Second Circle - Diode

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Live Reviews
April 7

It was Saturday night and therefore, I cunningly calculated, the ideal time to get a head-start on the Easter egg hunt – while the local whippersnappers caught their forty winks, not yet arisen to boisterously ransack the environs. I followed a string of rabbit tracks that led me down a coastal trail, to the water’s edge, the inky sky still stained with ghosts of setting sun-light and the shore curling away towards faintly visible docklands and a coal-dark sea. Here I found myself stood before the largest chocolate egg I had ever seen. It emitted a soft scarlet luminance, its tasty walls hardly supporting its own weight, and a door-like aperture was nibbled out of its base. Bested by curiosity, I crawled inside the warm cocoa dome.

They say you can hear the ocean inside shells, and if this eggshell is anything to go by, they’re quite correct: FUR CHICK’s performance commences with the unexpected by deeply pleasant sound of flowing water, captured with contact microphones attached to cups and bottles of fluid. It’s a striking opening, though the fascination of the set doesn’t wane: each new piece is a nonchalantly delivered slice of experimentalism, at times discordant but never repellent. A playful, adventurous ethic is betrayed by a range of offbeat home-made instruments – like a contraption built from a tin box and a slinky. Meanwhile however, the set recalls a classic avant-garde art aesthetic, as per ‘Running With Scissors’ – beginning as spoken word, looped to a crescendo, eventually punctuated by the amplified sound of Fur Chick cutting her own hair and jeans – subtly evoking Yoko Ono’s ‘Cut Piece,’ though with a focus on sounds, not symbols. There are people in Perth playing with loopers and unconventional instruments, but no-one’s doing anything like this; and whether you dig it or nay, a performance like Fur Chick’s will stick in your memory like chocolate on your pearl-white frock.

Just as likely to plant themselves in your brainsoil are the catchy-as-Rex-Hunt melodies of local loop-guitar guru PREDRAG DELIBASICH. Predrag’s tunes are like a game of Jenga – starting with a fundamental base and building in neat, discrete chunks until the eventual tower collapses under its own enormity or until Predrag, being the cheekster he is, sabotages the structure by force, grinning at its brutal demise. The performance comprises reimaginings of songs devised for Predrag’s full band smRts, others that probably always existed in his solo sphere, and some appropriated from elsewhere entirely – like the delightful inclusion of Michael Gallasso’s ‘Blue,’ originally rendered on slippery klezmer strings, converted here to a lullabye-hurricane of trebliscious tremolo. Predrag, equal parts enigmatic and accessible, is always a sweet treat for the ear canal.

Soon the GHOST OF 29 MEGACYCLES oozed down from the ceiling and reformed atop drums, guitars and a big vintage organ, now sporting splendid animal masks to boot. They begin as if submerged: moving in slow motion, and seemingly holding their breath, as a keyboard drone sits heavily on the seabed while hints of dappled-light guitar, silky layered vocal loops and barely-there drums float past. But some minutes later, the guitar suddenly emerges loud, crisp, the drums confident and rhythmic, and it feels as though we’ve broken the surface, sucking in oxygen triumphantly. After that it’s a matter of floating down the current in a shoegazey daze, until finally a wave of fuzz and feedback picks us up and spits us out onto shore. Their sound is a most pleasant one, sat somewhere between the realms of My Bloody Valentine and Stars of the Lid; though if you’re not in the mood for being enveloped by smooth and simple soundscapes, you might grow fatigued, having no lyrical or distinct melodic lines to clutch onto.

Diode were a case of potential not-quite-realized, at least tonight; they had all the right ingredients to conjure up early Sonic Youth, slightly unsteady but with momentum and that indifferent Gordonesque vocal. The set began slightly flat, guitars too quiet, so as to seem apologetic, though this improved, and eventually things were rolling along nicely- perhaps never with as much vigour as the tunes might have warranted. I’d like to see Diode explore more of the ambient territory traversed on their recordings, complemented by a bona fide rock-out when required. Still, this last chunk of easter egg left a pleasant post-punky taste in the audience’s collective mouth.; and the entire evening – being as it was, a treat of appropriately festive proportions, had me sated yet eager for more, as the sweet and scrumptious walls of the Swan melted rich into the midnight cool.

© 2010 Cool Perth Nights | Site by Papercut

Veruca Salt "Very nice, very nice. Reminds me of Sonic Youth (indeed) and Velvet Underground w/Nico. (Is that redundant?) Glad you sing at the top of your lungs to VS when no one's around. ;) Missing Perth...what a gorgeous city. Grand memories. xoxoLouise"
- Myspace comments on Diode by Lousie Post, 2008.


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