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Sable x Wax Volcanic

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One human is occupying a brand new leather recliner, arched over a Cuban Mahogany floor and pulled to face the double-glazed bay windows that open up to a wraparound terrace looking over West Broadway, New York City. Another human is occupying a form-mesh office chair in 40-degree West Australian heat, leaning forward in concentration to catch the intricacies of the sound that’s pouring out of a pair of studio monitors and spreading over the postered walls and unmade bed of his teenage bedroom. The first human is Justin Timberlake. The second is John Dewhurst, better known to Australian music fans as Sable, the young bedroom producer who recently doused Timberlake’s ‘My Love’ with his own gleaming brand of what’s becoming known as the ‘Australian sound’.


There are no real borders anymore. It doesn’t matter what continental plate an artist is sitting on, connections through music are increasingly lateral. The old days of musical feudalism, of artists clawing vertically towards cavernous recording studios and huge advances are over. Records are being made with a laptop, a soundcard and a microphone, re-edits can be done on a whim, acapellas can be scooped out of the Internet at will.

“Yeah” Dewhurst agrees, “The new way makes so many more things possible with so much less. In terms of resources, you can sit in a bedroom and if you’ve got a decent mic you can make a full album for any genre you want…”

This accessibility is the engine propelling the Australian sound around the globe. Recently Harley Stretten, better known as Flume, roll-called a list of Australian EDM acts as if listing columns in a gathering army. And maybe his fervour isn’t entirely misplaced, particularly if his own fame is anything to go by. The phalanx of Australian electronic acts is indeed gathering and proliferating. Sable is a good example. In just 18 months, Sable’s reached number 2 on triple Js most played, is the first signing to Pilerats records, has received almost 200,000 plays on Soundcloud for his main single ‘Feels So Good’ and is now embarking on a national tour.


“I suppose from the outside perspective it seems really fast” Dewhurt admits, “but I have been working on it for a few years now. A lot of groundwork was done locally and I just wanted to make sure everything was good first. Then Pilerats hit me up to play at Circo festival…” And so it went. But like he suggests himself, Dewhurst has a long timeline is buried beneath his 18 month rise to acclaim.

Through high school playing in punk and hardcore bands formed Dewhurst’s formative musical experiences, and to this day “still thinks of things in terms of how a 4 piece hardcore band would sound”. The connection between dance music and punk music is an interesting one. An entire dynasty of American electro seemed to come from punk or rock bands (Steve Aoki, Bloody Beetroots – by way of Italy, MSTKRFT etc). Then there were European acts like Simian Mobile Disco and 2ManyDJs who effectively dissolved their bands in favour of purely electronic music. But the interesting difference here is that in all of the acts above (with the possible exception of SMD) the influence of rock/punk music on the sound of their dance music is pretty clear. With Sable, there’s almost no way to tell. The soaring, glittering synth, slowly blooming arpeggiators and snatches of euphoric vocals are about as far from hardcore as I can imagine. But the hardcore influence comes out in mysterious ways. One of the most notable features of Sable’s music, is his ‘drops’. Dewhurst will build his songs by rolling up cutoff, pitch and sustains, and then a naked sound effect like a squeak, waterdrop or clap will fill one or two beats before the beat returns. It’s a clever dynamic tool and one that Dewhurst describes as “a Metalcore thing”. He alleges that a lot of Metalcore songs will “have a crazy build up and then just ride cymbal hit on the bell of the cymbal”. And it works.

But, despite some direct translation, Sable didn’t go straight from hardcore to the club. He cut his teeth making some “terrible EDM” before listening to Burial and Bonobo and deciding to recalibrate the outlook and his own execution of electronic music.

“When I listen to Untrue by Burial and Black Sands By Bonobo, [I found that] all the songs weren’t structured to any particular formula and they tried new ideas [that] completely worked. So I thought maybe I could start just doing things that I think would sound cool, and why didn’t I try that before with dance music?” Sable’s earlier catalogue is directly reminiscent of this sonic exploration, of languorous, nebulous songs, more evocative than his more recent work. Some standouts are the Studio Ghibli inspired ‘Haku’ and ‘ChiChiro’, released on Diehigh records.

