Sombre atmospheres paired with delicate time signatures. Harpist and vocalist Genevieve Fry, guitarist Travis John, percussionist Esala Liyanage, bassist and vocalist Georgia Harvey and Tokyo-based Yuko Kono on backing vocals and recorder form the Melbourne-based act Cold Hands Warm Heart.
From late 2012, they have created humble and moving pieces via a self titled LP and live recordings. Along with Wondercore Island featuring their track ‘Magnolia‘ on their fifth mixtape, Cold Hands Warm Heart’s limited releases over the years have achieved a lot.
They’ve supported the likes of Luluc and Ainslie Willis at Howler and The Gasometer, as well as playing alongside many Melbourne acts at The Old Bar, The Grace Darling and Shadow Electric.
A diverse sound flows between uncomplicated and tranquil ambient arrangements, around heartwarming harp and into pop, psych, folk and electronic compositions. Each movement is intelligently arranged with individual instruments seamlessly rolling together; constructing an inspiring and incomparable sound.
Cold Hands Warm Heart have a unique approach to a wide range of genres. This, paired with their experience playing live, presents them with an extremely exciting future.
Melbourne’s dark and atmospheric electronic producer Daniel Verhagen has just released Delusion, a two track EP. Side one contains title track ‘Delusion‘, but it’s the b-side ‘Arcadia‘ that caught our attention.
Despite the thick continuous back thump, ‘Arcadia’ isn’t a house track or a dance track. It’s a heavily textural mood setter, best experienced while driving at night during a rainy storm, while imaging what life would be like working alone inside a lighthouse on a remote island. Which sounds bleak, but that’s ‘Arcadia’. The walloping chords push you sideways like coastal winds, the tracks core mechanics spontaneously flicker like failing street lights in a narrow alley. Even the piano notes trickle like the piano player’s fingers are cold from being out in the rain too long.
In other words; you’ll dig ‘Arcadia’ if you enjoy artists such as Zomby, Burial or Perturbator.
Don’t let the delicate opening piano chords of Willaris. K‘s new track ‘Alchemy’ fool you, this is by no means an acoustic number — rather a deep and brooding piece of techno, written solely for a late night dance floor.
Based in Northern NSW, the 23-year-old beat-maker has a sophistication and depth in his productions far beyond his years. The underlying rhythms and melodies in ‘Alchemy’ are solid and engaging enough, but the nuanced moments of production throughout elevate the track to a new level of maturity. These subtle moments of percussion and bass help create a frantic soundscape that is beautifully segmented by the track’s various breaks.
With only one song available online at this stage we’ve no choice but to hang out for more quality like this from Willaris K.
It’s summer time in Australia, which means we have a series of guest mixes on the way for the holiday season. First off, we have this special little mix from Melbourne-based Tomsk, who has kindly made us a mix ahead of the Christmas Eve Ciggie Saturday event at The Gasometer Hotel in Collingwood. We will let the man himself give us a rundown of what’s inside the mix.
“This mix kicks off with an unreleased track from myself — setting the tone with a jungle-like ’90s warp records inspired jam I made after dropping out of Uni halfway through this year. The bass line and melodies were made in one take, but the percussion was meticulously edited over a couple of weeks. ‘Time Rippa‘ is a track I put up earlier this year, [and] it’s definitely a trip! My brother described it perfectly – it’s like Aphex Twin mixed with The Chemical Brothers – two of my main inspirations!
I have included three other tracks from Melbourne mates — one from the rising live techno and electro outfit Glome. This one is a scorcher! Pounding broken beat kick resembling that of a industrial robotic arm chugs through, while the track is climaxing in a fierce electro locked groove. Next is another unreleased track, this one from the mysterious Runsthevoodoodown, who has been a regular selector at Ciggie Sundays this year. ‘Skyline‘ is an incredible warping break-beat extravaganza! We are both getting inspiration from similar sources at the moment, I know for a fact he has a whole lot of unreleased fire in his arsenal so keep an eye on him for sure.
