Sasha Margolis / Automating

REPRESSURED (cassette by Patient Sounds) PATIENT SOUNDS Hailing from Australia, Sasha Margolis creates mixed media sound collage and ambient compositions as Automating. On "Repressured" we find Margolis entering a slow motion shambolic ambient haze. Clustered tones, textures and swells, rolling piano lines, ebbing across the brain frequency. These two pieces typify the kind of delicate gusto we find appealing in brain music. VITAL WEEKLY Work by Australia's Automating has been well received here (see Vital Weekly 930, 862, 843 and 841) and here Sasha Margolis offers a rather short tape of two new pieces of music. Loops seem to be the primary interesting here, still, which sound as rusty as they could be. Or should be rustic? While 'Cloud Burst' is more electronic, 'Third Eye' seems to have more recordings from the farmland, with the sound of water running down pipes and a shifting microphone. Mistakes are left in. Sometimes things swell up to with processed sounds, all dark, all ambient, and what I noted before seems still valid here: Automating owes to the music of The Hafler Trio, but surely has more to say. Again, on 'Third Eye', it slowly develops into a musical song of sorts, with a decaying rhythm and a surprisingly musical ending. 'Cloud Burst' starts out with shorter, Reichean looped sounds, which, as the piece evolves, slow down and space out, before entirely disappearing and just some sounds stick around, humming on end, making vague orchestral gestures. Twenty-some minutes of more great music! Another excellent Automating release. (FdW) MEDITATIONS (DL付属) 具体音入る自然風景、ビートが溶け込むアンビエントの歪さ、そして全てを帳消しにするこのうっすらとした甘さ。00年代後半から作品発表を行うメルボルンのアンビエント作家、AutomatingかPatient Soundsから! 自身のレーベルSecond Language Recordsを中心に活動しているSasha Margolisのプロジェクト。地下電子音楽の行く末と自身のコラージュの感性が共鳴しつつ、Patient色な緩やかな郷愁が漂います。数多い作品数 の殆どがSecond Languageからという立ち位置の作家ですが、こういう人も引っ張ってくる辺りがPatientの良さ。ダウンロードコード付属! 2014年作品 (Tatewaki)

REPRESSURED (cassette by Patient Sounds)

PATIENT SOUNDS
Hailing from Australia, Sasha Margolis creates mixed media sound collage and ambient compositions as Automating. On "Repressured" we find Margolis entering a slow motion shambolic ambient haze. Clustered tones, textures and swells, rolling piano lines, ebbing across the brain frequency. These two pieces typify the kind of delicate gusto we find appealing in brain music.

VITAL WEEKLY
Work by Australia's Automating has been well received here (see Vital Weekly 930, 862, 843 and 841) and here Sasha Margolis offers a rather short tape of two new pieces of music. Loops seem to be the primary interesting here, still, which sound as rusty as they could be. Or should be rustic? While 'Cloud Burst' is more electronic, 'Third Eye' seems to have more recordings from the farmland, with the sound of water running down pipes and a shifting microphone. Mistakes are left in. Sometimes things swell up to with processed sounds, all dark, all ambient, and what I noted before seems still valid here: Automating owes to the music of The Hafler Trio, but surely has more to say. Again, on 'Third Eye', it slowly develops into a musical song of sorts, with a decaying rhythm and a surprisingly musical ending. 'Cloud Burst' starts out with shorter, Reichean looped sounds, which, as the piece evolves, slow down and space out, before entirely disappearing and just some sounds stick around, humming on end, making vague orchestral gestures. Twenty-some minutes of more great music! Another excellent Automating release. (FdW)

MEDITATIONS
(DL付属) 具体音入る自然風景、ビートが溶け込むアンビエントの歪さ、そして全てを帳消しにするこのうっすらとした甘さ。00年代後半から作品発表を行うメルボルンのアンビエント作家、AutomatingかPatient Soundsから!
自身のレーベルSecond Language Recordsを中心に活動しているSasha Margolisのプロジェクト。地下電子音楽の行く末と自身のコラージュの感性が共鳴しつつ、Patient色な緩やかな郷愁が漂います。数多い作品数 の殆どがSecond Languageからという立ち位置の作家ですが、こういう人も引っ張ってくる辺りがPatientの良さ。ダウンロードコード付属!
2014年作品
(Tatewaki)

BEREITSCHAFTSPOTENTIAL (3"CDR by Ice Age Productions) VITAL WEEKLY Sasha Margolis hails from Melbourne, Australia and offers here a highly limited 3"CDR (edition of 25 copies) of 'studio created binaural soundscapes and archaic tape based drones. Field recordings, found sound, tape manipulation, noise and effects units', which perhaps sums it all up, already. We reviewed some previous works (Vital Weekly 841, 843 and 862) and I still have not much more information than just this, so let's go straight the music, which lasts exactly twenty-one minutes, and goes from noise 'n rhythm to drone to medium sized noise walls. And one point the sound goes down a bit, and overall this quite a diverse piece of music, moving in a dynamic way from medium low to a harsh ending. It has perhaps something that one could identify as 'retro sounding': the (perhaps) low resolution samples of the casio SK-5 maybe, topped with some fine sound effects and somewhere in the end stages of the piece a meandering desolated melody. This piece is made with some great care and consideration. Someone who knows what works and what not. I wouldn't have minded some more music by Automating, whose previous releases already gave me much pleasure. (FdW) MUSIQUE MACHINE Ice Age Productions presents Bereitschaftspotential, a 3” CD-R by Australia’s Automating. I wasn’t at all familiar with this project, but when I looked through the slim information available on the insert, I saw the name Sasha Margolis. I am familiar with Margolis’s work in Constant Light, having thoroughly enjoyed their krautrock meets synth drone album Mag-Amplitude. However, Automating is an entirely different beast altogether. Aesthetically the packaging on this tiny fellow is rather plain and minimal. The unmarked disc comes in a polycase with black and white art featuring an ouroboros, geometric shapes, and some psychedelic line work than vaguely resembles a pentagram.The case is then inserted in a cardboard border to fit into a regular CD sized polybag. All in all, the art looks like reference work in a tattoo portfolio. I could take it or leave, so I’ll let the music speak for itself. The tiny 3” disc contains a single track, of which Margolis makes the most of it’s 21 minute play time. Hard to define, Bereitschaftspotential is a collision of tape-based drone, dense atmospherics, field recordings (most notably the sounds of birds and a cat), degraded loops, stringed instruments (perhaps cello sounds created through a synth?), magnetic tape manipulations.and a number of other synth and effects based sounds. The piece evokes feelings of foreboding dread, through the use of dense atmospherics and a repetitive knocking sound, yet those doomy elements are tempered by the track’s instrumental moments and sparing use of animal sounds. There’s also quite a bit a of clicking, crunching, and sputtering going also, which I thought at first was a synthesizer, but could be more cassette manipulations...it’s hard to tell. All I know is that all that combined makes for an engaging listening experience that is every bit as good, although completely different to Margolis’s work in Constant Light. All in all, an enjoyable and concise introduction to this talented composer’s work. I look forward to hearing more from this project in the future.  - Hal Harmon ESSAY ON BEREITSCHAFTSPOTENTIAL by Rhea Boyden

BEREITSCHAFTSPOTENTIAL (3"CDR by Ice Age Productions)

VITAL WEEKLY
Sasha Margolis hails from Melbo
urne, Australia and offers here a highly limited 3"CDR (edition of 25 copies) of 'studio created binaural soundscapes and archaic tape based drones. Field recordings, found sound, tape manipulation, noise and effects units', which perhaps sums it all up, already. We reviewed some previous works (Vital Weekly 841, 843 and 862) and I still have not much more information than just this, so let's go straight the music, which lasts exactly twenty-one minutes, and goes from noise 'n rhythm to drone to medium sized noise walls. And one point the sound goes down a bit, and overall this quite a diverse piece of music, moving in a dynamic way from medium low to a harsh ending. It has perhaps something that one could identify as 'retro sounding': the (perhaps) low resolution samples of the casio SK-5 maybe, topped with some fine sound effects and somewhere in the end stages of the piece a meandering desolated melody. This piece is made with some great care and consideration. Someone who knows what works and what not. I wouldn't have minded some more music by Automating, whose previous releases already gave me much pleasure. (FdW)

MUSIQUE MACHINE
Ice Age Productions presents Bereitschaftspotential, a 3” CD-R by Australia’s Automating. I wasn’t at all familiar with this project, but when I looked through the slim information available on the insert, I saw the name Sasha Margolis. I am familiar with Margolis’s work in Constant Light, having thoroughly enjoyed their krautrock meets synth drone album Mag-Amplitude. However, Automating is an entirely different beast altogether.

Aesthetically the packaging on this tiny fellow is rather plain and minimal. The unmarked disc comes in a polycase with black and white art featuring an ouroboros, geometric shapes, and some psychedelic line work than vaguely resembles a pentagram.The case is then inserted in a cardboard border to fit into a regular CD sized polybag. All in all, the art looks like reference work in a tattoo portfolio. I could take it or leave, so I’ll let the music speak for itself.
The tiny 3” disc contains a single track, of which Margolis makes the most of it’s 21 minute play time. Hard to define, Bereitschaftspotential is a collision of tape-based drone, dense atmospherics, field recordings (most notably the sounds of birds and a cat), degraded loops, stringed instruments (perhaps cello sounds created through a synth?), magnetic tape manipulations.and a number of other synth and effects based sounds. The piece evokes feelings of foreboding dread, through the use of dense atmospherics and a repetitive knocking sound, yet those doomy elements are tempered by the track’s instrumental moments and sparing use of animal sounds. There’s also quite a bit a of clicking, crunching, and sputtering going also, which I thought at first was a synthesizer, but could be more cassette manipulations...it’s hard to tell. All I know is that all that combined makes for an engaging listening experience that is every bit as good, although completely different to Margolis’s work in Constant Light.

