Sydney based FILTER THEORY started as a side-project, one that allowed more scope to bring elements of modular synthesis to guitar-based noise. “For years as a guitarist I’ve been making interesting noises and happy accidents plugging pedals together in different orders, so modular synths just seemed like an obvious extension of this. Turns out not everybody feels this way, so over time the side-project became more interesting and fun than the main band.”- comments the band’s mastermind Malcolm, who joined us to day to share a quick track by track commentary and his special list of noteworthy Australian (mostly instrumental) artists and records worth a check this year.
FILTER THEORY’s new EP “Requiem” unveils a deep, atmospheric fusion of guitar noise, modular synths, industrial and ambient textures, they bring a sense of drama and decayed beauty to their soundscapes. Described as an emotional soundtrack for a precarious era, ‘Requiem” is available for download or streaming.
Comments the band:
𝑊ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑢𝑝 𝑎𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐 𝑜𝑛 𝑅𝑒𝑞𝑢𝑖𝑒𝑚 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑎𝑛 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑏𝑒𝑡𝑤𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑟𝑔𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑐 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑛𝑜𝑟𝑔𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑐.
“In general terms, the contrast of humanity and technology, nature and man-made environments, but of course musically as well, with acoustic sounds set against electronic and electric sounds, for example.
Not so much thinking about this from a place of judgment, as in organic = good and inorganic = bad. But more interested in finding moments of frailty, beauty or even fear and darkness in this contrast.
Of course the original idea that you start with is pure but turning that into music involves many compromises, but at times I can still hear echoes of that initial idea in the tracks.”
The Darkness Where The Future Was
This is the track where I first tried playing with that tension I mentioned before. It started with the Reaktor ensemble that forms the drone in the background and the next piece that came was the simple piano line over the top. Together those two pieces felt like a story of the frailty of humanity in the face of a more powerful menace, and once we had that, we were away.
This Is Not A Safe Place
This track really started with the piano melody which felt like something from an 80’s horror movie. I can’t say I was consciously thinking about this while writing it, but while writing this a good friend of the band was battling with mental health issues during covid lockdown and I remember feeling very scared and helpless in the face of what he was going through. Whether anyone else can hear that in the music, I’m not sure, but that’s what comes back to me everytime I hear it now.
This didn’t start out as a song (and possibly some may say it didn’t end up as one either). It really began as an experiment with an ebow’d guitar and Reaktor.
That Which Remains
This was actually an attempt to write something more upbeat, after a comment that the other tracks were “unceasingly gloomy”. Pretty sure we failed, but that at least was the aim.
Australian artists and bands worth checking out:
There are a bunch of bands in Australia doing interesting things, in some cases under the radar. It’s hard to narrow it down, but here are a few that inspire us to keep making music:
Dream Cities from Sydney are a really interesting blend of experimental rock instrumentation and hip-hop. We dream of being as funky as these guys.
A Broken Sail, also from Sydney are masters of emotional post-slowcore (ok, I just made that genre up, but if it doesn’t exist it should). With a minimum of instrumentation and buckets-full of restraint, they somehow manage to tug at my heartstrings every time.
Tangled Thoughts of Leaving from Perth on the other side of the country, maybe don’t quite fit the “under the radar” label, but they are a constant inspiration in how they can combine heaviness with vulnerability.
Hazards of Swimming Naked from Brisbane are one of those bands that , once you hear them, you can’t understand why they aren’t massive. They do epic, cinematic music that hits me in the guts no matter how many times I listen to it.
Solkyri from Sydney are one that have been around for awhile but I’ve only recently discovered. I’m super envious how they can sound so clean and so heavy at the same time. Start with their most recent release, Mount Pleasant, and work back. You won’t regret it.
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