decoded_ Something for your mind… Something for your mind…

November 30, 2008

Pepperpot, Oliver A @ Le Fuss (Minimal Fuss) – Civic Underground : 29.11.2008

Filed under: Clubbing & Gigs,Music — decoded_ @ 11:43 am

French Flag

A small turn out, but makes for a much more comfortable night in this venue. I really like the Civic Underground, it’s probably my favourite club in Sydney. Lots of great minimal/house music was played by Matt Aubusson, and French guests Pepperpot and Oliver A for the couple of hours we were there. Infact we heard more excellent music here within 20 minutes than we did our entire night at the last Lost Baggage.

November 24, 2008


Filed under: Films,Food,Music,Travel — decoded_ @ 1:27 pm

The Hotel Windsor

I just had a fantastic w/end away in Melbourne with Joanne, celebrating 10 years together. We stayed at the lovely, old, Victorian era, grand Hotel Windsor. Lots of character, so much nicer than the trendy boutique hotels. Old-school service, porters, concierge, a top hat wearing doorman greats you on entry… “Welcome to the Hotel Windsor”. We took advantage of their pillow menu there, made for great nights sleep. Very enjoyable stay.

We had some fantastic food in Melbourne, as you do!

A nine course French degustation dinner at Vue Du Monde for 5 hours. An amazing experience of flavours, textures and innovative food presentation, such rich beautiful food. It’s up there equal with Tetsuya’s for an awesome degustation experience for me. Going there was the main reason we went to Melbourne, and I’m very glad we did. It’s also exciting not knowing what food is coming next, with no menus. They e-mailed us exactly what food and wine we had the next day. Fantastic personal service too.

We had a great Japanese lunch at Yu-U as soon as we arrived into Melbourne. We had some great modern Spanish tapas dishes and cocktails, dropping into Bar Lourinha a couple of times, which was just around the corner from where we stayed. I highly recommend their ‘Stolen Town Bike’ cocktail. We had more excellent Spanish tapas and cocktails at the very popular Movida, also picking up a copy of their new book on the way out. We caught up with friends at Babka Bakery Cafe for some Russian style food for lunch, which was ok, it’s not as good as it used to be there. We had a great breakfast our first morning at the hotel in the grand ballroom. The next morning we had a late breakfast at Madame SouSou in Brunswick, which was excellent. Moments before heading to the airport we also managed to pop into The Supper Club, just up the road from the hotel, for a quick wine, jamon, and olives fix, seated in the comfy, well worn, old-school, red leather couches, great place, we had it all to our selves, as it had just opened for the night.

We couldn’t visit Melbourne without also having some Trampoline gelato. I love their Likrish, and Peanut Nutter flavours, and managed to find/have them again, which made me very happy. Joanne loves the Lemon, and Lychee n Lime flavoured sorbets.


Chocolate! Joanne enjoyed a Melbourne chocolate tour, and visited many chocolate shops, such as; Haighs, Cacao, KoKo Black, San Churro and more. We also got down to Acland Street St.Kilda, with it’s wonderful cake shops, seems to be fewer of them now though unfortunately.

I’m sure this will all be written about in great detail on Joanne’s blog in the coming days. There’s photo evidence of all the food/drink consumed as well.

I enjoyed looking in clothes shops around the city, in Melbourne Central, and up and down Chappel St, Greville St, Brunswick St and surrounds, picking up a few cool t-shirts. A lot more walking than tram action this trip.

We even managed to squeeze in seeing the latest James Bond movie one night – “Quantum Of Solace”, which was great, not as excellent as Casino Royale, but I still enjoyed it. I don’t recommend seeing movies at the Russell St. Greater Union though, horrible seats, and it sounded like the audio was coming from a single mono central speaker.

It was a really fun, special time in Melbourne. Everything was great, well apart from the weather, which was pretty horrible at times, and very un-summer like. Grey clouds mostly, cold, some rain, heavy at times, even a little hail, and gale force gusts of ice cold wind. Sometimes we saw the sun, but not for long. Rain not unusual for Melbourne though. We managed to avoid being out in the heavy rain which was lucky. Sunday was better weather.