But gradually, Dewhurt has bent his music towards the club. His beats are thicker, his sounds sharper, dragging with it the gallop of Jersey Trap, the Euphoria of Minimal House, all of which (as is so often the case) seems paradoxic, given that Dewhurst is fresh out of school, and has had somewhat limited opportunities to actually explore clubs.

“Yeah I think a lot of producers are like that” Dewhurst offers, a pause lingering on the line. The pause is long enough to sift through my mental Rolodex of producers – most of which are music heads, rather than club kids. The most notable for me is A-Trak— producer, DJ extraordinarre and owner of Fool’s Gold records. A-Trak openly admits (despite worldwide acclaim as a DJ and producer) that he doesn’t know what to do on a dance floor. This is a guy who has never taken drugs but who signs acts like Bath Salts, Danny Brown and does collaborations with rappers like Juicy J who have made hedonism into a multifaceted art form. A producer (and DJ’s) role in so many ways is reading people, reading what people are listening to, what they want. Maybe this distance from the dancefloor is what makes really good producers. They’re like satellites, collecting information from the periphery, relaying it to the stage and beaming it onto the audience. Finally Dewhurst continues.

“Yeah unless there’s something I’m really vibing on…” Dewhurst continues, I’m never up the front in the crowd, that’s a real fan thing. I like being there and enjoying the music if it’s good. Put it that way…”

But the club is definitely something he’s about to be very well acquainted with, as he plays clubs all over Australia, and seems pretty grounded about the whole thing. When I ask him about the vocal cut from ‘Feels So Good’ (“Feels so good up in the clouds”)  and the unspoken transaction between the DJ and the audience wherein the DJ/Producer is responsible for the provision of euphoria and what I like to call ‘Forever Moments’ which simultaneously melt an existing reality away and promise something endless, something impossible, Dewhurst just pauses and yawns: “The only reason mine sounds like that is because I only write that stuff when I’m happy…And its got a summer sound cause I wrote it during warm summer times…”  Whereas Dewhurst’s slightly older, darker and slower ‘Hypercolour’ EP sounds comparatively woven from shadows. Unsurprisingly, he wrote it during winter.


The unconscious, seasonal transience of Sable could end up being a hidden asset in an industry and genre where things are changing so quickly. It’s a world where the celebrity in his Soho Mews apartment in New York City and the bedroom producer in Perth are able connect in some way, a world of almost infinite limits. But of course this has it’s own cost. The flood of accessible technology has caused young music producers to become ubiquitous, and the musical landscape to become fickle. And Dewhurst knows it.

“Music these days is definitely more transient” he declares coolly,  “because its quicker to produce…But now that you can make music, well made music, completely mastered in a week, people are expecting more and they want more so its harder to make something that sticks around…”


The Australian Sound is becoming the fastest way for Australian producers to collect passport stamps. But this is, of course, only the first half of a cautionary tale. These strident labels turn very quickly into mortuary toe tags. Dewhurst identifies with the term, conceding that it’s “pretty on point right now”, but while he possesses songs crafted in vogue he also possesses an awareness and a musical dexterity that will more than likely see the name Sable outlive the label of ‘Australian Sound’

You can catch Sable live in action on the dates below.

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And cop the Feels So Good EP NOW thanks to Pilerats Records.



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For Cool Accidents

Ryan Keen - Under The Bridge Session

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We were lucky enough to have UK singer/songwriter/phenomenal guitarist Ryan Keen spend a fair chunk of time on our shores earlier this year and even luckier thanks to him taking part in our Under The Bridge series.

Ryan turned in an acoustic performance of his stunning ‘Old Scars’ track on what was really a pretty pathetic excuse for a Sydney summers day hence us taking shelter in a bus stop… being that the guy is from the UK he actually though the weather was ‘quite lovely’ though, drizzle and all.

Check it out below and be sure to check out Ryan’s debut album ‘Room For Light’ available NOW here here & here




Bonus beat - In an attempt to become a proper naturalised Australian Ryan smashed out a nice little cover of Flume & Chet Faker’s Drop The Game for a local radio station… Check it out HERE

Cool Accidents - Sydney Sessions

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Soundcloud is an absolute goldmine for finding jams from a whole host of up and coming as well as established artists and we’ve decided to highlight our faves on a city by city basis.