All in all, an enjoyable and concise introduction to this talented composer’s work. I look forward to hearing more from this project in the future.
 - Hal Harmon

ESSAY ON BEREITSCHAFTSPOTENTIAL by Rhea Boyden

SOMNAMBULIST  (automating album) VITAL WEEKLY More music by one Sasha from Melbourne. The digital version of this is released by the netlabel Wood And Wire, while Sasha has a few copies of this on CDR with a handmade package on his own Second Language Records. "Originally conceived as a demonstrative show reel for various psychoacoustic techniques as a form of data delivery and an approach to a philosophical understanding of the world". About sleep states, hypnagogia, why we need to sleep and source material from field recordings, found sound, tape manipulation, noise and effects units. While it has been cut into eighteen tracks, with as many titles, it sounds like all of this music belongs together with all of these flowing straight into each other. While its not the same in some ways I am reminded of the older Hafler Trio most of the times, with some ambient textures, collaged voices and processed field recordings but all in a more rougher state. Like things recorded on dictaphones before being processed into shady loops and slowed down voices. Maybe alike 'A Thirsty Fish'. Maybe it's because the Hafler Trio came up in conversation a few times last week. From the three releases I heard by them so far, I thought this was by far their best release. An excellent example of raw musique concrete, philosophical thought and fine execution through minimal means. (FdW) SONIC MASALA In some ways Automating’s effort Somnambulist is the most ambitious of this incredibly ambitious brace of releases. Comprised of 18 tracks that investigate the stasis and psyche of sleep-states, hypnagogia and hypnopompia via field recordings, found sound, tape manipulation, noise and effects units, the end result of Somnambulist is the interior score to a technologically-obsessed paranoiac (there’s that word again…). I honestly found myself going a little crazy whilst listening to it, it invades the skull so completely. This, combined with vivid imagery due to the inventive use of the field recordings, paints a garish vista of modern societal nightmares akin to Todd Haynes’ Safe or Darren Aronofsky’s Pi. Even Lost Highway plagued my mind. Now I love these films, but I don’t want them fusing with my mind – God, I can see the Mystery Man’s eyes upon me! Seriously, this is an incredible trip. I'm not sure I’d recommend taking drugs whilst watching this one…  - Brendan T  CRAWLSPACE ‘Acoustic Decoding’ is a time-lapsed trip through chromatic, emphatically dodgy hyper-futurist smog. Your ship is weaving through a canopy of Emirates high-rises several centuries after Our Death. So what the hell are you doing there, in your ship? Nice stuff, anyway.  - Shaun Prescott TINY MIXTAPES Amazing Australian artist Automating (how’s that for alliteration) makes screechy industrial-tinged experimental music, mixed with murky strings and plenty of drone. They also release free albums. Somnambulist consists of 18 bits of avant-garde goodness specifically designed to tickle your primary auditory cortex. With track titles like “Alpha Wave” (there’s also Beta, Gamma, and Theta), “EEG Test,” and “Lucid Dreaming,” and appropriately mind-bending tunes to match, listening to this album is like getting your brain picked by the most expert of audiophiles — and it’s a blast.  - ZCAMP MUSIQUE MACHINE This is a nicely, diy packaged release; combining a stumptown cardboard wallet with collages and transparent sheets of text. The cdr contains eighteen tracks, forming a large collage just over an hour long. One of the transparent sheets has a long introductory text, which concerns itself with sleep, memory and “psychoacoustic techniques as a form of data delivery”; and indeed, there is a dream-like atmosphere to the recordings. At the risk of appearing to be casting a superficial eye over the album, I think its worth stating from the off that there is a huge amount of material on “Somnambulist”. Too much to be covered accurately in any depth, here. However, this material does fall within somewhat narrow parameters; in fact, it could be crudely divided, sonically, into a mere two categories: field recordings/found materials and drones - with the added proviso that some of the latter are constructed from the former. So, we have “mayday” radio pleas, rubbing shoulders with reverbed firework recordings; street conversations meeting with engine noise… Near the start of the album, there’s a section of bleating sheep after an islamic (?) call to prayer - which is then itself followed by pealing church bells; but there’s no clear indication of this being a “politicised” juxtaposition on Automating’s part. Thus it becomes a more generalised “surreal” technique, with a resulting surreal tone (in the truest sense). The field recordings and found materials are often manipulated, but it has to be said that they’re not stretched very far. Often they’re looped or delayed and, given the concerns with sleep and memory, reverb plays a predictably large role. The processing often works towards a murkiness - this is not an album of shining, detailed electroacoustic work (and thats not a criticism). Indeed, its often only the little snippets of raw field sound that provide any colour or clarity, since the majority of the drones are indeed murky and “lo-fi”; earthy, shadowy and obscuring. Though, saying that, the organ-like drone in “Acoustic Encoding” is most definitely celestial in destination. This is a good, solid album; which sucks you in the more you listen. Its not by any means an earth-shattering release - and in that respect, the quasi-scientific album notes don’t help - but its sonically engaging for most of its duration. I say “engaging”, but as mentioned above, the overall tone of “Somnambulist” is obscuring; leaving the listener with a sense of unease and “distance”. Those interested in the murkier, “tape” side of drone, will find much here to chew over; aided and abetted by the further obscuration of its collaged aspect.  - Martin P RHEA BOYDEN ‘Dreams are the touchstones of our characters’ -Henry David Thoreau  ‘Mayday, Mayday!’ We hear this distress call repeatedly in the track ‘Projection’ but do we get the help we are looking for? Not always when we project all our hopes and dreams onto another person. The album ‘Somnambulist’ by ‘Automating’ which is the solo project of Sasha Margolis from Melbourne, Australia explores hopes, dreams and fears in an 18-track album. The album, released under the label ‘Wood and Wire’ is a tantalising collection of field recordings, found sound and tape manipulation. With track titles such as ‘PET Scan’, ‘Neuronal Response’ and ‘Repetition Compulsion’ we can expect this album to explore deeper states of consciousness and a yearning to make sense of the world through an understanding, in particular, of dreaming and various sleep states.  The album opens with the track ‘Alpha Wave’ and we hear the sound of a chirping bird. Is this a sign that the day has commenced happily? The Alpha brainwaves are present when we are relaxed, meditative, aware and enjoying the moment. It’s a positive note to start on, but as we listen to the album we hear that it explores a whole range of human emotions experienced in various states of sleep. The track ‘Delta Wave’ does not keep one in a happy and relaxed manner for long. It is sinister, spooky and frankly, quite terrifying to listen to. In fact, much of the terror, stressors and stimulants of modern life prevent many of us from reaching the delta brainwave state as often as we should- it is the state of deep sleep and unconciousness that is most restorative. Following this is ‘Voices of the Dead’ and in this track we hear a lot of wind and water. The voices of those we have lost can be found in nature if we listen closely, but we cannot stop the passage of time and hold onto that which has slipped away. I am reminded, when listening to these tracks, of the Gothic poem by Edgar Allan Poe: ‘A Dream within a Dream’- ‘I stand amid the roar, of a surf-tormented shore’ writes Poe, in great despair, realising that he cannot hold onto the dream that is slipping away from him. He sees that he cannot even hold onto one grain of sand that slips from his hand making him question the passing of time-the sands of time- and also whether everything he ever experienced was just a dream and never reality at all. Where does the border lie between dreams and reality? And what happens in that hazy land between waking consciousness and deeper sleep?  A lot of really interesting things can happen in that hazy land and that is the part of this album that to my mind, is really exciting. The track ‘Hypnopompia’ samples distant eerie voices. Are these the voices of creativity that speak to us as we awaken in the morning? The hypnopompic state is the state of semi-consciousness that is experienced coming out of sleep and many a writer and composer swears that the insights that hit them at this moment are the ones that turn into the best stories, songs and poetry. We all know that feeling we have in our gut first thing in the morning-the one that puts us in tune with our strongest emotions- erotic feelings or feelings of deep mourning. Sentiments of joy or loss. If we can capture the truth at the core of these feelings right then and there we can turn them into new energy and life in our various creative pursuits. The track that follows ‘Hypnopompia’ is ‘Synaptic Transmission’ and in it we hear fireworks which are a wonderful way of sonically sampling and expressing the workings of the synapses. Are perhaps the fireworks a celebration of the ideas that have been successfully captured in the hypnopompic state? Happy creative synapses at work that have been well exercised in the dream state?  In other tracks we hear chanting, church bells, organs, bleating sheep, speeding trains, a didgeridoo and muffled voices. How to make sense of all of this? In the track ‘Acoustic Encoding’ I am reminded once again of that Edgar Allan Poe poem, or indeed, any poem I love that begs to be read out loud. For this is what ‘acoustic encoding’ is: the process of remembering and understanding things you hear. When we read a poem out loud we are engaging in acoustic encoding.  The album ends with the track ‘Theta Wave’. This is the perfect finale as the Theta brainwaves are activated when you are falling asleep. New ideas and enhanced creativity occur in a Theta brainwave state. And after listening to an album that makes me ponder the colourful spectrum of human emotions in a dream state, it is very pleasing to end on a track that is a gateway to learning, healing and spiritual growth. In the Theta state we retreat again to the voices and signals that come from within us, and, most beautifully, we can connect to the divine, readying us again for a new morning in the hypnopompic state: another day of capturing our dreams and commencing the cycle over. ‘Somnambulist’ (which means sleepwalker) is a truly inspiring and thought-provoking album on many levels.  - Rhea Boyden

SOMNAMBULIST  (automating album)

