Mud Brick Couch, Marney MacLeod + Justin Fuller, Ghost Gums – Ghost Gums ‘Vertical Slum’ Cassette Launch, The Northcote Social Club, Northcote, VIC (2013-12-09)

Ghost Gums

This Monday Night Mass doubled as the launch for Ghost Gums’ Vertical Slum cassette launch, still available through label Vacant Valley and recommended listening. The band were supported by two excellent projects; all three performances making this one of the most interesting masses in some time. Pure weirdo fodder; some of the best.

One of the projects of Aus-underground personage Jarrod Zlatic, Mud Brick Couch to date has one cassette out via Hierodule (that I would very much like to track down, if anyone can point me in the direction of an affordable copy), as well as many sound fragments posted to his Soundcloud page. This performance takes a different approach than much of the audio I’ve heard. Over what I think is a sound base of heavily manipulated samples (in a style that is very reminiscent of some of his more recently posted digital material), Zlatic recites rambling diary entries from what sounds like a paranoid schizophrenic; convinced the government is spying on his house, scratching his Beatles records, and installing tracking devices under his skin. As he becomes more agitated, Zlatic stutters and mispronounces words in a way similar to a malfunctioning text-to-speech synthesis program. Think a chopped-n-screwn, cyberpunk Frances E Dec. This performance was one of the most engrossing that I have seen in a long while – very highly recommended.

Mud Brick Couch

Total time 21mins.

Marney MacLeod and Justin Fuller, both of Zond, get together for some improvised guitar feedback over “iPhone beats”. Pretty great stuff, though the recoding obviously isn’t able to fully reflect the physical power of the performance. There’s something pretty great about being kicked in the chest with amp feedback.

Marney MacLeod + Justin Fuller

Total time 19mins.

I was thinking about Ghost Gums the other day; trying to figure out what it was about their sound that I find so compelling. I’ve spoken to a few people about the band, and many/most of them simply don’t get it. Comments like “it just sounds like three guys tuning up for twenty minutes” are common, and (though I don’t think that assessment is particularly fair) I can understand how many people find the band extremely challenging. Something that I love so much about Mad Nanna is that they’re a rock band that seem like they’re perpetually about to fall to peices, but never quite do. As soon as you think that they’re about to topple off the cliff, they pull themselves back together again. Ghost Gums on the other hand are a rock band that have long disintegrated, and are simply picking away at what remains. If a conventional band are a tapestry of intertwining sounds, Ghost Gums are the fibers left behind after tearing that tapestry in half.

Ghost Gums

Total time 40mins.


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