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New Music

Listen: Four Door – Applications

artworks-000078022287-ll1dj8-t500x500Here’s a new Four Door track, which will sound familiar to anyone who has seen the Sydney duo perform over the last six months or so.  ‘Applications’ isn’t as austere as the material on Four Door’s great Nihilistic Orbs 12 inch from last year, but it’s still very strange. Especially nice are the aluminium-coloured synth washes that punctuate the start of every verse. There’s a very strong latter-day Severed Heads vibe on this one, with the lighter shaded tones sounding oddly foreboding, rather than bright.

Four Door will play Melbourne at Boney next Saturday night (the 17th) with Lace Curtain, Lucy Cliche and Freejack.

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News

Crawlspace Presents: Four Door, Lace Curtain, Lucy Cliche and Freejack in Melbourne

satmay17Crawlspace is happy to announce its second show in Melbourne this May, in conjunction with Dettol Forever. Featuring Four Door, the first Lace Curtain show in an age, Lucy Cliche and Freejack, it will take place May 17 at Boney in Melbourne. It follows our well-attended show in August last year, which featured Wonderfuls, Love Chants, Flat Fix and Woollen Kits.

If you don’t know any of these artists then it’s clear you have never read this website before, in which case the following relevant links will provide useful information. Lace Curtain is the duo of Dave West and Mikey Young. Live, according to material we were sent, Lace Curtain is “David physically and emotionally torturing a microphone and a sampler.” They are set to release a new 12 inch very soon, but in the meantime you can read this interview we conducted upon the release of their second record last year.

Four Dour is the duo of Matthew Hopkins (Half High, Naked on the Vague, solo) and Jonathan Hochman (Holy Balm). They released their first 12 inch last year through Nihilistic Orbs. We were rapturous (if slightly ambiguous and prolix) in our praise.

Lucy Cliche is one half of Half High, Knitted Abyss and Naked on the Vague. She released an excellent cassette album entitled Picture Yourself late last year which is perfect for late night drives to Mount Canobolas with billy in tow.

Finally Freejack is Liam Osborne, formerly of Flesh World, and the designer of the poster at the top of the page. We spoke to him a couple of months ago about his excellent Untitled Documents cassettes, chiefly because we were too engrossed in the music to formulate a cogent review.

We hope to see you there, because it is going to be a very good show. Say you’re going on Facebook, if you like.

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New Music

Listen: Matthew P. Hopkins – Nocturnes

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After years releasing solo material under names including Bad Tables and Lamp Puffer, Matthew Hopkins will release a full-length LP through Vittelli on January 27. According to the label, Nocturnes was recorded in late 2013 using “synth, cassettes, FX pedals, contact mic and random objects”.

Hopkins, who plays with Half High, Four Door and formerly (?) Naked on the Vague, released a few small run CD-R and 7 inch releases in 2013 including the Vent CD-R and the Small Entry flexi-disc, but both disappeared quickly. Similarly Nocturnes will be limited to 300 copies, so if you want a copy you’d best email the label. While the sample below won’t come as a huge surprise to anyone with a copy of Half High’s Suspension, Hopkins’ past solo works show quite a breadth of range so it’ll be interesting to hear the record in full.

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Reviews

Best Practice: Four Door Reviewed

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According to the artists, “civic banalities” is the theme on this Four Door debut, and it’s a topic they’re not taking lightly. Look at the song titles after all: ‘Meeting Rooms’ and ‘Claim’ both lock into ambivalent and hunched 4/4s with on-rails melodies and tempos that seem to poke fun at any kind of initiative. For the first half of this 12 inch, Four Door is slouched and mentally unapplied techno: it’s amusingly disengaged.

Four Door is Sydney’s Jonathan Hochman (Holy Balm) and Matthew Hopkins (NOTV, Half High), and it’s the culmination of a long term collaboration between the duo which yielded its first public release, It’s The Submarine, back in 2009. Whereas that release and a couple of ensuing cassette albums were typical of the Australian tape scene’s late ‘00s gravitation towards electronic music, Four Door sees the duo complete the transformation. There’s nothing designedly “rough” about this record: any semblance of lo-fi has been removed. In fact, Four Door’s central theme demands a fussy, neurotic kind of order. That’s exactly what you get.