VITAL WEEKLY
More music by one Sasha from Melbourne. The digital version of this is released by the netlabel Wood And Wire, while Sasha has a few copies of this on CDR with a handmade package on his own Second Language Records. "Originally conceived as a demonstrative show reel for various psychoacoustic techniques as a form of data delivery and an approach to a philosophical understanding of the world". About sleep states, hypnagogia, why we need to sleep and source material from field recordings, found sound, tape manipulation, noise and effects units. While it has been cut into eighteen tracks, with as many titles, it sounds like all of this music belongs together with all of these flowing straight into each other. While its not the same in some ways I am reminded of the older Hafler Trio most of the times, with some ambient textures, collaged voices and processed field recordings but all in a more rougher state. Like things recorded on dictaphones before being processed into shady loops and slowed down voices. Maybe alike 'A Thirsty Fish'. Maybe it's because the Hafler Trio came up in conversation a few times last week. From the three releases I heard by them so far, I thought this was by far their best release. An excellent example of raw musique concrete, philosophical thought and fine execution through minimal means. (FdW)

SONIC MASALA
In some ways Automating’s effort Somnambulist is the most ambitious of this incredibly ambitious brace of releases. Comprised of 18 tracks that investigate the stasis and psyche of sleep-states, hypnagogia and hypnopompia via field recordings, found sound, tape manipulation, noise and effects units, the end result of Somnambulist is the interior score to a technologically-obsessed paranoiac (there’s that word again…). I honestly found myself going a little crazy whilst listening to it, it invades the skull so completely. This, combined with vivid imagery due to the inventive use of the field recordings, paints a garish vista of modern societal nightmares akin to Todd Haynes’ Safe or Darren Aronofsky’s Pi. Even Lost Highway plagued my mind. Now I love these films, but I don’t want them fusing with my mind – God, I can see the Mystery Man’s eyes upon me! Seriously, this is an incredible trip. I'm not sure I’d recommend taking drugs whilst watching this one…
 - 
Brendan T 

CRAWLSPACE
‘Acoustic Decoding’ is a time-lapsed trip through chromatic, emphatically dodgy hyper-futurist smog. Your ship is weaving through a canopy of Emirates high-rises several centuries after Our Death. So what the hell are you doing there, in your ship? Nice stuff, anyway.
 - Shaun Prescott

TINY MIXTAPES
Amazing Australian artist Automating (how’s that for alliteration) makes screechy industrial-tinged experimental music, mixed with murky strings and plenty of drone. They also release free albums. Somnambulist consists of 18 bits of avant-garde goodness specifically designed to tickle your primary auditory cortex. With track titles like “Alpha Wave” (there’s also Beta, Gamma, and Theta), “EEG Test,” and “Lucid Dreaming,” and appropriately mind-bending tunes to match, listening to this album is like getting your brain picked by the most expert of audiophiles — and it’s a blast.
 - ZCAMP

MUSIQUE MACHINE
This is a nicely, diy packaged release; combining a stumptown cardboard wallet with collages and transparent sheets of text. The cdr contains eighteen tracks, forming a large collage just over an hour long. One of the transparent sheets has a long introductory text, which concerns itself with sleep, memory and “psychoacoustic techniques as a form of data delivery”; and indeed, there is a dream-like atmosphere to the recordings.

At the risk of appearing to be casting a superficial eye over the album, I think its worth stating from the off that there is a huge amount of material on “Somnambulist”. Too much to be covered accurately in any depth, here. However, this material does fall within somewhat narrow parameters; in fact, it could be crudely divided, sonically, into a mere two categories: field recordings/found materials and drones - with the added proviso that some of the latter are constructed from the former. So, we have “mayday” radio pleas, rubbing shoulders with reverbed firework recordings; street conversations meeting with engine noise… Near the start of the album, there’s a section of bleating sheep after an islamic (?) call to prayer - which is then itself followed by pealing church bells; but there’s no clear indication of this being a “politicised” juxtaposition on Automating’s part. Thus it becomes a more generalised “surreal” technique, with a resulting surreal tone (in the truest sense). The field recordings and found materials are often manipulated, but it has to be said that they’re not stretched very far. Often they’re looped or delayed and, given the concerns with sleep and memory, reverb plays a predictably large role. The processing often works towards a murkiness - this is not an album of shining, detailed electroacoustic work (and thats not a criticism). Indeed, its often only the little snippets of raw field sound that provide any colour or clarity, since the majority of the drones are indeed murky and “lo-fi”; earthy, shadowy and obscuring. Though, saying that, the organ-like drone in “Acoustic Encoding” is most definitely celestial in destination.

This is a good, solid album; which sucks you in the more you listen. Its not by any means an earth-shattering release - and in that respect, the quasi-scientific album notes don’t help - but its sonically engaging for most of its duration. I say “engaging”, but as mentioned above, the overall tone of “Somnambulist” is obscuring; leaving the listener with a sense of unease and “distance”. Those interested in the murkier, “tape” side of drone, will find much here to chew over; aided and abetted by the further obscuration of its collaged aspect.
 - Martin P

RHEA BOYDEN
‘Dreams are the touchstones of our characters’ -Henry David Thoreau 

‘Mayday, Mayday!’ We hear this distress call repeatedly in the track ‘Projection’ but do we get the help we are looking for? Not always when we project all our hopes and dreams onto another person. The album ‘Somnambulist’ by ‘Automating’ which is the solo project of Sasha Margolis from Melbourne, Australia explores hopes, dreams and fears in an 18-track album. The album, released under the label ‘Wood and Wire’ is a tantalising collection of field recordings, found sound and tape manipulation. With track titles such as ‘PET Scan’, ‘Neuronal Response’ and ‘Repetition Compulsion’ we can expect this album to explore deeper states of consciousness and a yearning to make sense of the world through an understanding, in particular, of dreaming and various sleep states. 

The album opens with the track ‘Alpha Wave’ and we hear the sound of a chirping bird. Is this a sign that the day has commenced happily? The Alpha brainwaves are present when we are relaxed, meditative, aware and enjoying the moment. It’s a positive note to start on, but as we listen to the album we hear that it explores a whole range of human emotions experienced in various states of sleep. The track ‘Delta Wave’ does not keep one in a happy and relaxed manner for long. It is sinister, spooky and frankly, quite terrifying to listen to. In fact, much of the terror, stressors and stimulants of modern life prevent many of us from reaching the delta brainwave state as often as we should- it is the state of deep sleep and unconciousness that is most restorative. Following this is ‘Voices of the Dead’ and in this track we hear a lot of wind and water. The voices of those we have lost can be found in nature if we listen closely, but we cannot stop the passage of time and hold onto that which has slipped away. I am reminded, when listening to these tracks, of the Gothic poem by Edgar Allan Poe: ‘A Dream within a Dream’- ‘I stand amid the roar, of a surf-tormented shore’ writes Poe, in great despair, realising that he cannot hold onto the dream that is slipping away from him. He sees that he cannot even hold onto one grain of sand that slips from his hand making him question the passing of time-the sands of time- and also whether everything he ever experienced was just a dream and never reality at all. Where does the border lie between dreams and reality? And what happens in that hazy land between waking consciousness and deeper sleep? 

A lot of really interesting things can happen in that hazy land and that is the part of this album that to my mind, is really exciting. The track ‘Hypnopompia’ samples distant eerie voices. Are these the voices of creativity that speak to us as we awaken in the morning? The hypnopompic state is the state of semi-consciousness that is experienced coming out of sleep and many a writer and composer swears that the insights that hit them at this moment are the ones that turn into the best stories, songs and poetry. We all know that feeling we have in our gut first thing in the morning-the one that puts us in tune with our strongest emotions- erotic feelings or feelings of deep mourning. Sentiments of joy or loss. If we can capture the truth at the core of these feelings right then and there we can turn them into new energy and life in our various creative pursuits. The track that follows ‘Hypnopompia’ is ‘Synaptic Transmission’ and in it we hear fireworks which are a wonderful way of sonically sampling and expressing the workings of the synapses. Are perhaps the fireworks a celebration of the ideas that have been successfully captured in the hypnopompic state? Happy creative synapses at work that have been well exercised in the dream state? 

In other tracks we hear chanting, church bells, organs, bleating sheep, speeding trains, a didgeridoo and muffled voices. How to make sense of all of this? In the track ‘Acoustic Encoding’ I am reminded once again of that Edgar Allan Poe poem, or indeed, any poem I love that begs to be read out loud. For this is what ‘acoustic encoding’ is: the process of remembering and understanding things you hear. When we read a poem out loud we are engaging in acoustic encoding. 

The album ends with the track ‘Theta Wave’. This is the perfect finale as the Theta brainwaves are activated when you are falling asleep. New ideas and enhanced creativity occur in a Theta brainwave state. And after listening to an album that makes me ponder the colourful spectrum of human emotions in a dream state, it is very pleasing to end on a track that is a gateway to learning, healing and spiritual growth. In the Theta state we retreat again to the voices and signals that come from within us, and, most beautifully, we can connect to the divine, readying us again for a new morning in the hypnopompic state: another day of capturing our dreams and commencing the cycle over. ‘Somnambulist’ (which means sleepwalker) is a truly inspiring and thought-provoking album on many levels.
 - Rhea Boyden

SASHA'S SONIC WASTE by Rhea Boyden

SASHA'S SONIC WASTE by Rhea Boyden

GIVENS (automating album) MUSIQUE MACHINE Automating, the bleak ambient project of Sasha Margolis, has existed since 2007, and released more than 10 CDrs in that time.  This album "Givens", released in 2012, is a lengthy lo-fi industrial noisescape which blends from one track to the next.   In the harsher moments we have washed out grey distortion with muffled mids and the highs rolled off, a classic cassette tape sort of sound, though this is a CDr.  Elsewhere we have despairing, lonely synth pads, uneasy dissonant drones, the remote hums and chuggings of machines, and occasionally an outright alarm ("When Use Becomes Abuse"). The coldly claustrophic static womb promotes a brooding, misanthropic state of mind.  It is not distorted or loud by noise standards, but it is quite enveloping.  One can sense in the sound a deep displacement and dissatisfaction with society in this music.  Margolis' primary voice for expressing this is long samples, the sort that make you think.  Particularly memorable is the sample of an inspiration speaker in "Double Monster"; coupled with the mournful pads in the background, the fight to attain the positivity of interaction described by the speaker seems hopeless.  It serves as a reminder of the way ambient music can serve as the perfect counterpart to an emotional monologue, in a way nothing else quite could without distracting from the message.  It also recalls to me a spectacularly disturbing and very underrated dark ambient opus, Tho-So-Aa's "Identify".  - Josh Landry I bought this yesterday after hearing the track 'Fragmentation Focus' on the radio. Really deep, immersive, dark ambience with something of a post-industrial feel. I've gone for the CD edition, although the purchase included the download. I've listened to the tracks and most of it is excellent. There's some really interesting electronic music coming out of Australia.  - Nick G

GIVENS (automating album)

MUSIQUE MACHINE
Automating, the bleak ambient project of Sasha Margolis, has existed since 2007, and released more than 10 CDrs in that time.  This album "Givens", released in 2012, is a lengthy lo-fi industrial noisescape which blends from one track to the next.  

