Ebola Disco / Rope Society Flies for Friends

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Ebola Disco / Rope Society Flies for Friends 12”ep Tesco Organisation 2015

Here is a new split EP which functions to provide some welcomed international attention and focus on two projects from Australian industrial underground, namely Ebola Disco and Rope Society.

Noting Ebola Disco are probably known to very few outside of the Australian underground, they have also been a relatively obscured project within Australia due to their sporadic releases and live performances over the years. In fact they are a group I have been aware of for many years, but only managed to listen to selected material more recently. By way of backstory, Ebola Disco were formed in around 1997 and features Matt Casey on vocals and Ben Taylor on noise equipment, having primarily played numerous live shows and managing only a mere few formal releases in the process. Ebola Disco lead off side A with the title track ‘Flies for Friends’ which is a long form track from 2008 and was recorded live in studio, which goes someway to explain the loose approach to its industrial soundscape meets power electronics abuse and differs substantially from the shorter, direct and all out aggressive chaotic noise attack of other Ebola Disco tracks. Spanning around 17 minutes ‘Flies for Friends’ is aggressive and unhinged, but also displaying a controlled approach to its ‘caveman’ styled power electronics. Starting off on a minimalist guise of scattered, buzzing frequencies (with the scarred vocals barely breaking through the static), the mood and tone is gradually elevated with throbbing pulsing analog synth manipulations. Later squelching ‘buzz saw’ frequencies, fluttering noise and processed spitting vocalisations gain prominence to elevate the track further. Yet in its final third it steps up again with an overblown mass of rumbling bass, swopping ‘helicopter blade’ distortion and choppy interjections of static; being an excellent build up and ending. All in all ‘Flies for Friends’ is the pinnacle recording I have heard from the group and certainly justifies a formal LP pressing.

On Side B, David Tonkin (aka Isomer) further flexes his industrial noise/ power electronics muscle as Rope Society, which has seen a handful of releases under this new project name in recent years. Two tracks are featured here and have a much greater focus on junk metal sound sources. ‘Rudimentary’ is the first track, with a solid dose of deep echoed metallic clatter and grinding atonal synth drones, which with a gradual upward trajectory and elevating force builds to chaotic bass rumblings. Distortion scarred vocalisations are also discernible but only as another sonic element, noting the track uses a gradual build up/ breakdown which is repeated a couple of times over the duration. Although ‘Rudimentary’s is a solid piece, ‘Traitor’ is the better of the two featuring queasy oscillating synths, controlled squalling feedback and apathetic spoken vocals with a slight distortion treatment. Sprawling out with a singular grinding focus, the atmosphere is a weighty one, which elevates to more crushing intensity in its later section, including the vocals increasing to a distorted roar.

The pairing of Ebola Disco and Rope Society for this release is a positive one given it represents a collective demonstration the often crude and loose yet clearly aggressive approach of the industrial projects operating on these shores. For the cover the packaging is slick and clean in its graphic design presentation, including selective spot varnishing, to round out an excellent feature on the Australian industrial noise/ power electronics underground.

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