The last track of the mix is from Escape Artist, who is one half of Continent. They will be debuting their live set on Christmas Eve for us. I was immediately taken back by this one, ‘Drum and Space’. It’s a kind of deconstructed jungle track with sparse interwoven rhythms and a cascading wash of arpeggios to cap it off.”
|T R A C K L I S T|
|Tomsk – ‘Drop Out Jam’ (Unreleased)|
|Dave Monolith – ‘Ages Sound’|
|AGTomsk – ‘Time Rippa’|
|Glome – ‘Stryker Hydraulic Fracturing Tension Arc’|
|Clark – ‘Unfurla’|
|Rolando Simmons – ‘Sol’|
|AFX – ‘Pitcard’|
|Runsthevoodoodown – ‘Skyline’ (Unreleased)|
|Cosiin – ‘Shinra’|
|Plant 43 – ‘Will I Dream’|
|The Art Of Trance – ‘Gloria’ (Transparent Mix)|
|µ-Ziq – ‘Brace Yourself Jason’|
|Autechre – ‘Flutter’|
|Escape Artist – ‘Drum and Space’|
Since 2012, with around 42 independent releases, Canberra based Moontown Records are an example of an Australian label with fine taste. Moontown specialise in niche and up-and-coming acts such as Traffic Island Sound, Basic Vision, Thhomas, Corporate Vibes, Holden Hands, 30/70 and Octo.
Quite a few of Moontown Records releases are limited cassettes, with a few limited vinyl as well, whilst via their bandcamp you can access everything digitally. Moontown’s efforts are helping new, talented artists get that little break whilst contributing to our ever growing pool of quality music in Austraia.
To fully appreciate Moontown’s vast discography – a true exploration of various genres through Australian based artists that encompass the weird, wonderful and unique sounds of our nation’s talent – I’ve picked out a few releases that personally stand out to me, and highlight Moontown’s ear for eccentric atmospheres.
‘Maximal Electronics‘ by Traffic Island is one of Moontown’s latest releases and takes you on a twisted electronic, psychedelic journey. A range of futurist synths are the structural base of the 13-track album with layered vocals, guitars and obscure samples forming a trippy experience that places you in the 1970’s.
Chilled, sunny afternoon vibes with a twist of abstract atmospheres, fitting into low-key house and psychedelic pop/rock is Moontown’s 32nd release, ‘Graham Avenue‘ – a sublime solo 4-track EP from Hamish O’Neil created under the alias of Basic Vision. Throughout the EP you hear strong Ariel Pink influences, but with a distinct push to steer clear of imitating such an artist’s vision. With captivating guitar riffs and lush synths, this short and peculiar EP is an exciting listen.
There is always time in your life for sample based beats. Thhomas arranges strange yet fitting recordings with keys, drums, synths and guitar for you in a diverse 20 minute mixtape – coherently exploring 2 step, ambient, downtempo house and everything in between, with concise movements of sound.
A vivid sonic road trip, Corporate Vibes have created a timeless piece of music that is what the east coast of Australia would sound like if it was a band. Warm synths, plenty of peculiar field recordings, grand guitar and uplifting melodies are just scraping the top of what this album offers.
The layers of synths and incredibly unique sounds that Holden Hands mould together over 13 tracks is captivating. Their self-titled debut album is rich and a whole lot of fun – it explores nostalgic, downtempo house with a surprising acidic burst, and blissful synth built ambience.
With their debut album hitting the airwaves and your ears earlier this year, 30/70 are hopefully an act you have heard of, especially with their recent debut on Boiler Room. Currently on it’s 3rd repress, ‘Cold Radish Hands‘ abrupt yet clean jazz instrumentals flow into electric rhythmic breaks and soul-defying vocals in a similar vein to Nai Palm, taking on an unique genre and bringing their own incredible touch to it.
30/70 play Wondercore Island‘s stage at Freedomtime on New Year’s Day.
‘October EP‘ is a short build up of highly engaging rhythms, sounds and ambient builds that coherently flow into Trip Hop arrangements. The short EP holds you in its grips with an assortment of estranged sounds, that are never short of a mellow atmosphere even with a few enticing breaks.
Mike Nolan is the new project from the Melbourne beat maker formerly known as Du Phaux. He has been quietly working out of the limelight over the last 12 months – spinning vinyl at Boney and other venues around town – but is now set to release new music ahead of his debut EP.
A1. Boketto treads the line between atmospheric soundscape and late night dance floor heater. Spacious synths layer themselves over a deep groove, forming the foundation of an off-kilter pattern that plays out in joyful repetition. You can’t fully distinguish when this track is coming or going, but it is guaranteed smooth listening throughout.
Formerly known as Javed de Costa, Beyond Solutions released his new EP Sleeping Surfaces last week. Australian label THIS THING‘s latest release inspires me, as their releases often do. The artists on this label energise my perception of music as an art form, because they transcend the superficial inclinations by which music can often be surrounded. I see THIS THING as musical innovators of Melbourne – creating their own sonic realm where boundaries do not exist. Beyond Solutions achieves their desire to create a record that is both a clean, finished product, as well as a manifestation of the tension exerted to create an EP.
