As enumerated in our recent exchange with Haul Music's three founders, Melbourne's music scene hasn't been the healthiest of late. In the early '90s, things were different. Like many other cities around the world, Australia's cultural capital was heaving to the newly-discovered sounds of techno, at least in the underground. Derelict warehouses on the waterfront frequently hosted parties, while clubs were able to sustain weekly nights with great success. Filter, for instance, who opened their doors every Wednesday from 1992 to 2003. Post 2000, people seemed to lose faith in the local contingent, leading to sporadic events hosted mainly for international visitors, a milieu echoed in neighbouring Sydney.
Recently, things have been improving though. Young producers like Lewie Day (with his Tornado Wallace alias) and Mic Newman— AKA Fantastic Man—have been gathering fans around the globe, while the Melbourne Deepcast draws more attention to the city. Twenty4 – Part III is further confirmation of the country's Melbourne-led revival—or at the very least, some people's determination to instigate one. Like its two predecessors, the unmixed compilation presents eight tracks from Australian producers.
Deepchild kicks off the proceedings with "Onsen Dramas," a swaying cut peppered with gentle blips and hackneyed, low-pitch vocals. It works well enough though, setting down an early groove. It's probably the easiest piece, with the rest of the collection inclined towards dubbiness or experiment. Mike Buhl's "Record of Discussion" and Craig McWhinney's "M-99," for example, share parallels with Luke Hess and Brian Kage's Reference project. Deep, sloshing chords with a certain touch of Detroit lingering in their folds, that is. Similarly, Fourty6&Two's "Dihedral" ditches garish melodies in favour of an almost frustratingly cloaked arp. Woven behind stomping kicks and surging bass, the reticent cry forces an endless pursuit of the ear, as one might track a constantly-moving bird call through dense forest.
Immediately following, "Rattle" is almost the opposite, seven minutes of unflagging assault. It's the kind of abrasive outing which would usually appear on a label like Sonic Groove. Rather than gargantuan kicks or bass, a mid-range mantra delivers the punch, boring deep into the brain amid scratchy hi-hats and brisk claps. Wisely, the most experimental pieces have been left until last. From Markojux, "On the Run" is a shady dubstep number with intense attention to detail, while Adelaide's Phildo proffers "Unsound," a sinister and unsettling piece of glitchiness. Veteran DJ Mike Callander closes the release with the intruigingly titled "6.5 Minutes With a Hand On It." Again, the dub influence is strong, but the structure less continuum-like, lurching frequently between processed drum hits, insistent clicks and murky bass.
Tracklist: Various Artists - Twenty4: Part III01. Deepchild - Onsen Dramas
02. Forty6&Two - Dihedral
03. Hargin - Rattle
04. Mike Buhl - Record Of Discussion
05. Markojux - On The Run
06. Craig McWhinney - M-99
07. Phildo - Unsound
08. Mike Callander - 6.5 Minutes With A Hand On