9th Oct, 2022: Melbourne, Australia: Pterygium, No Guard, DFFDL, Grafted Soma

Started by re:evolution, September 23, 2022, 08:31:00 AM

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Harmony Syndicate presents CLUTCH (featuring Pterygium, No Guard, DFFDL, Grafted Soma)

The Harmony Syndicate is proud to present a new series in heavy electronics, comprising four established and up and coming Victorian artists.

Grafted Soma will be making their debut performance after a long hiatus from recording.

Reduction group label owner and Melbourne sound maker DFFDL will also join the line-up, bringing waves of lush noise ambient.

No Guard will exercise charge with his aggressive, cold and clinical take on power electronics.

Finally Pterygium will display new works from his recent Cloister Recordings album released in January 2022.

$15 - Cash door sales only. Limited capacity.


noise receptor: sound with impact - analysing the abstract

spectrum magazine archive: ambient / industrial / experimental / power electronics / neo-folk music culture magazine

Electro Surgeon



The Harmony Syndicate & Nighthawks presents:

Featuring: Grafted Soma / DFFDL / No Guard / Pterygium
Nighthawks Bar, Collingwood, Melbourne, Australia
09 October, 2022

With a quiet Monday night here, I thought it an opportune to scribe down some impressions of last's nights show, which is as much a part to acknowledge an excellent evening of post-industrial sounds, as well provide a recorded document of local live activities.

Of the four acts slated to play, Grafted Soma kicked things off in the early evening. As a duo, they were armed with one member on a modular synth rack, and the other manning a table of other noise gadgets. Through this equipment, the sound charted a flowing but clearly controlled post-industrial and grit infused dark ambient style. Projected backing footage was noted to be taken from a current affair reporting of an infamous late 1990's serial killing spree in Perth, Australia, where the perpetrator was only caught and convicted in recent years. Although it was far from obvious of whether the set was directly referencing the visuals, the backdrop at least provided suitable visuals to concentrate on as there was minimal stage presence on display. But sonically speaking. Grafted Soma presented a solid and strong start to proceedings.

DFFDL followed next, where I had zero expectations of what was to come. In the end I very much appreciated the 30 odd minute flowing set of melancholic drone / ambient / noise. With a strong and central undercurrent of harmonic noise infused drones, it brought to mind that particular vein of dour yet uplifting melancholia present in Justin Broderick's more ambient works (i.e. Jesu and Pale Sketcher). But rather than sounding as 'songs', DFFDL's, approach was very much more rooted in an underground experimental flow. A surprising and very enjoyable introduction to DFFDL.

No Guard (a solo project), were up next and are a relative newcomer to the Melbourne post-industrial underground. While I am familiar with a self-released tape (issued well over a year ago now - featuring semi-crude Atrax Morgue inspired experimentation), that released paled in comparison to what is now being delivered. Personally I was very surprised by the significant leap forward the project has taken in a relatively short span of time, where tonight's set was framed around a clear set of composed tracks, which were very much of a European Heavy Electronics / Power Electronics type.
The sonic set up involved a rather antique looking modular unit and a slew of pedals, with additional mic and hand held effects unit. With this a controlled yet building set was unleashed, pushing onwards to feedback peaks, coupled with rough vocal barrage, and subsequently moving through to sub-rhythmic death industrial type passages. With a clear intent on a performative aspect to the set, this shone through with both choice of sampling and associated stage presence / gestures. Noting this was a strong showcase of a new project (and I think only the second live performance), it bodes very well to see how the live aspect is honed though greater live experience. A new project to watch it seems.

Headliner Pterygium's live performance is perhaps Australia's best kept post-industrial underground secret. Clearly Henry's recorded works have been catching well deserved attention globally in recent years, but that output bears little resemblance to the 'brute sonic force' live presentation of the project. While fragments of known sonic passages are certainly detectable live, these are both elevated through yet subsumed by the cacophonous barrage of layered distortion. With only fragments of melodious elements peaking through, against the mass of sound Henry spent much of the performance off stage on the floor with a extended mic lead. With physicality being the name of the game, Henry's distorted vocal tirade involved partly confronting the audience, yet in equal measures having a visceral breakdown amongst them. With nothing but 100% commitment on display for the full duration of the set it is clearly gruelling for Henry to perform; and the audience to witness.
This is perhaps the fourth time I have seen Pterygium live and easily the best given the sheer volume and weight of sound given the confined space of the venue. But as the direct opposite of other shows I have seen (which built to a chaotic peak before abruptly cutting out), for the end of the set it gradually fell away into an extended ambient passage; which only  functioned to amplify the intensity of that which preceded it.
In my view Pterygium needs to be seen on international stages, and while I believe there has been prior plans to get overseas to perform, but that was before Covid put a halt to those earlier plans. Now that the Covid cloud has (somewhat) cleared, here's hoping you international folk get to witness Pterygium live at some point soon.

As a final wrap up comment evidently this event under the CLUTCH banner is intended to be an ongoing series of shows. As for this first night it was excellently curated with each project a very distinct approach, which gave a real sense of diversity to the local activities within the post-industrial underground. Looking forward to what future CLUTCH instalments bring to the sonic table.
noise receptor: sound with impact - analysing the abstract

spectrum magazine archive: ambient / industrial / experimental / power electronics / neo-folk music culture magazine