Hurtling down a Melbourne freeway on a mid-winter morning, I am ensconced by the intensely beautiful instrumental sounds of Great Earthquake (Noah Symons). 2009 release, “Rhythms in Nature, Part 1-10”, is an excellent example of the Melbourne self-recorded underground – particularly the one man bands who get out there every weekend to play venues of 40 and between the door and drinks, make just enough to cover their petrol expenses.
Great Earthquake’s sound encompasses simple yet entrancing looping techniques akin to Four Tet and the organic arrangements of bands like Tortoise and Lake Trout, minus the vocals and perhaps the big crescendos/payoffs of the latter. While the looped rhythms are quite minimalist, they come together as an intricate, expanding web. Symon’s sophisticated drum time signatures particularly punctuate and drive this consistent ten-track recording. The drums are overlaid with the buttery warmth of delicate guitar and bass chords and are also complemented by other hand percussion, piano accordion, wind chimes and xylophone (notable is the intro on Track 8 which uses overlays of xylophone, really pretty).
With five albums up his sleeve, including 2008’s “Patterns in Nature”, Symon’s raw talent and musical ability also translates to the stage – his plethora of instruments are all picked, played and looped live.
Great Earthquake’s new EP soon to be available from Sensory Projects and MySpace: www.myspace.com/greatearthquake
. 9/10 -- Claire Keiller (5 August, 2009)