In the harsher moments we have washed out grey distortion with muffled mids and the highs rolled off, a classic cassette tape sort of sound, though this is a CDr.  Elsewhere we have despairing, lonely synth pads, uneasy dissonant drones, the remote hums and chuggings of machines, and occasionally an outright alarm ("When Use Becomes Abuse").

The coldly claustrophic static womb promotes a brooding, misanthropic state of mind.  It is not distorted or loud by noise standards, but it is quite enveloping.  One can sense in the sound a deep displacement and dissatisfaction with society in this music.  Margolis' primary voice for expressing this is long samples, the sort that make you think. 

Particularly memorable is the sample of an inspiration speaker in "Double Monster"; coupled with the mournful pads in the background, the fight to attain the positivity of interaction described by the speaker seems hopeless.  It serves as a reminder of the way ambient music can serve as the perfect counterpart to an emotional monologue, in a way nothing else quite could without distracting from the message.  It also recalls to me a spectacularly disturbing and very underrated dark ambient opus, Tho-So-Aa's "Identify".
 - Josh Landry

I bought this yesterday after hearing the track 'Fragmentation Focus' on the radio. Really deep, immersive, dark ambience with something of a post-industrial feel. I've gone for the CD edition, although the purchase included the download. I've listened to the tracks and most of it is excellent. There's some really interesting electronic music coming out of Australia.
 - Nick G

SOUNDOFFSOUND (automating album) VITAL WEEKLY From Melbourne, Australia we have Sasha, who works as Automating. Through bandcamp we find one album of thirteen tracks ready for download, but there is also this particular release, which lasts very close to eighty minutes, so way too long to be put on bandcamp, I should think. According to the same bandcamp, Automating uses field recordings, found sound, tape manipulation, noise and effects unites, "currently pursuing live and studio created binaural soundscapes and archaic tape based drones". That is certainly the case on this massive piece of work. Whatever Sasha found along the road or in any sort of state, he takes it down to the computer and expands it into one tonal drift, of very slow moving, shifting sounds. Only in movements of slow minutes you hear something has changed here, but change is inevitably there. Its all quite raw. Maybe the time stretching was done in an analogue manner, whereby a small portion of sound has been slowed down on an ancient reel-to-reel recorder ad infinitum and colored up with a likewise ancient graphic equalizer. That makes this particular alley of drone music a bit more intense and a bit more raw than many of his peers are doing. Quite a heavy rock that rolls down the mountain here. (FdW)  

SOUNDOFFSOUND (automating album)

VITAL WEEKLY
From Melbourne, Australia we have Sasha, who works as Automating. Through bandcamp we find one album of thirteen tracks ready for download, but there is also this particular release, which lasts very close to eighty minutes, so way too long to be put on bandcamp, I should think. According to the same bandcamp, Automating uses field recordings, found sound, tape manipulation, noise and effects unites, "currently pursuing live and studio created binaural soundscapes and archaic tape based drones". That is certainly the case on this massive piece of work. Whatever Sasha found along the road or in any sort of state, he takes it down to the computer and expands it into one tonal drift, of very slow moving, shifting sounds. Only in movements of slow minutes you hear something has changed here, but change is inevitably there. Its all quite raw. Maybe the time stretching was done in an analogue manner, whereby a small portion of sound has been slowed down on an ancient reel-to-reel recorder ad infinitum and colored up with a likewise ancient graphic equalizer. That makes this particular alley of drone music a bit more intense and a bit more raw than many of his peers are doing. Quite a heavy rock that rolls down the mountain here. (FdW)  

Live performance in the Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, 30 June 2011 HANNOVERSCHE ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG 2 July 2011 "Sprechende Klaenge" - Musik 21 in der Kestnergesellschaft Beim juengsten Konzert in der Kestnergesellschaft ging es um das gern bemuehte Tems Kommunikation in der Musik. Doch weil sich die Musiker vom Institut fuer Neue Musik und der Hochschule fuer Musik, Theater und Medien selten mit Profanem aufhalten, wurde nicht die Kommunikation von Musikern selbst eroertert, sondern Kommunikation ueberhaupt. So kommunizierten im uebertragenen Sinn Instrumente miteinander Musikstile, ganze Musikepochen. Sasha Margolis aus Australien kombinierte analoge Sythesizer aus den achtziger Jahren mit digitalen elektronischen Klaengen von heute [...] Das Experiment wirkte wie der Abend selbst; mal verstoerend, mal betoerend, immer interessant. Und auch wenn sich saemtliche Klangcollagen in ihrer Sperrigkeit gegen popkulturelle Hoergewohnheiten und Verwertbarkeit wehrten, erfuellten sie treffend das Ziel des Abends: Man redete darueber.  - Jan Sedelies

Live performance in the Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, 30 June 2011

HANNOVERSCHE ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG
2 July 2011
"Sprechende Klaenge" - Musik 21 in der Kestnergesellschaft
Beim juengsten Konzert in der Kestnergesellschaft ging es um das gern bemuehte Tems Kommunikation in der Musik. Doch weil sich die Musiker vom Institut fuer Neue Musik und der Hochschule fuer Musik, Theater und Medien selten mit Profanem aufhalten, wurde nicht die Kommunikation von Musikern selbst eroertert, sondern Kommunikation ueberhaupt.
So kommunizierten im uebertragenen Sinn Instrumente miteinander Musikstile, ganze Musikepochen. Sasha Margolis aus Australien kombinierte analoge Sythesizer aus den achtziger Jahren mit digitalen elektronischen Klaengen von heute [...]
Das Experiment wirkte wie der Abend selbst; mal verstoerend, mal betoerend, immer interessant. Und auch wenn sich saemtliche Klangcollagen in ihrer Sperrigkeit gegen popkulturelle Hoergewohnheiten und Verwertbarkeit wehrten, erfuellten sie treffend das Ziel des Abends: Man redete darueber.
 - Jan Sedelies

AUTOMATING / ANON  (split cassette) INTERNATIONAL TAPES Automating is the heterogoenous sound and sample manipulations of Melbourne, Australia’s Sasha Margolis. “Lost Air” is the perhaps the most drone focused of Automating’s released work to date. The vaguely defined bodies of distorted synth hums call to mind towering, electrified structures, belonging to some “reality ahead of schedule,” while the muffled shuffling of the semi-rhythmic elements recall paranoiac apartment living. The track sits happily in the area between more “noisy,” distorted drones and the glistening, reverb-laden audio saccharine drones that are increasingly en vogue. The balance is refreshing and the touches of tape hiss add an intriguing, if unpredictable element. MESS & NOISE This split cassette between Melbourne’s Automating (Sasha Margolis of Spitfire Parade) and Berlin-via-Sydney’s Anon (Anna Vo, previously of Sydney hardcore group Crux), couples two artists with cosmetically very little in common. Automating’s side is one of the most immediately enjoyable recordings in his steadily growing catalogue, with ‘Lost Air’ conjuring the quiet anxiety of surveillance. Listening to this is like sitting in a steel-tight bunker monitoring an anxious wanderer getting lost in a forest. With its thick metallic drone and leaf-crunching samples, there’s a strange sense of voyeurism here, as if we’re awaiting some grim climax. Anon’s side utilises what sounds like very loose and reverberated piano strings acting as a base for some breathy vocal manipulations, and is dedicated to her late friend and M+N contributor Adam D Mills.

AUTOMATING / ANON  (split cassette)

INTERNATIONAL TAPES
Automating is the heterogoenous sound and sample manipulations of Melbourne, Australia’s Sasha Margolis. “Lost Air” is the perhaps the most drone focused of Automating’s released work to date. The vaguely defined bodies of distorted synth hums call to mind towering, electrified structures, belonging to some “reality ahead of schedule,” while the muffled shuffling of the semi-rhythmic elements recall paranoiac apartment living. The track sits happily in the area between more “noisy,” distorted drones and the glistening, reverb-laden audio saccharine drones that are increasingly en vogue. The balance is refreshing and the touches of tape hiss add an intriguing, if unpredictable element.

MESS & NOISE
This split cassette between Melbourne’s Automating (Sasha Margolis of Spitfire Parade) and Berlin-via-Sydney’s Anon (Anna Vo, previously of Sydney hardcore group Crux), couples two artists with cosmetically very little in common. Automating’s side is one of the most immediately enjoyable recordings in his steadily growing catalogue, with ‘Lost Air’ conjuring the quiet anxiety of surveillance. Listening to this is like sitting in a steel-tight bunker monitoring an anxious wanderer getting lost in a forest. With its thick metallic drone and leaf-crunching samples, there’s a strange sense of voyeurism here, as if we’re awaiting some grim climax. Anon’s side utilises what sounds like very loose and reverberated piano strings acting as a base for some breathy vocal manipulations, and is dedicated to her late friend and M+N contributor Adam D Mills.

