Peer Review: Dave Williams (Augie March) on Wondercore Island
For our new artist-on-artist column Peer Review, Augie March drummer DAVE WILLIAMS examines the stellar mixtape series released by Wondercore Island.
I first encountered boutique management/production company Wondercore Island through Hiatus Kiayote in 2012. I witnessed their Meredith set and was left intrigued: ?These musicians are up to something… I don’t really know what… I don’t really know if I like it… but I do know I wanna follow it up with them some more…” From there I consulted The Magic Rectangle and stumbled on the Wondercore Island inaugural mixtape.
I like mixtapes.
I get a thrill outta hearing music constructed to take the listener on an aural journey. I like how it can expose me to new artists or shine a light on a part of an established artist’s repertoire I may have overlooked. I hunt for them in op shops, smash Mixcloud and Soundcloud and pester mates to make me some.
The WC #1 mixtape contained music by emerging artists based mainly in my hometown. Tick. On first listen, the eclectic playlist piqued my interest: space-jazz infused hip-hoppers; neo-soul electronica; glitch-tastic-future-jazz-singer songwriters; MPC-Synth-Axe-Manhattan-Transfer-Alice-Coltrane-Warp-Records Ensembles. Pretty much, the whole musical box and dice.
Further listens just whet my musical appetite more. I liked the effort, energy and exploration coming at me (even if it didn’t always take me with it). I liked that these young turks were as adept at playing their laptop or studio as they were on traditional instruments. I liked that a song sounding like a CPR records track cut and pasted by Aphex Twin was saddled next to one adorned only by voice and guitar. I also liked that it seems to be a musical collective creating this together – people appearing in numerous musical acts across various genres and formats – a community nurturing talent, ideas, and concepts of contrasting style and character.
This spirit of collaboration between musicians is a feature of the Melbourne jazz community they often float freely between bands and genres (something I have always felt a little envious of, being a member of the more silo-like emotional rockdog community!), I reckon something interesting and engaging always springs from environments that stimulate and challenge, and it appears that this community is cultivating just such a setting.
Three acts that have appeared on these mixtapes – Hiatus Kiayote, Ainslee Wills and Oscar Key Sung – are starting to make their way on the national and International stage. It’s fun to witness these artists bring the ruckus to the world and observe how this touring informs their work into the future.
So, I’ll be waiting patiently by my digital mailbox for the next instalment in the mixtape series to arrive – #5 dropped this summer just gone – and I’m hopeful that whatever comes at me continues to bend the ear and spark the brain. ‘Cos I like that.
Augie March are currently touring nationally.
Friday April 17 – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne VIC
Thursday April 30 – The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
Friday May 1 – Tanks Art Centre, Cairns QLD
Saturday May 2 – Urban Country Music Festival, Caboolture QLD