony position looking straight onto the stage for Amon Tobin’s ISAM live at The Palace Theatre in Melbourne last night.  We arrived early (read 2 hours early!) to make sure we got a good vantage point as this is a show that is heavily reliant on the relationship between the incredible visual performance and the carefully manicured and layered sound that are Tobin’s brilliant trademark.  I recently attended Aphex Twin‘s concert at the Palace and unfortunately arrived just before the main act and couldn’t get a spot to see the stage anywhere.  Luckily the 2 hour wait was absolutely made up for with a performance, like nothing I have ever seen before.

The set was a combination of different shaped white cubes creating a 3D precarious looking stack- not unlike toy blocks stacked up high by a toddler.  While interesting in itself- this was nothing compared to the transformation once the show started by way of precision projections onto the surface of the block.  Timed to the music with such absolute perfection, the blocks morphed in on themselves, lit up, caught fire, melted like lava, got sucked into themselves like some kind of vacuum or black hole, went all fluoro like a scene from Tron, turned into some kind of grinding machine and on and on it went.  For over 1 1/2  hours you could not take your eyes off the stage.  It was mesmerising, the patterns never repeating, always keeping you engaged.   The sophistication of the images made the whole set feel as if it was alive- pulsating, breathing and moving, not just with the compositions- but as part of it as if it was creating the sounds.   I loved that Amon Tobin himself was inside one of the cubes and that at various points he was lit up and at other times camouflaged.  You really got a sense that he was the pilot, or the beating heart in this strange creature.

Performing electronic music can be disengaging for the audience and it is something I try and consider every time I do a show– a head in a laptop, slaving over buttons and faders that are complex and take a lot of skill are lost on an audience who is listening to you with their eyes and don’t see the complexities of your performance when they are not taking the physical form of fingers on the string of a guitar, of sticks on drum skins.  Although a show like this takes a massive budget and huge team to achieve, I find it good food for thought when thinking of ways to show the scope and power of electronic music to an audience.

Here is a little overview of the show and below it an insight into the amazing technology and skill that went into creating the projections.

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Big Love for Adelaide

Well I’m back home after a whirlwind few days in the city of churches. I can now say with absolute certainty that it is certainly not all about churches in this fine South Australian capital- they sure now how to throw one hell of a festival- or 3.

On Wednesday night I headed after an afternoon of wandering around to get my bearings (I am the worst navigator you will possibly ever meet) I headed out to a pop up bar, down an alley way called Arcade Lane to catch the first round of bands for Fuse Festival. I finally got to see a fellow Melbournian who I had heard a lot about but who had seemed to elude me when it came to a live show, so it was lovely to finally see Kristina Militiadou, particularly in such a gorgeous venue, with incredible balmy Summer weather.  Thursday was spent chatting with other bands and sitting in on conference topics before a bit of a chat with Seb on The Range: Radio Adelaide   you can stream the interview right HERE!    Seb also started the show with a new track that I also have a crush on: Genisis by Grimes: Really beautiful…. have a listen-

Then it was time for my showcase!  Super excited by the venue- Cuckoo Bar Big congrats to Phil & Sarah for creating such a stylish forum for electronic music.  I would highly recommend a visit if you are in town!

So my showcase was an absolute blast, really had a great time and have to say an enormous thank you to the people who made it down to watch.  Some super brilliant new friends to be made (That would be you Brent, Sam & Elizabeth xox) and just all round good vibes.

If you couldn’t make it down- Here’s one of my songs captured live by Spoz and his youtube channel is wonderful for getting a glimpse of some of the other great bands that were on show (I’m glad he shot Hawks of Alba, cause I wanted to catch them and they were playing too close to my slot at another venue) Spoz’s blog has a lot of footage for music in Adelaide albeit with heavily weighted to non electronic/electro music – but absolutely worth a peruse, if only for the volume of music he manages to take photos and footage of.

Final night was Fringe Festival Opening Night- complete with parade. Honestly Adelaide you really do have amazing energy and I am so very fond of you! I’m going to come back soon and I’ll be sure to bring friends with me.

XOXO

Thanks to everyone who made the trip so amazing!

XO

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Free Remix Download and new music that I can’t get enough of

Well first of all, I thought it was time for a present!  I was pottering on a track that I started when I was happily lost in the South of France at La Muse.

You can download a full copy of the track HERE!

 

I wanted to let you know about 2 artists from opposite side of the world that I just can’t get enough of at the moment.

The first is: Beat Culture He’s a 17 year old from the US who only started making music a year ago and I’m awestruck- his sample based compositions are really engrossing- he has something really special.  There’s a mixture of free downloads and songs for sale- really worth a listen.

I also just bought an ep by Brice Woodall also hailing from the US- this 4 track release was recorded partly on cassette and partly on computer- the result is really gorgeous electronic pop that reminds me somewhat of The Postal Service.  I haven’t given it a thorough listening as yet- but it strikes me as a grower!

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Album Launch at the Toff in Town- Plus Review

I had such a brilliant time at the launch. Thanks so much to everyone who braved the Melbourne Winter to make it a celebration. You are all treasures xoxo

If you missed it, here’s a review from one of my favourite arts websites T-Squat:

 

T Squat

 

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Single Launch at Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival- review and photos

Thank you to everyone who made the effort to come down to the Warehouse Party for the Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival on April 31.  The Warehouse at 22 Ovens Street Brunswick, was such a quirky, cosy place to play.  For those of you who couldn’t make it down (you missed Myles Mumford’s amazing pancakes!, AusJazz were there to document it for you.  Check out the review here!

Big thanks and love to the organisers of MJFF and to Gavin Parker and Tim Coghill for joining me on the stage.

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