I feel drenched when I listen to Sleeping Surfaces, in a way that feels cathartic. Beyond Solutions explores ideas of how the world is tainted by the promises surrounding utopianism, and the hollowness it represents. The thought of just how addictive and hollow utopianism can be is really confronting. When I approach the EP from this perspective the sounds resonate in a way that can feel eerie, but there is also a refreshing sense of solidarity in that idea.
Sleeping Surfacesis not just a refined and boundary pushing EP sonically, but conceptually it feels intimate – as though the sound progressively unlocks doors tucked behind layers and layers of the artist’s psyche.
Words by Matt Bladin // Photo by Sarah Chavdaroska
Local beat maker Christopher Port is no stranger to the Australian scene. He’s played drums for artists including Airling, I’lls, #1 Dads as well as live samples for Big Scary. Despite these deep roots he has only recently started releasing music under his new self-titled project.
After a strong first release with his EP Vetement, he followed up with new single ‘My Love’. This softer, more subtle track still draws from his UK Garage influences but takes these references to a new, more spacious place compared to previous tracks like ‘Heavens’. Long, sweeping synth lines are permeated by skilfully arranged vocal cuts, giving the expansive track a sense of drive and direction.
The ‘My Love’ release on Pieater Records has been accompanied by a B-side, titled ‘Sum 1 (‘His Eye is On The Sparrow Edit’)’, a much more percussion-laden track, with equally impactful vocals. Both are out now on more digital platforms.
Nutrition‘s deep and expansive production is reminiscent of the Byron Bay Hinterlands from whence he came; there is a sure sense of natural space and exploration within his atmospheric releases. However that is only one reading of These Days Don’t Exist. The EP (released on October 13th) takes the listener on an aural journey that is wide open to subjective interpretation. Publications ranging from Vice‘s Noisy, Thump, and Sydney’s FBi radio have tried their ears at dissecting Nutrition’s genre bending beats, with consistently positive results.
The stand out and title track from the EP, ‘These Days Don’t Exist’ is a great example of the journey the whole release offers. Intertwined bass and synth melodies create a hypnotic pattern that is simultaneously engaging and disorientating.
Tracks like ‘Lost’ and ‘Dream Walk’ feel built for a dance-floor, not unlike Melbourne’s forward thinking Paradise Music Festival, which he played last year. With a growing body of work behind him, more major dance-floor appointments are sure to be on the horizon.
Steady bass guitar, ghostly synths, a singular strum of a distorted guitar, a lightly chiming bell, percussion and a soft erratic kick-drum beat begins Elisabeth Dixon‘s new release, LP1. The Melbourne-based producer experiments with industrial noise and drone techno to create heavy atmospheres throughout her impressive five track debut.
After a dark yet calm build within the first part of ‘Limit Experience‘, a raw 4/4 beat kicks it all off, revealing LP1‘s direction.
At times, industrial noise and drone techno can be overwhelming. Multiple layers of abstract sound fighting for clarity, creating an intense haze. Elisabeth Dixon avoids this haze. Raw, well mixed layers intertwine magnificently and allow a dooming melancholy to resonate.
Each track has a unique component to it, blending the LP together smoothly. The layers of ‘Limit Experience’ intelligently blend together. It twists you through a dark vortex, which then slowly releases you into a lion’s den in ‘Dispose‘. The deep growl of a lion and softened screeches of what sounds like a race-car add a welcome quirkiness to LP1.
The haunting vocals in ‘Technique Of Self‘ matched with lightly bleeping aggregated sounds are tantalising. As the sounds of marching bring in and end the track, a rough droning guitar, rattlesnake percussion and echoing drums begin ‘Discipline‘. Matching well with the end of ‘Technique Of Self’, and moving from 4/4 techno into animalistic breakbeat, ‘Discipline’ will cause any eerie, dark dance floor to erupt.
After the droning guitar of at the conclusion of ‘Discipline’, a fast-paced beat begins ‘Intervention‘. Echoing percussion and twisted bass are the focal point. The dark and playful atmosphere provides a moving final track. A singular beat and an industrial robot call sounds, bringing an end to LP1.
Elisabeth Dixon has produced a debut LP that is intelligently structured, incorporating expected and unexpected sounds that fit well within techno as a genre. Each individual track inherits an exciting atmosphere, flowing freely throughout as a whole.
LP1 is out now via Instruments Of Discipline and Trait Records