Grouper – Live Performance Review (16/7/17)  

I saw Grouper last friday at the NGV after viewing the Van Gogh exhibition they had. I wasn’t particularly wowed by the exhibition, but the performance by Grouper was very good.

We sat down on the floor. Grouper sat down on the stage. She had with her a guitar, a microphone and I assume some other things but I couldn’t really see them. Above her were three screens projecting images of people, landscapes, herself, and other scenery. As her playing became more harsh and erratic, the imagery started becoming more distorted, frequent and seizure-inducing (in a good way.)

My eyes weren’t on the projections the whole time though, a lot of the time I was just closing my eyes and letting the music surround me. I think I almost fell asleep a few times (in a good way). Would have been nice to have some bean bags or something though, my legs and neck were killing my by the end of the hour-long set.

As we walked out, we heard others remark that it was ‘transformative’, ‘mediative’ and the such. I didn’t think it was quite that good, but I did enjoy it. I think I enjoy her studio music a bit better, but my girlfriend who was accompanying me remarked that she found the way the music filled up the room to be a lot better. They’re two different experiences, ultimately.

You should definitely check out Grouper’s 2007 album AIA: Alien Observer, and the new singles she’s released this year, if you can’t catch her live.

Oliver Tank – OT Album & Live Review

oliver-tank-ot-0417I first heard Oliver Tank’s music a few years ago, and his songs became cemented into me when I decided to listen to his Slow Motion Music EP while sitting on rocks off the pier on a beach on a cold night, watching the stars and the lights of the city across the bay with a friend.

I can’t say I’ve done the same with this album yet, but I did listen to it while walking home at night, which is honestly the perfect environment for it; anywhere silent, and at night.

These songs are simple, with slow atmospheric beats and glitches, and Oliver Tanks quiet but beautiful vocals subtly flow in and out of the music. Fawn Myers features in two tracks, and her cooing of /Oliver, where have you been?/ on the song Lost, in which Oliver responds to each of her refrains feels touching and personal.

The album is chill, airy and relaxing. Every time Tank sings /in circles/ on the song Circles is bliss, and the repetitive vocals and blips on Silhouette are mesmerising, and much of the songs really make you just want to float away.

Though the album does have an issue of flow. Too many songs end abruptly, only to be followed by like five seconds of silence, and then for the next song to start up, when this is precisely the type of album that needs flow in between each of the songs to give it that dream-like feel that it’s trying to convey.

Unfortunately, I thought both of the preceding EPs to this album were better than this one. Maybe it’ll grow on me when I finally get the chance to listen to it while sitting on the beach-side pier at night.

Favourites: Circles, Lost, Swerve, Silhouette

Score: 5/10

Live:

I saw Oliver Tank at the Howler for his album tour, and unfortunately, it was only alright.

I think what Oliver Tank desperately needs is a full band accompanying him. He stands in front of us with just his guitar, some electronic drum-pad-machine thing and DJ controller set up. (I’m not a musician I don’t know what it’s called.)

He takes his already simple songs and further simplifies them for a live performance, which doesn’t really translate well, and just makes the whole experience a little too bare. His smiles while playing the songs were absolutely adorable though, especially during the finale where he remixed Snoop’s Drop It Like It’s Hot, it was like a sad version of the song, and I almost wish he played more songs like this, even if they weren’t his own, cause it was actually probably the best part of the set.