On Saturday night a handful of patrons, seemingly oblivious to sports, dawned upon The Tote for an evening of electronic experimentalism. The synthwave through noise event provided ear-splittingly loud electronics paired with darkened pop tunes that left those bold enough to attend deeply rewarded by their exploration into electronic music’s boundless depths.
Having missed the opening act Personal Touch, the first act I saw was industrial tinged pop duo, Kayo. Kayo’s throbbing beat mixed with dark, electronic pop sounds laid the base for dreamy female vocals to take charge and foster an eclectic dance routine that wouldn’t seem out of place in Harmony Korine’s more hedonistic films. The duo sustained a small, albeit, amped up crowd who marvelled in their dark, poppy electronic beats.
Up next was Permission, a three-piece that hail mostly (possibly entirely) from Auckland, New Zealand. Permission delivered a set that clashed relatively conventional instruments with some rather unsavoury sounds. They opened their set with walls of feedback that slowly began to nurse a rising, and eventually commanding beat, reminding me of the hidden percussive backbone that sits in the shadows of SPK’s Emanation Machine R. Gie 1916. Permission’s sound ventured through droning feedback, a buried, yet driving bassline, and sporadic shrieks from a saxophone that would often mesh together in forming a discernible dance rhythm. The trio were a well-composed unit from sonic depths more inclined to chaos.
Closing the night was Bura Bura, the solo project of Sydney-sider Colin Thompson who’s playing a stint of Melbourne shows off the back of his cassette, The New Flesh, released earlier this year. Under strobing red and purple lights, donning his signature fingerless gloves and wrap around sunglasses, Bura Bura pumped out synth-heavy EBM bangers with a sonic embrace of the 80s and lyrical dig at our narcissistic present. Stationed with a Mac and a mic, Bura Bura exploited his lack of baggage to take total command of a stage devoted entirely to him. Through billowing smoke and strobing lights he used his freedom to to rigidly prance around stage and bark out vocals to an audience of mesmerised onlookers. And with that, the bold stage-presence of Bura Bura fist-pumped a spirited audience into the early hours of the morning.