The massive queue to check in baggage that took almost an hour on Sunday night at the airport was also not so great, but life can’t all be perfect.

We could have also seen German/Dutch techno/minimal producer/DJ Patrice Baumel @ Tramp, whilst we were in Melbourne, but didn’t make it there. It was the night of our amazing dinner at Vue Du Monde, not wanting to spoil the memory.

This is one of the most relaxed and enjoyable visits we’ve had in Melbourne, and unusual for us to not include seeing a DJ at some club or dance music event. Must be getting old. I love Melbourne’s cool little bar scene.

November 18, 2008

Shonky, Style Of Eye @ Lost Baggage – The Cross : 15.11.2009

Filed under: Clubbing & Gigs,Music — decoded_ @ 2:10 pm

Meh! What a crappy night.

Not well attended, not much vibe, crowd seemed younger than usual for a LB party. Style Of Eye played bangin’ electro-house type stuff, full of massive white noise breaks/builds, which is what I expected, but not really a fan of, he had that room going off though. Shonky was dissapointing, playing unmemorable, pumping, tech-house choons, pushing the mixer beyond it’s limits, making for bad sound. I was hoping to have heard some of his original deep, bleepy, minimal goodness, the sounds that put him on my radar, but it wasn’t to be, left after 45mins, after waiting hours for him to start.

November 7, 2008

Pulse Radio Present… Tom Clark @ Kink – Nevermind : 01.11.2008

Filed under: Clubbing & Gigs,Music — decoded_ @ 9:04 pm

Tom Clark @ Kink - Nevermind
Tom Clark @ Pulse Radio Present… Tom Clark @ Kink – Nevermind : 01.11.2008 : Photo by FriniK from ITM.

Here’s a fantastic, well written review by holzmarktstr 25 (It looks like someone likes Bar 25 in Berlin) on ITM, check it out first then read my thoughts below…

Nevermind is a newly renovated club at 163-169 Oxford Street, in Darlinghurst. There have been a lot of different and separate clubs (and club-nights) upstairs at this spot on Oxford Street over the years; ‘Suzie Q’s’, ‘Havana Club De Luxe’, ‘Mylk Lounge’, ‘Tantra Bar’, ‘Byblos’, and many more. I think this might even have been where the old ‘Zoom’ was in the early 1990’s. Before my time in Sydney, but I have friends who went, shouts to Justin and Murray.

I think 2005 was the last time I went to this venue, it was Suzie Q’s at the time, and I saw The Hacker [Live] & David Carretta [Live] who were both excellent. I also remember seeing James Holden at a Sweet Chilli night there a couple of months earlier, sneaking away from a Chris Liebing party at the Gaelic Club the same night, that was a musical contrast! Liked James Holden’s sounds better.

So, back to Tom Clark @ Kink. This night was co-presented by Internet radio station Pulse Radio. Pulseradio (as it used to be) has some history in this same venue, it’s where their launch party was held, back in 2000, the club was called Tantra at the time. I performed live as TECHiONE that night (photo at bottom of this page). That party was a huge success, the venue reached capacity at 11pm, with a long line of people still wanting to get in left outside. Times have changed huh! I had weekly DJ radio shows on Pulseradio from 2000-2007. It’s under new management now.

So, Nevermind… I was really impressed with how the club is set out and set up. It looks great, feels comfortable. Check out these photos of the renovation work, and how it turned out when completed. Some interesting artwork around the place. A good sized dance-floor space, nice bars, friendly staff. A++ would visit again for sure.

Minimal lighting, but not much needed with the excellent visuals/graphics they have setup in front of, and behind the DJ booth. Finally a club in Sydney, Australia catches up to the ubercoolische looking DJ booths in clubs and at parties in Europe. I imagine it’s a mesh/screen of 1000’s of small red, green, blue LEDs interfaced to a computer, emulating dots on a TV. It’s very impressive, very bright too! It would look even better if they kept those Oxford Street light blocking curtains behind the DJ booth area closed. I mention this because it distracted me. VJ Morph was doing a great job with visuals.