First up is ol’ Sydney town and although we probably could have filled it up entirely with Future Classic tunes, we put our collective Cool Accidents heads together and after taking inspiration from the stunning pic above came up with a selection of smooooth beats and other business that fit the vibe.

We’ll be enlisting the curating skills of some talented peeps to help us out with the next cities in the series so stay tuned to Cool Accidents for that and more but in the meantime get all up in this mix below…
 


Pic by @chrismphillips

The Real Story Behind Flume & Chet Faker’s ‘Left Alone’


Are You a Lover or a Loner?


Are you a lover or a loner this Valentine’s Day?

We’ve put together handy Spotify playlists to cover off both.

Themes For Young Lovers goes out to all the loved up peeps… Featuring jams from artists such as Janelle Monáe, Daft Punk, Rudimental, Flume, GROUPLOVE, Devendra Banhart and HEAPS more.



Meanwhile Themes For Young Loners goes out to all the lonely boys & girls… Featuring jams from the likes of The Smiths, Joy Division, Radiohead, Major Lazer, Lily Allen, The Black Keys, James Blunt and HEAPS more!



Gettin’ High On Our Supply
The 9 Types of Hottest 100 Voter


Given that we all experienced the Triple J website’s major meltdown on Monday, it’s safe to say that everyone left their Hottest 100 votes until the last minute. Which means you can now sift through the onslaught of Facebook posts listing everyone’s favourite songs of 2013. People have spent the past months agonising over longlists and shortlists for this very moment. Your vote, and your choice to broadcast it, says more about you than you realise. As your mates’ votes spill onto social media, make sure to have a close look and cross-check them with our handy field guide, to get some pseudo-psychological insight into your friends’ inner workings. 


The Music Connoisseur
This is that friend who keeps complaining that Triple J has become too commercial, and is “just not the same, man”. You’re perplexed that this person voted in the Hottest 100 at all. Though it does give them an opportunity to show everyone how cool and totally not mainstream they are, unlike a certain taxpayer-funded radio station they could mention.   

Look out for: songs that never got played on Triple J last year


The Number One Fan

Did you know their favourite band released an album this year? Well, now you do.

Look out for: more than five votes for one artist


The Nova Listener

This person dips in and out of Triple J, usually when their favourite commercial station is out of broadcast range. But they’re going to a Hottest 100 party so they thought they’d better throw in a ballot. 

Look out for: Lorde, Daft Punk and, I don’t know, Flume, I guess. He released something last year, yeah?


The Genre Devotee

The average listener likes to bitch about the amount of skip-hop and metal being played on the J (which is not a lot), but this rare breed of voter, is the obscure genre champion, much to the annoyance of everyone else.

Look out for: If they’re a hip hop person: Kanye, Horrorshow, and that really awful song about shutting up on trains. If they’re a metal fan: AFI and The Amity Affliction, but not that Lana Del Rey cover. 


The Feminist

The one who complained throughout the year that there are not enough female artists being played or taken seriously in the music industry, in a year when a female artist is tipped to take the number one spot for the first time. 

Look out for: all female artists.


The Teenage Girl

If Death Cab had released anything this year, they’d be onto it, but they’ll have to settle for all the other twangy indie pop the J plays. Most likely your little sister or cousin.

Look out for: #JungleGiants, #VanceJoy and #lots of #hashtags


The Minimalist

While some agonise over narrowing down 100 tracks to just 10, this person couldn’t even fill the quota.

Look out for: that one song they liked this year


The Goldfish

What came out latest in the year is freshest in voters’ minds, but this person can’t seem to remember anything before December 2013.

Look out for: songs released in the last week


The Year-long Coma Sufferer

Keeps trying to vote for songs that came out last year, swearing they heard them for the first time only a month ago.

Look out for: an attempted to vote for Thrift Shop.

 



-Nat T

Flume x Chet Faker

Hey! Ho! Lego.


New favourite blog alert! A site dedicated to transforming a whole heap of classic and contemporary album covers into pixelated Lego versions.

Check out a bunch of our faves below and head over to their tumblr for the full scoop.









Alternate cover art for Flume & Chet Faker’s - Drop The Game
#9 in a series
Art by Daniel Gray aka Little Gonzales

Alternate cover art for Flume & Chet Faker’s - Drop The Game

#9 in a series

Art by Daniel Gray aka Little Gonzales