It's More Than a Game - MCG Installation, 2010 Next Wave Festival (Photo by Peter Tillack) ARTLINK REVIEW In It's More Than A Game http://allthequeensmen.net/cms/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ArtLink-Review-2010-Next-Wave-Festival.pdf

It's More Than a Game - MCG Installation, 2010 Next Wave Festival (Photo by Peter Tillack)

ARTLINK REVIEW
In It's More Than A Game
http://allthequeensmen.net/cms/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ArtLink-Review-2010-Next-Wave-Festival.pdf

BIN 01  (automating album) MESS & NOISE “These are binaural recordings,” the scant liner notes for Bin 01 warn. “Please use headphones.” It’s an instruction not to be ignored, as binaural recordings create a deeper sense of space and place than an average stereo recording is capable. Through careful placement of microphones, binaural recordings aim to approximate the way our ears receive environmental sounds in day-to-day life. It’s a method particularly given to field recording, and on Bin 01 Melbourne’s Sasha Margolis has collected three raw recordings of various locations in Israel. Of course, the recordings aren’t presented raw. With deft subtlety, Margolis’s mode of operation is to allow the various environments – mostly crowded urban spaces – to speak for themselves before ascending into frightening echo chambers, as if the recordings’ inhabitants were experiencing an apocalyptic rip in the time/space continuum. Album opener ‘Piece 2’ braces the listener for a documentarian approach to field recording before, late in the piece, the environment starts to fold in on itself, creating a stuttering, three-dimensional drone. The effect conjures images of a crowded town square where the inhabitants are locked in an eternal loop of random inconsequence. It’s audio phenomena as existential fear; revealing the terror inherent in the ruthless repetition of a tiny insignificant moment. Later, during ‘Hiss & Hum’ (named after a bystander’s observation that there is “a lot of hiss and hum in the background”) an unidentified machine’s nondescript aural data is looped so that it gains a rhythmic intensity through carefully fabricated repetition; panning from left to right and decorated by what sounds like pitch shifted incidental sounds. Indeed, much of what makes Bin 01 such a compellingly alienating experience is the revelation of a frightening soullessness at the heart of every sound. Automating manages to invert minutiae into something profoundly unsettling.

BIN 01  (automating album)

MESS & NOISE
“These are binaural recordings,” the scant liner notes for Bin 01 warn. “Please use headphones.” It’s an instruction not to be ignored, as binaural recordings create a deeper sense of space and place than an average stereo recording is capable. Through careful placement of microphones, binaural recordings aim to approximate the way our ears receive environmental sounds in day-to-day life. It’s a method particularly given to field recording, and on Bin 01 Melbourne’s Sasha Margolis has collected three raw recordings of various locations in Israel.

Of course, the recordings aren’t presented raw. With deft subtlety, Margolis’s mode of operation is to allow the various environments – mostly crowded urban spaces – to speak for themselves before ascending into frightening echo chambers, as if the recordings’ inhabitants were experiencing an apocalyptic rip in the time/space continuum. Album opener ‘Piece 2’ braces the listener for a documentarian approach to field recording before, late in the piece, the environment starts to fold in on itself, creating a stuttering, three-dimensional drone. The effect conjures images of a crowded town square where the inhabitants are locked in an eternal loop of random inconsequence. It’s audio phenomena as existential fear; revealing the terror inherent in the ruthless repetition of a tiny insignificant moment.

Later, during ‘Hiss & Hum’ (named after a bystander’s observation that there is “a lot of hiss and hum in the background”) an unidentified machine’s nondescript aural data is looped so that it gains a rhythmic intensity through carefully fabricated repetition; panning from left to right and decorated by what sounds like pitch shifted incidental sounds. Indeed, much of what makes Bin 01 such a compellingly alienating experience is the revelation of a frightening soullessness at the heart of every sound. Automating manages to invert minutiae into something profoundly unsettling.

Other

SLR016 (Compilation feat. Constant Light track) VITAL WEEKLY A compilation from Australia with four bands, two of them clocking in at ten minutes and two at just under fifteen. Dark Monolith I don't think ever made it to these pages, the other bands did. Constant Light open up here with a fine piece of darker than life ambience, of humming analogue synthesizers and likewise old sound processing devices. Cosmic music anyone? No, not really. This is just black hole music. Very nice. [...] I normally don't like compilations but with such lengthy pieces its always easier I guess, including the nice music. Obviously. (FdW)

SLR016 (Compilation feat. Constant Light track)

VITAL WEEKLY
A compilation from Australia with four bands, two of them clocking in at ten minutes and two at just under fifteen. Dark Monolith I don't think ever made it to these pages, the other bands did. Constant Light open up here with a fine piece of darker than life ambience, of humming analogue synthesizers and likewise old sound processing devices. Cosmic music anyone? No, not really. This is just black hole music. Very nice. [...] I normally don't like compilations but with such lengthy pieces its always easier I guess, including the nice music. Obviously. (FdW)

MAG - AMPLITUDE (Constant Light album) MUSIQUE MACHINE Second Language Records presents Mag - Amplitude by sonic experimentalists Constant Light. The Australian duo of Sasha Margolis and James Dean present a follow up to their well received Observations/1. If you can imagine taking Krautrock cranked through the grinder of the early 80’s Manchester scene, then brighten it up with some contemporary synth pop/dream pop (ala Stereolab), add a pinch of noise and you might begin to approximate the Constant Light sound. The opening track on Mag - Amplitude “I/O” starts with a strong bass line that layers with repetitive synth pulses and warm keys that drone on for nearly the entirety of this 10 minute track. There’s something oddly familiar with this jam. Strangely this track reminds me of Joy Division’s “Atmosphere” if you bumped up the speed and tempo and made it cheerier and uplifting rather than somber. “Factory Floor” follows in the opening track’s synthy goodness, offering another 10 minutes of drum machine beats and shifting futuristic keyboards colliding with fuzzed out guitar. The penultimate track “Ice Glass” is a 2 minute jam of what sounds like an electronic harpsichord. The first three tracks are only, but a prelude to the epic 3 part opus “Dreams of Dreams Denied I-III.” After listening to the first 3 synth heavy tracks, I was taken back a bit by the near acoustic jam on part I. Electro acoustic guitar, harmonica, sorta vocals, live drums, all shrouded in an airy atmosphere carry through to part II. Part II is a 5 minute shoe-gazey fuzz pop jam and then we come full circle to more familiar territory with part III. Part III closes things out on happier tidings with an ambient synth jam. I can almost imagine the duo jamming out to this track with perma grin in some smoky little club, just transfixed by the tunes they’re filling the atmosphere with. I have to admit while I wasn’t initially enamored by Mag - Amplitude, they won me over by disc’s end. It’s a nice mixture of familiar sounds, that’s surprisingly refreshing. Another fine showing by this Australian duo that got me hook, line, and sinker.  - Hal Harmon WAS IST DAS Melbourne's Constant Light make a globe-trotting sound that takes in influences from Krautrock (particularly the Neu! beat), Factory Records, OMD and even a bit of noise in there. Buzzing along tightly, the opener 'I/O encapsulates all of the above, with a deep throbbing bassline, motoric beat, melodic keyboards and then slowly building walls of noise. It's like they have these three sides to them: melody, rhythm and noise. Each of the songs on here encapsulates these elements (if you count tracks 4 - 6 as one track, they do share a name). Factory Floor chugs along on the root beat with sweeping atmospheric keyboards and after about five minutes fuzzing guitars begin to roar along with it, finally almost engulfing it around the ten minute mark. 'Ice On Glass' is the shortest track, just a couple of minutes of elegant synths. The epic closing trilogy of 'Dreams of Dreams Denied I-III' opens with beautiful guitar riffs and a sad, purring backdrop. It dissolves in a deep sea of sub-aquatic noise then gives way to a classic Neu! beat and dies out in a wave of synths and throbbing, pulsing deep sounds. Mag - Amplitude pulses with life all the way through, like a window seat on an excellent journey. DRUM MEDIA The whole instrumental/'noise' sub-section often gets caught up in its own self-reflection. What is likeable about this Melbourne duo is while building beautifully layered music they leave enough stillness and space for you to lose yourself in it as it unfolds. They also have a sense of melody many other lack and in their collection of vintage synths and machines that go 'ping', their noise has nods to to things like '80s electro marvels Orchestral Manoeuvres and such. Worth investigation from many angles. VITAL WEEKLY ...The music they play is largely based on cosmos - not in the new age sense of the word, but in the cosmic sense of the word. Lots of arpeggio's from their keyboards, bouncing, jumping around, small melodies and that always ticking rhythm - the motor of krautrock. But Constant Light is a bit more than just another cosmic band. On 'Mag-Amplititude' we find also traces of electro-pop - even when it all stays instrumental - and very occasionally a bit of noise. Those are however small excursions, as the main road leads them to the sky, to the cosmos, and to the sequencer driven motoriks. Think Neu meets Cluster. ... Very nice. [FdW] CYCLIC DEFROST Living in the UK during the tail end of the nineties, I was a regular attendee of a night called Kosmiche, or as my friends referred to it; the Krautrock Club. Held in a dingy backroom of The Garage in Islington, it was a curious mix of motorik über-rhythms, gothic undercurrents and banging techno for the end of the night when everybody was lagered up. This curious insight into my misspent twenties serves a purpose, mind – the debut album from Melbourne’s Constant Light would be on high rotation at the Krautrock Club, providing the essential ingredients that a Saturday night indie-tinged bacchanalia demands. A percentage of those ingredients spell out ROLAND, with a coruscating Juno-60 synth and 606 Drum Machine providing the rhythmic backbone for the majority of the tracks. Arpeggios rise and fall, synths pulse, psychedelic guitars melt yr brain and melodica soothes the whole lot down before another shot to the moon. What more could you want from a Saturday night? For fans of Spacemen 3 / Spectrum, Suicide, Neu!, Harmonia, Stereolab, et al., Constant Light repositions the international metronomic underground to a southerly latitude. Has Conny’s studio moved to Collingwood? Quite possibly, given the temper and intent of the sounds contained within Mag-Amplitude. Three-part odyssey ‘Dreams of Dreams Denied’ balances Spaghetti Western beginnings with a motorik, ‘driving-down-the-freeway-with-the-roof-open’ middle section and a delicious slide into the Klaus Schulze-like glacial synths and bass pulses of the third movement. Opener ‘I/O’ drones to infinity with lashings of ecstatic bliss and rapturous distortion, whilst ‘Factory Floor’ fits right into the now sound of the eternal eighties revival. I can almost imagine the pre-Summer of Love dance floor of Manchester’s Hacienda nightclub heaving to this one, or bringing it into the contemporary milieu, being mixed into a podcast for the Blackest Ever Black label. On Mag-Amplitude the duo of Sasha Margolis and James Dean channel their experimental, popular and hypnotic qualities showcased on Observations 1 into a potent blend of rhythmic imperatives. With roots firmly planted in the music of the freewheeling Germanic 1970s, the forlorn, rainy 80s and 90s indie-psychedelia, Constant Light take it to the other side and return, without an OD catastrophe in sight, which is pretty good going for a Saturday night. Plug into their endless pulse and drive, just drive!  - Oliver Laing MESS & NOISE There’s something hermetically sealed about Constant Light, the Melbourne duo of James Dean and Sasha Margolis. Their instrumental forays into experimental pop, drone, and ambient are meticulous and often austere, not seeming to show much interest in the world outside their arcane gear and influences. Sharing tracks via Bandcamp since the start of 2010, the duo has charted a path from minimalism and Steve Reich worship to sleek kosmische grooves and more tangible guitar-pop. Following a swath of free downloads and a sold-out 3” CD-R came the collection Observations/1, which closed with a cover of Suicide’s ‘Dream Baby Dream’ featuring a rare vocal turn from the band. Constant Light considers Mag – Amplitude its debut album, and while it’s not a huge departure from Observations/1, it is more unified. That’s because nearly half the album’s running time is consumed by the three-part composition ‘Dreams of Dreams Denied’. Like the tracks preceding it, that creation is quietly chameleonic, shifting subtly enough that we often only notice the change in scenery once it’s behind us. That combination of hypnotic layering and intuitive variation first surfaces on ‘I/O’, which stacks an urgent pulse, looming distortion, and a warm synth sheen until they all seem to be humming in unison. It’s strangely melodic, the more prominent moments of organ and guitar recalling the drone side of Yo La Tengo. There’s a nice mingling of mechanical coldness and human warmth, and there’s no mistaking the industrial connotations of the following ‘Factory Floor’. It’s spooky, with a ticking drum machine and looped synth melody leading to prolonged guitar fuzz and other tense touches. After about eight minutes, certain elements take flight while a jittery network continues to work diligently beneath. The two-minute ‘Ice on Glass’ then feels like an old synth score, a bit like the stuff John Carpenter dreamed up in his prime. It grows steadily more cosmic, only to fade out before evolving further. ‘Dreams of Dreams Denied I’ is something else altogether, birthing acoustic guitar from static in a way that nods to Flying Saucer Attack. From there it’s hushed, dreamy atmosphere until things get more dynamic as the second part kicks in. Andre Fazio (YIS) guests on live drums as the track re-imagines instrumental pop as an endless groove. Its third and final transformation incites more ambience and layering, finishing a quest through all of Constant Light’s sweet spots. There’s a circular nature to what the duo does, with specific themes departing and inevitably recurring. Dean and Margolis are impressive structural architects, seeming to build their compositions inwards and outwards at the same time. The more and more intricate something gets, the more space it’s given to blossom and expand.  - Doug Wallen

