Beige Abrasion – S/T (Cassette)

Each track on this Beige Abrasion tape sounds like two separate songs playing concurrently: there’s the beats and then there’s everything else. The Adelaide trio make music that could reasonably be described as dance, but in a similar fashion to Sydney’s Holy Balm, nothing is ever perfectly locked in step. The effect is one of drowsy, hypnagogic euphoria rather than strident revelry. The beats sound like perennial space station static, while the other sounds operate with a mind – and in a galaxy – of their own.

Take ‘Flapping Pancakes’ for example: there’s a muted-yet-busy pulse, bent in several awkward directions but functional nonetheless. Then there’s the weirdly frivolous canned-computer arpeggios torn straight from Doctor Who. But then (!) there’s the actually-quite-sad lead line that seems to reprimand all that surrounds it, kinda like a downcast elemental force that can’t keep up. The effect is that you really don’t know what to feel.

That seems to be Beige Abrasion’s intent, though there’s a strong possibility they’re just playing it by ear. During ‘Koala’, what sounds like a demo-button 4/4 triggered straight from your family Casio sits autonomous and lonely amid an increasingly obstructive “jam”. The beat is gradually subjugated and buried until it meekly peters out, a swarm of nonsense synth pads heckling in its wake.

Don’t be led to believe that this music isn’t fun to listen to though, because it’s exactly this forthrightness, this unorthodox brutality, that makes Beige Abrasion fascinating and often pretty damn hilarious. Like their fellow Church-city friends Major Crimes, there’s an overriding sense of malfunction here, but in place of dread is a kind of garish techno slapstick.

Label: Heavy Lows
Release Date: October 2012

New Music

Listen: Beige Abrasion – Last Dance

Beige Abrasion is an Adelaide three-piece who cite Drexciya, the Orb and Oneohtrix Point Never among their influences. You can definitely hear a little bit of Drexicya in the lead lines here, but the water here is a bit choppier than most of what that duo did. Letting sounds slop over the beats is mandatory among a lot of younger Aussie electronic groups it seems, presumably to give these productions that tottering, packed-room-with-dangerously-low-oxygen levels vibe. It’s for these reasons that Beige Abrasion remind me a bit of Holy Balm, but I’m sure live they’re a different beast.

Listen to ‘Last Dance’ through to the end and you’ll notice the track gets a lot tighter, as if responding to some crowd demand.

Looks like Beige Abrasion are part of the Heavy Lows roster, a new label run by Stacey Wilson of Rites Wild / Regional Curse / Terrible Truths / heaps more. It’ll be worth keeping an eye on the Heavy Lows website, no doubt.

Here’s a video of the group in action: