Boomkat Product Review:
Melbourne dons Efficient Space offer another unmissable guided tour of ’80s rarities and obscurities from their realm covering sun stroked dub-bop, scudding EBM and dreamiest vocals by also-rans and pioneers of that uber-fertile scene around right now.
To our nithered northerly souls, ‘Oz Echoes: DIY Cassettes and Archives 1980-1989’ survey of the past-as-a-foreign-land is quite literally like a ticket to a dreamier place, scouting the undercurrents of Australian music beyond the better known likes of Severed Heads and Pelican Daughters, and demonstrating that there was a ruck of comparably strong material in circulation, if you know where to look. Steele Bonus is once again your shamanic tour guide on the follow-up to his selections discovered on the 2017 ‘Oz Waves’ suite, which fuelled a lot of DJ sets and laid-back listening sessions back then as now.
The indelible influence of Jamaican dub that worked its way into UK post-punk of the era equally informs much of the music here, lending a lissom groove that distinguished these artists from the more macho pub rock and druggy desert goth styles perhaps most associated with the sprawling region back then. It underpins everything from Height/Dismay’s etheric drawl in ‘Mother’s Footsteps’ to the skittish Vazz or Naffi Sandwich-esque styles in ‘Luna’ by Les Trois Etrangers, and bubbles darker in the EBMish gnash of ‘Zoom Dub’ from Modern Jazz, or the baked melodica in Wrong Kind of Stone Age’s ‘Ravi Dubbi’, all pointing to a rising consciousness of non-western, rooted styles in Aussie music that’s often explicitly acknowledged in context of Aborigine first peoples nowadays.
Alongside a class clutch of jazz-funky and club numbers such as the lizard-hipped ‘Vicious Circle’ from The Frenzied Bricks, the killller Severed Heads-esque bubble of The Horse He’s Sick, the spry charms of Shanghai Au Go-Go, and psychedelic arps and exclamations of Matt Mawson, it’s all as close as you’ll get to a holiday for your head this year. Who can argue with that?