MAG - AMPLITUDE (Constant Light album)

MUSIQUE MACHINE
Second Language Records presents Mag - Amplitude by sonic experimentalists Constant Light. The Australian duo of Sasha Margolis and James Dean present a follow up to their well received Observations/1. If you can imagine taking Krautrock cranked through the grinder of the early 80’s Manchester scene, then brighten it up with some contemporary synth pop/dream pop (ala Stereolab), add a pinch of noise and you might begin to approximate the Constant Light sound.

The opening track on Mag - Amplitude “I/O” starts with a strong bass line that layers with repetitive synth pulses and warm keys that drone on for nearly the entirety of this 10 minute track. There’s something oddly familiar with this jam. Strangely this track reminds me of Joy Division’s “Atmosphere” if you bumped up the speed and tempo and made it cheerier and uplifting rather than somber. “Factory Floor” follows in the opening track’s synthy goodness, offering another 10 minutes of drum machine beats and shifting futuristic keyboards colliding with fuzzed out guitar. The penultimate track “Ice Glass” is a 2 minute jam of what sounds like an electronic harpsichord.

The first three tracks are only, but a prelude to the epic 3 part opus “Dreams of Dreams Denied I-III.” After listening to the first 3 synth heavy tracks, I was taken back a bit by the near acoustic jam on part I. Electro acoustic guitar, harmonica, sorta vocals, live drums, all shrouded in an airy atmosphere carry through to part II. Part II is a 5 minute shoe-gazey fuzz pop jam and then we come full circle to more familiar territory with part III. Part III closes things out on happier tidings with an ambient synth jam. I can almost imagine the duo jamming out to this track with perma grin in some smoky little club, just transfixed by the tunes they’re filling the atmosphere with.

I have to admit while I wasn’t initially enamored by Mag - Amplitude, they won me over by disc’s end. It’s a nice mixture of familiar sounds, that’s surprisingly refreshing. Another fine showing by this Australian duo that got me hook, line, and sinker.
 - Hal Harmon

WAS IST DAS
Melbourne's Constant Light make a globe-trotting sound that takes in influences from Krautrock (particularly the Neu! beat), Factory Records, OMD and even a bit of noise in there. Buzzing along tightly, the opener 'I/O encapsulates all of the above, with a deep throbbing bassline, motoric beat, melodic keyboards and then slowly building walls of noise.

It's like they have these three sides to them: melody, rhythm and noise. Each of the songs on here encapsulates these elements (if you count tracks 4 - 6 as one track, they do share a name). Factory Floor chugs along on the root beat with sweeping atmospheric keyboards and after about five minutes fuzzing guitars begin to roar along with it, finally almost engulfing it around the ten minute mark.

'Ice On Glass' is the shortest track, just a couple of minutes of elegant synths. The epic closing trilogy of 'Dreams of Dreams Denied I-III' opens with beautiful guitar riffs and a sad, purring backdrop. It dissolves in a deep sea of sub-aquatic noise then gives way to a classic Neu! beat and dies out in a wave of synths and throbbing, pulsing deep sounds.

Mag - Amplitude pulses with life all the way through, like a window seat on an excellent journey.

DRUM MEDIA
The whole instrumental/'noise' sub-section often gets caught up in its own self-reflection. What is likeable about this Melbourne duo is while building beautifully layered music they leave enough stillness and space for you to lose yourself in it as it unfolds. They also have a sense of melody many other lack and in their collection of vintage synths and machines that go 'ping', their noise has nods to to things like '80s electro marvels Orchestral Manoeuvres and such. Worth investigation from many angles.

VITAL WEEKLY
...The music they play is largely based on cosmos - not in the new age sense of the word, but in the cosmic sense of the word. Lots of arpeggio's from their keyboards, bouncing, jumping around, small melodies and that always ticking rhythm - the motor of krautrock. But Constant Light is a bit more than just another cosmic band. On 'Mag-Amplititude' we find also traces of electro-pop - even when it all stays instrumental - and very occasionally a bit of noise. Those are however small excursions, as the main road leads them to the sky, to the cosmos, and to the sequencer driven motoriks. Think Neu meets Cluster. ... Very nice. [FdW]

CYCLIC DEFROST
Living in the UK during the tail end of the nineties, I was a regular attendee of a night called Kosmiche, or as my friends referred to it; the Krautrock Club. Held in a dingy backroom of The Garage in Islington, it was a curious mix of motorik über-rhythms, gothic undercurrents and banging techno for the end of the night when everybody was lagered up. This curious insight into my misspent twenties serves a purpose, mind – the debut album from Melbourne’s Constant Light would be on high rotation at the Krautrock Club, providing the essential ingredients that a Saturday night indie-tinged bacchanalia demands. A percentage of those ingredients spell out ROLAND, with a coruscating Juno-60 synth and 606 Drum Machine providing the rhythmic backbone for the majority of the tracks. Arpeggios rise and fall, synths pulse, psychedelic guitars melt yr brain and melodica soothes the whole lot down before another shot to the moon. What more could you want from a Saturday night?

For fans of Spacemen 3 / Spectrum, Suicide, Neu!, Harmonia, Stereolab, et al., Constant Light repositions the international metronomic underground to a southerly latitude. Has Conny’s studio moved to Collingwood? Quite possibly, given the temper and intent of the sounds contained within Mag-Amplitude. Three-part odyssey ‘Dreams of Dreams Denied’ balances Spaghetti Western beginnings with a motorik, ‘driving-down-the-freeway-with-the-roof-open’ middle section and a delicious slide into the Klaus Schulze-like glacial synths and bass pulses of the third movement. Opener ‘I/O’ drones to infinity with lashings of ecstatic bliss and rapturous distortion, whilst ‘Factory Floor’ fits right into the now sound of the eternal eighties revival. I can almost imagine the pre-Summer of Love dance floor of Manchester’s Hacienda nightclub heaving to this one, or bringing it into the contemporary milieu, being mixed into a podcast for the Blackest Ever Black label.

