in osborne park no one can hear you scream

gail priest: noizemachin!!, artifactory, thnmf

Mitchell  Mollison, HomeWrecker, NoizeMachin!! #3

Mitchell Mollison, HomeWrecker, NoizeMachin!! #3

Mitchell Mollison, HomeWrecker, NoizeMachin!! #3

AFTER AN EXHILARATING BEGINNING TO THE FESTIVAL WITH SPEAK PERCUSSIONS’ DELICATE AND BRACING INTERPRETATION OF LE NOIR DE L’ETOILE, THE BRAVE AND DEDICATED ONES (OR THOSE WHO COULD FIND A LIFT) JOURNEYED TO THE DEEPEST, DARKEST INDUSTRIAL ZONE OF PERTH—OSBORNE PARK—TO THE ARTIFACTORY, FOR A SONIC ONSLAUGHT IN THE FORM OF NOIZEMACHIN!!

This was the third iteration of NoizeMachin!!, a new series presenting six to eight artists performing for around eight minutes, with the each act transitioning into the next. The first amalgamated set was by one of the event organisers Sam Gillies (also one of the RealTime @THNMF writers), Mitchell Mollison, HomeWrecker, Karl Ford and Anthony Pateras.

Gillies established a comparatively gentle tone with his laptop set: a thick layering of growling purrs peppered with sweeping beeps and dial tones. Moving in and out of the mix, almost subliminal, is a pretty melancholic melodic line. Gillies’ wet flutters transition neatly with Mitchell Mollison’s deep, glitching sinetones, sounding like CPU overload (immediately making this laptopper anxious), but nicely crafted to make angular rhythms. Mollison’s is a patient set with incremental shifts and additions winding down into a just-audible subiness.

HomeWrecker (aka Fur Chick or Clair Pannell) overlaps with a nice sonic and gestural rupture, spinning a metal disc on a miked-up plate. She very quickly transforms the dry rattle via several pedal-punches into a solid chunk of rumble which she tends and adds to with actions like miked-up scissors snipping through cardboard to make rhythms; or small, pretty vocals that are immediately swallowed back into the texture.

Anthony Patera, Karl Ford, NoizeMachin!! #3

Anthony Patera, Karl Ford, NoizeMachin!! #3

Anthony Patera, Karl Ford, NoizeMachin!! #3

Karl Ford enters the sonic picture with deep metallic tones, perfectly pitched to the remains of HomeWrecker’s rumble, elicited from miked and affected turntable beds struck like gongs. These sounds are looped and manipulated to create a curiously meditative industrial music. Anthony Pateras finishes off the set with some heavy ructations, penetrating oscillator pings and crazy glissandi. It’s full to overflowing, but never too much in Pateras’ signature way, ending with a sea of static.

Malcolm Riddoch, NoizeMachin!! #3

Malcolm Riddoch, NoizeMachin!! #3

Malcolm Riddoch, NoizeMachin!! #3

Significant atmosphere was lost as the fluorescent lights were turned on for the changeover, but quickly regained by the second set of Malcolm Riddoch, I.n0jaQ and Christopher de Groot. (A group jam planned at the end was cancelled due to the lateness of the hour.) Riddoch sets a mike up in the space and, working across four speakers, sculpts the feedback into pulsing cycles, pulling overlapping tones closer and closer together until they join in a persistent nasal attack, with deep under-thumping. The final touch is a beautiful glassy flutter making something really complex, perplexing and quite magnificent.

I.n0jaQ, NoizeMachin!! #3

I.n0jaQ, NoizeMachin!! #3

I.n0jaQ, NoizeMachin!! #3

I.n0jaQ then approaches his workstation—a ladder with pedals placed on the steps so that he must climb to activate them. His sound consists of layers of dirty, swirling, granulated feedback issuing from a guitar amp, increasing in volume to the extent that the physical gesture, while intriguing, doesn’t really have a discernible sonic impact. Finally he climbs to the top of the ladder, places a wooden box contraption on his head, from which a cannon ball is suspended, and attempts to activate it, but the sound of the ‘spring reverb cannon’ is also lost in the mix. He concludes by tilting the ladder until he and it topple to the ground leaving us with that sad feedback of a smashed guitar, or ladder in this case.

The dramatic ending of I.n0jaQ and the unfortunate computer crash of Christopher de Groot meant that there wasn’t really a transition between the two acts, but the chime and silence of reboot was a good ear cleaner. With a strong interest in film scoring, de Groot’s work offers a sense of deep perspective within the sonic field; a throbbing bass in the distance, small harsh crescendos of gritty noise in the foreground; and a particularly beautiful sound with the elasticity or shape of a voice, but none of the organic timbre, like an otherworldly siren song or alien opera. A mesmerising finish.

The innovative format for NoizeMachin!! makes for an ever shifting palette of sounds without overloading the audience. I can’t help wondering how satisfying it is for artists to play for only 10 minutes, and I wouldn’t have minded hearing more from some and perhaps some longer transitions. However, overall it’s pacey and never gets the chance to be boring. The performance was also accompanied by a quite dazzling display of laser projections—not just your standard radioactive green, but deep blues, purples and pinks—which while not necessarily enmeshed with the audio, created a sense of dynamism and energy in the space. The venue, The Artifactory, is itself pretty interesting, a warehouse full of gadgets, calling itself a hackerspace—a membership based collective of nerds, noodlers and geeks exploring all manner of electrical wizardry out in the suburbs. For those that way inclined, their workshops, and of course NoizeMachin!!, are definitely worth the trip.

16 September 2011