Hangar 03: Primitive Motion + Faspeedelay + Ghost Notes @ The Waiting Room, Brisbane 09.03.13
By Bek Moore
As I arrive in the car park, I can hear that I’m missing the start of Ghost Notes’ set. I hightail it up the stairs to get a good spot. I am immediately drawn to the lovely Fender Jag and its extensive pedal box while noticing the driving rhythm section accentuated by a huge Roland 3000. It is somehow both minimalist and explosive simultaneously. Then the trumpet hits a groove that makes me pause and take another look at the band and wonder to myself how I didn’t notice that there was a trumpet player on stage. Recall kicks in – there was trumpet in the previous song but it is now being executed far more adeptly, almost mournful in its delivery.
Someone comments that this could be a film noir soundtrack. It’s atmospheric, providing a live soundscape and sending the brain to long forgotten holidays of childhood. Not to say they sound like an 80s band, just that they are making somewhere in my brain wish I was sitting on a beach with this as the background music. There is no need for vocals, Ghost Notes manage to take you to a place far, far away.
Faspeedelay hit the stage. They sound good recorded (debut album Ghost On The Waterfront is out now), but it certainly hasn’t prepared me for the feast I’m about to be served. First thing I notice is mallets giving the drums a booming, solid sound, guitar with not a single string strummed, just fingers hitting the fret board, stretching and bending notes,all being backed up by strong, melodic bass. But what grabs me is how loud they are. Then the guitar comes in with more force and the wall of noise really begins to be built.
From there it’s straight into the next song – heavier, louder, dirtier, making their first song almost seems laid back by comparison. I keep looking up to see if there is a second guitar. It’s hard to imagine that they are this loud with only three people on stage. There is a healthy amount of feedback and experimentation with sound. Every time you think they have hit a peak and can go no further, they somehow take it up another notch. I’m loving every second of these guys, really wishing I could put my notebook away and just watch the band, but every time I try they hit me with another wave of dissonant yet melodic beauty. Even when they drop into a fairly standard punk/rock riff, my jaw drops in awe at the dynamics and amazing volume.
These guys are amazingly sound-bending wizards. If you have a chance to see them live – particularly at a small venue – bring ear plugs but for God’s sake don’t miss it.
Primitive Motion start their set with the same level of energy but quite a different sound. In some senses they are doing the same thing as Faspeedelay but their approach is diametrically opposed. This is more a feast for the senses, the music worming its way into the cobwebbed corners of your brain rather than a straight out assault of volume. Sandra moves between flute, saxophone and I can see a harmonium or perhaps melodica at her feet. The pace is fast yet dreamy. The drum machine is strong but not overpowering and certainly not a pre-programmed snore fest. The keyboard is some form of naive virtuosity – as is the whole sound.
The set is beautifully put together, technically brilliant and diverse. The vocals add another layer to complete the texturing effect. I’m finding these guys beautifully atmospheric but challenging. I keep closing my eyes to just enjoy the beauty when another soaring riff will force me to open them to see just how they are creating it.
At the end of Faspeedelay, I was sure that Primitive Motion would somehow seem flat in comparison to the pure wall of noise, but in true style they hold their own by turning noise music on its head and presenting it to us in a different way.
This has been a night of playing with sound and song, experimental but structured and beautiful. I depart The Waiting Room with a thousand new ways to create sound crowding my brain.
Faspeedelay photos by Ash J