On Mag-Amplitude the duo of Sasha Margolis and James Dean channel their experimental, popular and hypnotic qualities showcased on Observations 1 into a potent blend of rhythmic imperatives. With roots firmly planted in the music of the freewheeling Germanic 1970s, the forlorn, rainy 80s and 90s indie-psychedelia, Constant Light take it to the other side and return, without an OD catastrophe in sight, which is pretty good going for a Saturday night. Plug into their endless pulse and drive, just drive!
 - Oliver Laing

MESS & NOISE
There’s something hermetically sealed about Constant Light, the Melbourne duo of James Dean and Sasha Margolis. Their instrumental forays into experimental pop, drone, and ambient are meticulous and often austere, not seeming to show much interest in the world outside their arcane gear and influences. Sharing tracks via Bandcamp since the start of 2010, the duo has charted a path from minimalism and Steve Reich worship to sleek kosmische grooves and more tangible guitar-pop. Following a swath of free downloads and a sold-out 3” CD-R came the collection Observations/1, which closed with a cover of Suicide’s ‘Dream Baby Dream’ featuring a rare vocal turn from the band.

Constant Light considers Mag – Amplitude its debut album, and while it’s not a huge departure from Observations/1, it is more unified. That’s because nearly half the album’s running time is consumed by the three-part composition ‘Dreams of Dreams Denied’. Like the tracks preceding it, that creation is quietly chameleonic, shifting subtly enough that we often only notice the change in scenery once it’s behind us. That combination of hypnotic layering and intuitive variation first surfaces on ‘I/O’, which stacks an urgent pulse, looming distortion, and a warm synth sheen until they all seem to be humming in unison. It’s strangely melodic, the more prominent moments of organ and guitar recalling the drone side of Yo La Tengo.

There’s a nice mingling of mechanical coldness and human warmth, and there’s no mistaking the industrial connotations of the following ‘Factory Floor’. It’s spooky, with a ticking drum machine and looped synth melody leading to prolonged guitar fuzz and other tense touches. After about eight minutes, certain elements take flight while a jittery network continues to work diligently beneath. The two-minute ‘Ice on Glass’ then feels like an old synth score, a bit like the stuff John Carpenter dreamed up in his prime. It grows steadily more cosmic, only to fade out before evolving further.

‘Dreams of Dreams Denied I’ is something else altogether, birthing acoustic guitar from static in a way that nods to Flying Saucer Attack. From there it’s hushed, dreamy atmosphere until things get more dynamic as the second part kicks in. Andre Fazio (YIS) guests on live drums as the track re-imagines instrumental pop as an endless groove. Its third and final transformation incites more ambience and layering, finishing a quest through all of Constant Light’s sweet spots.

There’s a circular nature to what the duo does, with specific themes departing and inevitably recurring. Dean and Margolis are impressive structural architects, seeming to build their compositions inwards and outwards at the same time. The more and more intricate something gets, the more space it’s given to blossom and expand.
 - Doug Wallen

Observations/1 (Constant Light compilation) CYCLIC DEFROST Constant Light are a really unique Melbourne duo creating experimental minimal music with lots of space. Their music is dreamy, krautrock influenced, quite repetitive and mostly instrumental, with drum machines and droning synths, bubbling atmospheres and elongated loops. Many of us first heard them via the excellent Iceage label compilation of last year Shape of Sound Vol.1, but this collection really expands upon their palette, offering up a band who have a unique ability to create really beautiful lush and hypnotic music, yet also retain an experimental edge, either via structure or a few difficult sounds thrown into the mix. You can hear elements of everyone from Budd and Eno to Vangelis in these sounds if you wish to. It’s the work of Sasha Margolis who was previously part of experimental noise band Y35.5 and also Automating, as well as James Dean who helms Electric Sound Studios. This isn’t an album per se, rather it’s a collection of newly remixed material they produced and released in 2010 on miniature cds as well as the aforementioned piece from The Shape of Sound as well as three previously unreleased works, including a Suicide cover, the only track featuring vocals, and probably the weakest track here, shattering the mood they had so effortlessly created. So even though it’s not an album, it fits together beautifully (aside from the Suicide track), and it’s the kind of music that just washes over you, these beautiful ambient drifts, experiential music where your consciousness is affected but you barely remember you’re even listening to music. Beautiful.  - Bob Baker Fish DREAMLAND RECORDINGS Constant Light are a duo comprising James Dean (no it is not a coincidence) and Sasha Margolis; operator of Second Language Records and one of the hardest working musical pariahs in Melbourne. Having been active for a number of years in a number of guises (Automating, Spitfire Parade, Salivation Army, and Y35.3 to name a few) each one of these projects produced quality sound works, that for the most part remain/ed under the radar. In Constant Light, the two have found a common interest in drones, krautrock, synthesizers and organs, teaming up to create pulsing rhythmic sound scapes comprised mainly of layered Acetone, Farfisa and guitar. The appeal lays in their clever ability to treat their source components to such a degree as to render the original instrumentation almost non existent. Dean’s mastering and production experience ensures they hit the senses with full sonic impact, walking the tightrope between lush and abrasive but never uncomfortable. Having listened to the album several times seated and motionless, it was not until hearing it on a long car journey that it really took off, with the stabbing repetitive organ lines and pulses greatly enhancing the linear nature of driving. A special mention must go to the finale, a very Australian cover of Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream” displaying a cheeky irreverence to which I believe Alan Vega would give the thumbs up. Although only active since the beginning of 2010, they have amassed a sizeable recorded output of mainly limited editions, downloads and compilation tracks (the majority of which comprises this album), and besides their recordings, the duo are a formidable live entity, often performing in line-ups of varying numbers of two to five members and audiovisual projections. Krautrock no loner reigns supreme on the road, Constant Light are the new soundtrack for cars. 8/10.  - Zac Keiller. CHROMATIC FIELDS There are a lot of artists these days riding the minimalist/experimental wave, as if through lack of musical aptitude they have clamored onto a genre that is loose in definition but often fall short of true artistic ability. Then there is Constant Light, an act from Melbourne Australia that have a veracious appetite for well crafted [for the most part] instrumentals often lacking in today's underground music scene. Observations/1 is a compilation album of tracks from several short run E.P.s released by Second Language Records. The album is driven by its repetitive melodic hooks that are infused through each track. With such a dazzling display of musicianship and songwriting dexterity this album is by far one of the best releases to come out of Australia for quite some time.

Observations/1 (Constant Light compilation)

CYCLIC DEFROST
Constant Light are a really unique Melbourne duo creating experimental minimal music with lots of space. Their music is dreamy, krautrock influenced, quite repetitive and mostly instrumental, with drum machines and droning synths, bubbling atmospheres and elongated loops. Many of us first heard them via the excellent Iceage label compilation of last year Shape of Sound Vol.1, but this collection really expands upon their palette, offering up a band who have a unique ability to create really beautiful lush and hypnotic music, yet also retain an experimental edge, either via structure or a few difficult sounds thrown into the mix. You can hear elements of everyone from Budd and Eno to Vangelis in these sounds if you wish to.
It’s the work of Sasha Margolis who was previously part of experimental noise band Y35.5 and also Automating, as well as James Dean who helms Electric Sound Studios. This isn’t an album per se, rather it’s a collection of newly remixed material they produced and released in 2010 on miniature cds as well as the aforementioned piece from The Shape of Sound as well as three previously unreleased works, including a Suicide cover, the only track featuring vocals, and probably the weakest track here, shattering the mood they had so effortlessly created. So even though it’s not an album, it fits together beautifully (aside from the Suicide track), and it’s the kind of music that just washes over you, these beautiful ambient drifts, experiential music where your consciousness is affected but you barely remember you’re even listening to music. Beautiful.
 - Bob Baker Fish

DREAMLAND RECORDINGS
Constant Light are a duo comprising James Dean (no it is not a coincidence) and Sasha Margolis; operator of Second Language Records and one of the hardest working musical pariahs in Melbourne. Having been active for a number of years in a number of guises (Automating, Spitfire Parade, Salivation Army, and Y35.3 to name a few) each one of these projects produced quality sound works, that for the most part remain/ed under the radar.
In Constant Light, the two have found a common interest in drones, krautrock, synthesizers and organs, teaming up to create pulsing rhythmic sound scapes comprised mainly of layered Acetone, Farfisa and guitar. The appeal lays in their clever ability to treat their source components to such a degree as to render the original instrumentation almost non existent. Dean’s mastering and production experience ensures they hit the senses with full sonic impact, walking the tightrope between lush and abrasive but never uncomfortable. Having listened to the album several times seated and motionless, it was not until hearing it on a long car journey that it really took off, with the stabbing repetitive organ lines and pulses greatly enhancing the linear nature of driving.
A special mention must go to the finale, a very Australian cover of Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream” displaying a cheeky irreverence to which I believe Alan Vega would give the thumbs up.
Although only active since the beginning of 2010, they have amassed a sizeable recorded output of mainly limited editions, downloads and compilation tracks (the majority of which comprises this album), and besides their recordings, the duo are a formidable live entity, often performing in line-ups of varying numbers of two to five members and audiovisual projections.
Krautrock no loner reigns supreme on the road, Constant Light are the new soundtrack for cars. 8/10.
 - Zac Keiller.

CHROMATIC FIELDS
There are a lot of artists these days riding the minimalist/experimental wave, as if through lack of musical aptitude they have clamored onto a genre that is loose in definition but often fall short of true artistic ability. Then there is Constant Light, an act from Melbourne Australia that have a veracious appetite for well crafted [for the most part] instrumentals often lacking in today's underground music scene. Observations/1 is a compilation album of tracks from several short run E.P.s released by Second Language Records. The album is driven by its repetitive melodic hooks that are infused through each track. With such a dazzling display of musicianship and songwriting dexterity this album is by far one of the best releases to come out of Australia for quite some time.