You can see the visuals/graphics in action at Nevermind in these YouTube clips below. Probably best not to take too much notice of the music in these clips. Can’t people clap in time with the music anymore?

So, how’s it sound? They have a Funktion-One sound system, with some satellite speakers around the venue. It’s decent, loud and clear, but not very bass heavy I thought. Not like the massive bass the Funktion-One system had at Mad Racket last time. Actually the volume and bass levels seemed to be up/down the whole night at Nevermind. I’m not sure if that was DJ mixer error, or lack of audio processing, compression/tuning etc. I’m sure they are still working the bugs out of the system, being a new club etc., but it has potential to be awesome.


We got treated to some horrible audio feedback when Tom Clark first started up, using vinyl records, unable to bring the volume level up. It sounded like the turntable needles were feeding back through the system/monitors. I wonder, with the amount of DJs using CDs now in Sydney, it’s quite possible the system was setup and tuned with CDs, and never had vinyl run through it before, I wouldn’t think so, but that’s what it sounded like. Anyway, a laptop was quickly setup, guessing either his or someone else’s Serato/Final/Traktor-Scratch system, the sound/volume was restored, and Tom got things under way.

As far as music… Tom Clark played a lot more darker, tougher, colder sounds than I expected. With him coming out of Berlin’s summer I was perhaps expecting more musical, deep-house style minimal flavours, or maybe that’s just what I wanted to hear, that’s not really his sound though. I’ve seen Tom play in Sydney a few times now, every time he’s been out I think, right back to his first gig at Crunch.

I didn’t know much of what he played on the night, but I liked it. It was fun to dance to, good, solid, minimal, techno/tech-house music. Unfortunately only about 30 people in the club felt the same and actually danced, which probably didn’t encourage him to set the floor on fire. A lot of it sounded like stuff that could be on his Highgrade label, although I didn’t recognise any tracks. I’m sure there was quite a bit of Format:B stuff played. There were no real stand-out moments for me though, where I had a burning desire to ask for track IDs, nothing that memorable. He finished up 30 minutes earlier than his 3 hour set time. I hope his set after at Spice was more appreciated.

The young/new-to-clubbing (I felt old here) ‘trendy’ crowd (see here) that were the majority of the 100-200 people there earlier didn’t seem very interested in the sounds/music, or in being in the club for very long, short attention spans? lack of patience? Probably not happy with the lack of MOS style sounds. The place was pretty much empty by 2.30am just as Tom Clark finished up. I’ve never seen a club empty out like that before, it was quite strange to witness.

I think it’s going to be a real challenge to get an older or music loving/focused crowd back to an Oxford Street club, and to change people’s perception of the Kink brand/sound. I was never a fan of Kink before (I doubt I would have got let into the Arthouse), but I like where they are going with their sound/style now. I’ve heard rumours of some good minimal/techno internationals coming up.

I hope Nevermind succeeds, it just needs to find a good supportive crowd. A lot of thought, time, money and passion has gone into putting this club together, and that deserves to be supported. I look forward to my next visit to Nevermind.

I just wish it wasn’t on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst. It’s a scary place to be out at night on the w/ends now, such an aggressive, ugly vibe. There are packs of ethnic, roided up guys walking around seemingly just looking for, or to cause, trouble! It’s not good. This used to be the funky, trendy, gay friendly ‘place to be’ in Sydney back in the day. It’s sad what it has become now. What happened? Why is there so much violence around now? This happened just up the road, about 30 minutes after getting into the club, I’m glad I missed it!

November 5, 2008

Deetron @ The Club Club – Chinese Laundry : 25.10.2008

Filed under: Clubbing & Gigs,Music — decoded_ @ 1:47 pm

Deetron @ The Club Club - Chinese Laundry
Deetron @ The Club Club – Chinese Laundry : 25.10.2008 : Photo by Hobietje from ITM.

