I was going to collectively pan everything this week out of venerance to this new AIYA song but then D.D Dumbo dropped Walrus and that obviously changed the tone. A D.D Dumbo release week is effectively a birthday here at Slod Doctrine, no expenses spared and an inordinate amount of cleaning up afterwards but settle down over there, not everything is about dee dee. As it stands I’m four of the nine plays this song has had but it’s been out a casual 31 minutes only. Like the two songs that’ve come prior, Girl is characterized by spacious production, the layer assigned to each sound padded in its own silence so that no frequency interrupts any other. Call it crystalline but call it agitated in the same breath, the rhythm a collection of thrusts and jerks, ripped and pulled in different directions with incredible grace.
The duo haven’t released anything in over a year (unless you count this single on MY OWN charity compilation, and you should – BOOYAH) but there are reports of overseas players both tastemaker and monied paying real attention here. As well they should too, this is one of the more interesting records of the year, domestically or otherwise.
This next Katie Dey record is shaping up to be something spectacular. She’s released two singles so far and while remarkably different from each other, they’ve both demonstrated her capacity to bend sounds into new and exciting shapes. Katie Dey is a deep internet enigma, present via her social channels but in terms of a narrative or a personal identity, not much is known. It’s a pretty rare moment in time that sees an artist without a clear angle, still receiving editorial coverage across the board. Of course that happens fairly frequently when we’re talking about crossover hits but with young, newish artists, a big part of the press game is giving writers a story to tell. In some sense the story is that there is no story, there’s just the music. That’s pretty terrifying if you’re a sound doc loyalist because you’ll be all too aware that I’ll write about anything but the music. Is the artist wearing a hat in their press shot? LET’S DISCUSS. Even now I’m finding new and embarrassing ways of avoiding any real discussion of the song.
I should clarify which song we’re talking about shouldn’t I. It’s the second single from her new album Flood Network. The song is called ‘fear o the light’ and in some ways its a mirror to ‘fear o the dark’ from her debut album asdfasdf. The both have similar vocal treatments but ‘fear o the dark’ felt scared and fragile while ‘fear o the light’ feels bold and buoyant. It still feels mired in the same sad wistfulness but it’s bigger and has these wonderful vocal crescendos which you should definitely not try to sing along with. I can personally attest that the results are horrifying.
Here’s ‘fear o the light’, the first single from forthcoming album Flood Network (out August 12) as well as the even more recently released ‘only to trip and fall down again’ which is something else entirely. I love the way it’s been produced, so clever and so simple but with so much dynamic. So, so, so.
I heard the new Allday song on the radio last night and it sounded a whole lot like the man was trying to make inroads on the US, washing out his accent a little and pushing for a tougher new sound overall. In his post-play interview he seemed tense, a little worried that fans wouldn’t like his new sound. “If you hate it, don’t worry there’ll be more like my old stuff” he assured. It makes good sense though, rip out a few singles that will appeal to the US market on the back of the press opportunities he’s already had over there and the rest of the record with an angle for the domestic. You absolutely can’t blame him, that feels like smart strategy. Christopher Port looks at that binary manouever however, and he scoffs. He’s making records that simultaneously appeal to a UK market and a domestic market because they’re just too strong to be geographically locked. There’re big globs of UK garage that have been pawed around in Melbourne through 2015/2016 and strokes of footwork to boot. These songs though, they’re unchainable, untameable and demand that no leg remain static during their delivery. He dropped a brace of tracks through Melbourne’s Pieater before giving us an early listen of the whole EP which, as of today, is out. Get a copy of it right’ere.
Here’s one of the EP tracks featuring Airling on the hook. The flow of her vocals perfectly compliment those chopped vocal samples and pumped up drum loops. Also shoutouts to Porty’s own vocal on this one, in nice dialogue with Airling’s own. Below you’ll also grab a special Sound Doctrine only bonus listen of a song called ‘Even’ just so as you know that the man affectionately known as ‘Seaport’ bangs hard.
Friends, there are dark moments when I wonder if Sound Doctrine is dead. Has it long since reached its apex? Are we at the far side of a bell curve, graphically demonstrating the rise and fall of Australia’s most virile digital metalyricist? It gets to feel that way sometimes, and truly I wouldn’t blame you if you felt the same, but I’ll stop you there. Moments like these, like this one now, remind me why SD can never die. I’ve got a little something from Melbourne based Indian classical/electronic musician Shūnya, whose tracks were addressed by the great guest selecta Reggie Maurice two years past. This new one he’s composed is one of a series he’s released (simply onto soundcloud) in the last few months that dispenses with some the heavier beats that have featured on his past tracks and opts for breathier soundscapes, tracks that ebb and flow around peppered instruments. All manner of sounds gently bubble to the surface, slowly but seemingly without direction, rising through the simmering waters of the track.
Give me more Shūnya in the dark governmentless times, give me more Shūnya in this deep, cold Melbourne Winter. I’m all for more artists whose output feels this organic and natural, not just in its sonic qualities but also in its manner of delivery. Shūnya isn’t a project for the fame-frenzied, it’s just a collection of sounds that make sense to the artist in a given moment. Thankfully they’re making a lot of sense to me and mine too.
Driven by that slow, comfortable bass line, ‘Plaza’ is one of the more unassuming songs to come across my desk/dropbox this year. It’s a conceptual package buried within the simplicity of Lee’s voice and his simple, elegant production. “HOLD ON THERE TOMMY. Who is Lee and how bout you start at the beginning for once?” That’s a fair criticism, I’ll take that. I’ve not gone about this well.
That Lee I mentioned is actually Lee Hannah whose earlier project The Townhouses you may recall, one of the formative signings to the now defunct Sydney label Yes Please. With the Townhouses laid to rest, Hannah founded a label called Healthy Tapes which continues to produce immaculate cassettes containing rereleases and brand new records both. Earlier this year he assumed his third and ultimate form, that of Sessility. Under that guise, he released a collaborative split releases with the inimitable Yeo including what might be my all time favourite take of Bieber’s ‘What Do You Mean?’ (maybe even including the 80s edit. I KNOW.) So that’s Lee Hannah, that’s Sessility, that’s what you need to know and now you’re fulling equipped to receive these noises in your ears.
Today Sessility releases ‘Plaza’, the first single from his forthcoming EP that will feature further collaborations with Yeo and Kira Puru. Lovely piano lines and that aforementioned bass line couple with Lee’s leisurely voice and suddenly it’s 1am and I’m in a sparsely populated Tokyo lounge bar. It’s as smooth as a lake but melancholy in its minor-key, relational sadness. “Well I’ve been feeling down and I’ve been selfish”
Self-loathing surely must be the hardest sort of sadness to cope with right? Where does one go when they’re disappointed by their own self. If you live in Melbourne then probably Revolver at 3am. Yeesh. At least then you’ll be disappointed by some other people at the same time. Nonetheless, there’s a real self-battling sadness here that speaks of the emotional labour that we give to our loved ones. Hear the song, buy the shirt, purchase the ticket to see Sessility at Margaret Court and give yourself a pat on the back. You’re alright.