Meeting Rooms

 With their pointed refusal to deviate and menacing singlemindedness, this EP’s opening tracks sound like music to control whole accountancy firms and call centre floors; functional ambiance designed to numb workers to the interminate processes of capital. These crisp but textually barren tracks prize precision, formality and working to the blueprint, even as they promise that shit will hit the fan if these principles aren’t adhered to. Listen to the end of ‘Meeting Rooms’ for example: the song appears to have gathered some courage towards its end but it ultimately just fizzes out, with Hopkins’ heavily affected “beeps” ringing like some hysterical alarm. “You can’t go there,” they seem to warn.

Four Door maintain fidelity to their theme both formally and through their vocals, which are drolly yet necessarily literal. The lyrics during ‘Claim’ sound like a list of tedious administrative tasks, and the music itself is even more neutral than ‘Meeting Rooms’. ‘Claim’ contains the embryo of a dance track, but its shorn of groove and lacks the requisite kick, resulting in dance that sounds composed on an austerity budget.

While this all sounds sickly – pleasureless even – Four Door doesn’t lack purely aesthetic charms, and these lay mainly in the music’s amusing positioning of corporate authority as some kind of inscrutable, Klamm-esque puzzle. Actually, Four Door’s central theme of “civic banality” feels like a direct nod to Kafka, particularly The Castle, where dedication to paperwork, bureaucracy and “best practice” far exceeds any material benefit. Here is a blandly neurotic world where processes, even while never completely understood, have us all on a firm leash and are accepted as indispensable.

Four Door feels like an analogue to James Ferraro’s 2011 LP Far Side Virtual, especially in the way that it shirks the “pleasure principle” central to dance music and attempts instead to capture a condition, or the culmination of various modern phenomenon. Four Door and Ferraro share an interest in the incidental but pervasive textures of modern life under capitalism, in the music’s implied acceptance that real pleasure and freedom is interstitial in our lives. And that’s where the comedy in Four Door is most apparent: in the fact that we know yet permit this. In the fact that we do it anyway. Isn’t that weird.

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Luxury Tax

But all this collapses when you flip the 12 inch, because ‘Moods’ and ‘Luxury Tax’ are an emphatic departure from “functional”. They’re leery, nauseating and vaguely freeform, lacking reliably ordered 4/4s and familiar synth lines. ‘Moods’ is what you could loosely term an ambient piece: six minutes of airy and tangential sax chintz dogged by echoed vocal effects. Meanwhile, ‘Luxury Tax’ is almost whimsical: it’s locked to a subtle grid but is nothing like the glazed-eye automation of the A-side tracks.

It’s a neat response to the A-side, because these tracks are basically Four Door gone recreational. It’s still not freedom or pleasure though. Hopkins’ vocals – the celestial corporate figurehead from side-A – haunts the periphery of ‘Moods’ like a bedside mobile phone vibrating in your dreams. Still, the incursions are more violent in ‘Luxury Tax’, working in concert with the grindingly bright and major key melodies. Here the voice – the authority, the administrator, the chief, the executive, the team leader – works harder to insinuate itself because it must: it cries beyond the cubicle.

Or maybe it’s merely the voice of recreation: the processes and systems we actively submit to in the name of recuperation. Budgeting, itinerating, purchasing, consuming, preparing. Four Door renders life as a feedback loop of banality. Work or play, it’s all interconnected and it’s all very, very banal. Unless you turn it into art.

**

Four Door’s debut 12 inch is available through Nihilistic Orbs. Purchase on Eternal Soundcheck.

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New Music

Listen: Four Door – Live Drive

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If you’re familiar with the very early collaborations between Matthew Hopkins and Jonathan Hochman, you’ll know they work very well in longform. ‘Live Drive’ is a recording set for cassette release some time in the near future, and it comprises ‘live in the studio’ renditions/versions of tracks from the duo’s forthcoming Nihilistic Orbs 12 inch and a forthcoming Siberia Records 7 inch split with D.C.M. They’ve also got some tunes scheduled for release through Home Loan Records, presumably on vinyl.

The mix includes the previously featured ‘Meeting Rooms’ as well as a slew of other evocatively titled tracks including ‘Moods’, ‘Claim’, ‘Applications’, ‘Refresh It’, ‘Unknown’ and ‘Moods’, in that order. Check it out.

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