So, it sadly seems not many Sydney techno people are interested in Deetron anymore. I think there were no more than maybe 8 people in the Cave at Chinese Laundry who knew who he was, and even less who had probably seen him play before amongst the 50 or so people in there whilst I was there. I think everyone was in the other room for DJ Hyper.

I remember Deetron’s first visit to Sydney way back in the early 2000’s, his records got lost in transit, and my record collection was called on to help him out, that was a great night/set!

Unfortunately on this occasion, he pretty much cleared the floor/room with his sounds, starting very deep with the lovelly nu-disco track ‘Afterski’ by Ytre Rymden Dansskola and then working his way through some deep, house, techno, tribal sounds. I just don’t think the usual young Chinese Laundry crowd understood the music, too many deep, rolling house/tribal grooves, not enough (electro-ish) musical hooks for them to mentally grab on to, to keep them interested. I know he’s been heading towards a more soulful house/deep-house sound for quite sometime, taking in disco/nu-disco, jazz, funk influences, but he’s still playing a lot of tribal, bongo, loops, which surprised me. He used them as bridges between melodic tracks, and as layers in the mix to cut against, which is cool, but I felt makes for too much variation in sound intensity and audio quality, especially when going from/to old (thin sounding) vinyl records, new (fat sounding) records and CDs, quite a dynamic range contrast.

I think the problem is with me though. I’m probably now too used to the sound of CDs being used, hearing compressed flat, minimal tracks blended together, with next to no dynamic range being experienced.

It’s worrying there is a whole new wave of kids clubbing now who have probably never heard that style of Jeff Mills, Derrick May, Ben Sims, multi-deck techno mixing, tweeking the EQs, cutting faders, using records as tools and layers, mixing up old classics with new releases, and lots of variations of intensity in a mix. It’s been a long time since any of those guys have played here actually. Plus, most of the punters who would know of those guys and have seen them play in Sydney in the past, probably don’t club much anymore, if at all.

Some track IDing on the night…

Ytre Rymden Dansskola – Afterski
Moodymann – I Can’t Kick This Feelin When It Hits
Moodymann – Shades Of Jae
Chez Damier – Untitled (KMS049)
MDIII – The Pressure Cooker (Phil Weeks Remix)
Deetron – I Believe
Dop – I’m Just A Man
Ralph Sliwinnski – Pox Rox (Johnny D Remix)
Idjut Boys – Sarbeni Drums
Sui Generis – Speaking Terms
Aural Distortion – Plasma (Peter Dildo Remix)

I’m guessing this below was played too, I’ve not heard it yet, but I’ve read Deetron is a fan…

Christian Vance – Tiger Snake

Nice tunes, but it just felt like the wrong music for the crowd, and the lack of numbers, lack of understanding and energy/support from the dance-floor didn’t get the best out of Deetron, who does have some amazing skills when fired up, and is a very talented producer.

I was only there for the first hour of his set, so things may have got better later on. I hope so.

I left behind those tribal, funky techno sounds about 5 years ago, and not being a huge fan of old-school house, funk, disco, jazz music, I was probably not going to get that much enjoyment out of this set anyway. I do still buy the odd Deetron production here and there though, I used to buy everything he released in years gone by. Most recently I bought the Henrik Schwarz remix of his “Let’s Get Over It”, which is a really nice track, and I’m usually not a fan of vocals.

I don’t think Deetron would have had a very memorable time this trip to Australia, gig wise. I feel sorry for the guy. A dull gig in Sydney, and I heard due to flight problems he missed his gig in Melbourne on the following Saturday, and his make up show on the Sunday in Melbourne at Ffour was not that well attended, but probably better appreciated than his gig in Sydney. I hope it wasn’t all that bad. Best of luck next time Sam!

November 4, 2008

Spine Tingles…

Filed under: Films,Music — decoded_ @ 10:04 pm

Some of my most favourite film score music pieces, they give me spine tingles every time.

Thomas Newman – Less Than Zero. The film score has never been released unfortunately.

Other film score moments from Less Than Zero here:

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