FIVE BY FIVE (Constant Light EP) MONSTER DELICIOSA Five by Five is the first release by new Melbourne group Constant Light, a duo featuring Sasha Margolis of Automating, Y35.3, The Salivation Army, and Spitfire Parade, and James Dean of Tugboat. The two tracks that make up this release consist of pulsing organs and delicately strummed guitars that swirl around in your ears like debris washing upon a beach where two former lovers reflect upon their doomed relationship but know they will still always be friends.  It is available in a limited edition of 20 3″ CDRs, you can order a physical copy for $5 and/or it is also available as a lossless quality digital download here.  - Grant Hunter

FIVE BY FIVE (Constant Light EP)

MONSTER DELICIOSA
Five by Five is the first release by new Melbourne group Constant Light, a duo featuring Sasha Margolis of Automating, Y35.3, The Salivation Army, and Spitfire Parade, and James Dean of Tugboat. The two tracks that make up this release consist of pulsing organs and delicately strummed guitars that swirl around in your ears like debris washing upon a beach where two former lovers reflect upon their doomed relationship but know they will still always be friends.  It is available in a limited edition of 20 3″ CDRs, you can order a physical copy for $5 and/or it is also available as a lossless quality digital download here.
 - Grant Hunter

DEATH ON THE EASTERN (Spitfire Parade album) CYCLIC DEFROST Melbourne-based four-piece band Spitfire Parade describe their sound as “electronically enhanced Ballardian drone-punk”, and this latest independent release ‘Death On The Eastern’ follows on from several other Bandcamp releases over the past year and a half, the most recent being 2009′s ‘Now’ remix collection. When I listened to the intro track here, ‘Slaughterhouse Of Failure’, which opens from what sounds like a stolen answering machine sample of an elderly relative leaving a message about dinner, only for buzzing, ‘mock-inspirational’ analogue synths and ascending metallic guitar solos to suddenly lock in around samples of a motivational religious speaker [in 'This Time'], the first associations triggered here for me were early nineties Sydney electro-punk pranksters Mr Floppy. Indeed, the punky, deliberately primitivist [‘Seconds’] certainly calls to mind at least a few flashbacks to Mr. Floppy’s classic ‘Homebrew’, with its yelled, thuggy vocals and Suicide-style blur of cheap drum machine rhythms, but in this case, it’s more a Buzzcocks meets Primal Scream circa ‘Xtrminator’ vibe that Spitfire Parade are really going for.  There’s certainly an impressive amount of lateral experimentation going on amongst this album’s comparatively brief 36 minute running time, ranging from ‘Rattlesnake’s jagged fusion of free-jazz horn bursts, sinuous post-punk bass figures and chaotically manipulated samples, through to ‘Heatwave’s virtual car chase theme, which even manages to throw a mass of video game-style police sirens beneath the trip-hammer drum machines and Mission Of Burma-style punky vocal hooks, and ‘When I Get Home’s moody flameout of Joy Division-esque guitar noise and tribal programmed rhythms. While the references are often easily to pinpoint here though, in this case it’s the quality of the songs themselves that really counts, making Spitfire Parade considerably more than just another in the seemingly endless wave of post-punk centred acts operating these days. It’s also well worth mentioning the gorgeous packaging on the handmade CDR release, which features an opaque multi-leveled sleeve constructed using onion-skin paper and transparency.   - Chris Downton 

DEATH ON THE EASTERN (Spitfire Parade album)

CYCLIC DEFROST
Melbourne-based four-piece band Spitfire Parade describe their sound as “electronically enhanced Ballardian drone-punk”, and this latest independent release ‘Death On The Eastern’ follows on from several other Bandcamp releases over the past year and a half, the most recent being 2009′s ‘Now’ remix collection. When I listened to the intro track here, ‘Slaughterhouse Of Failure’, which opens from what sounds like a stolen answering machine sample of an elderly relative leaving a message about dinner, only for buzzing, ‘mock-inspirational’ analogue synths and ascending metallic guitar solos to suddenly lock in around samples of a motivational religious speaker [in 'This Time'], the first associations triggered here for me were early nineties Sydney electro-punk pranksters Mr Floppy. Indeed, the punky, deliberately primitivist [‘Seconds’] certainly calls to mind at least a few flashbacks to Mr. Floppy’s classic ‘Homebrew’, with its yelled, thuggy vocals and Suicide-style blur of cheap drum machine rhythms, but in this case, it’s more a Buzzcocks meets Primal Scream circa ‘Xtrminator’ vibe that Spitfire Parade are really going for. 

There’s certainly an impressive amount of lateral experimentation going on amongst this album’s comparatively brief 36 minute running time, ranging from ‘Rattlesnake’s jagged fusion of free-jazz horn bursts, sinuous post-punk bass figures and chaotically manipulated samples, through to ‘Heatwave’s virtual car chase theme, which even manages to throw a mass of video game-style police sirens beneath the trip-hammer drum machines and Mission Of Burma-style punky vocal hooks, and ‘When I Get Home’s moody flameout of Joy Division-esque guitar noise and tribal programmed rhythms. While the references are often easily to pinpoint here though, in this case it’s the quality of the songs themselves that really counts, making Spitfire Parade considerably more than just another in the seemingly endless wave of post-punk centred acts operating these days. It’s also well worth mentioning the gorgeous packaging on the handmade CDR release, which features an opaque multi-leveled sleeve constructed using onion-skin paper and transparency. 
 - Chris Downton 

TIME FORWARD (Spitfire Parade EP)  MESS & NOISE The name of this band would suggest an anglophile bent – whether referring to the famous WWII fighter plane, the classic Triumph sportscar, the 1966 BSA motorbike or the 10 Royal Navy ships that bore the moniker Spitfire. A casual listen to their music might even bear this out, with its nods to the British punk of Wire and The Buzzcocks. But as much as ‘Parallel Gram’ – the first track off Spitfire Parade’s new EP Time Forward – spits and snarls with punk energy, buzzsaw guitars and a hyperactive rhythm, the vocal is curiously at odds with its skip-hop phrasing and parochial accent. Not that I have anything against Australian rap – I just didn’t expect it. Full marks to the band for putting their most atypical song first on a CD though.  Full marks also for the spray-painted, collaged cardboard covers. Spitfire Parade’s hands-on approach to artwork reflects the DIY spirit of their music. This band is clearly not in it for money or fame, but for the sheer love of making a racket and writing streamlined power-pop nuggets that burst with melodic hooks. Much of this is due to the combination of driving guitar and drums that appear to be played over the top of a drum machine beat; a neat trick that harks back to mid-’80s production techniques, but is generally shunned by today’s retro rockers.  The prominent melody lines are supplied by a wheedling analogue synthesizer, played in the classic one-finger style. On songs like ‘Acid Tongue’ and ‘Saw Her Around’ they exhibit inner-city post-punk tones that would have been right at home on the Dogs In Space soundtrack.  The stand-out track, however, is ‘Mint Edition’, which has hit single written all over it. With its see-sawing bass line and killer sing-along chorus, “Last night I dreamed/I held you in my arms/You were big and strong/Protecting me from harm”, this song is a dance floor filler if ever I’ve heard one. It provides a tantalising glimpse of Spitfire Parade’s considerable pop nous before they careen down a different road again on the aptly titled closer ‘Steering Wheel’.  There is a fine tradition of songs that evoke the sensation of motoring away on a nighttime road to oblivion, but ‘Steering Wheel’ nails it. A great cyclic guitar riff, unstoppable programmed drum beats and the spectres of Peter Murphy and Stephen Hawking mumbling incoherently in a daze of white-line fever and trucker speed as they plunge ever deeper into the heart of darkness.   - René Schaefer

TIME FORWARD (Spitfire Parade EP)

 MESS & NOISE
The name of this band would suggest an anglophile bent – whether referring to the famous WWII fighter plane, the classic Triumph sportscar, the 1966 BSA motorbike or the 10 Royal Navy ships that bore the moniker Spitfire. A casual listen to their music might even bear this out, with its nods to the British punk of Wire and The Buzzcocks. But as much as ‘Parallel Gram’ – the first track off Spitfire Parade’s new EP Time Forward – spits and snarls with punk energy, buzzsaw guitars and a hyperactive rhythm, the vocal is curiously at odds with its skip-hop phrasing and parochial accent. Not that I have anything against Australian rap – I just didn’t expect it. Full marks to the band for putting their most atypical song first on a CD though. 

Full marks also for the spray-painted, collaged cardboard covers. Spitfire Parade’s hands-on approach to artwork reflects the DIY spirit of their music. This band is clearly not in it for money or fame, but for the sheer love of making a racket and writing streamlined power-pop nuggets that burst with melodic hooks. Much of this is due to the combination of driving guitar and drums that appear to be played over the top of a drum machine beat; a neat trick that harks back to mid-’80s production techniques, but is generally shunned by today’s retro rockers. 

The prominent melody lines are supplied by a wheedling analogue synthesizer, played in the classic one-finger style. On songs like ‘Acid Tongue’ and ‘Saw Her Around’ they exhibit inner-city post-punk tones that would have been right at home on the Dogs In Space soundtrack. 

The stand-out track, however, is ‘Mint Edition’, which has hit single written all over it. With its see-sawing bass line and killer sing-along chorus, “Last night I dreamed/I held you in my arms/You were big and strong/Protecting me from harm”, this song is a dance floor filler if ever I’ve heard one. It provides a tantalising glimpse of Spitfire Parade’s considerable pop nous before they careen down a different road again on the aptly titled closer ‘Steering Wheel’. 

There is a fine tradition of songs that evoke the sensation of motoring away on a nighttime road to oblivion, but ‘Steering Wheel’ nails it. A great cyclic guitar riff, unstoppable programmed drum beats and the spectres of Peter Murphy and Stephen Hawking mumbling incoherently in a daze of white-line fever and trucker speed as they plunge ever deeper into the heart of darkness. 
 - René Schaefer