Thursday, 31 March 2011

Night Drive (Thru Ballarat)

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of visiting Ballarat, a medium-sized town 90 minutes North West of Melbourne. I took a company car, a Camry Altise, leaving the office at 5pm to get there for 7.00. I drove up Flinders Street through dreadful traffic, onto the Westgate, up the Western Ring Road and onto the Highway, straight and without incident from there on. After Flinders the traffic was fine, particularly so on the highway.

The Camry had cruise control so I stuck to 115 and cruised past slowpokes. It had a decent CD player and I'd come prepared: outbound I listened to something I'd missed, and a genre I've only cursorily examined: Deutsche Elektronische Musik: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Musik 1972-1983, a fine survey released by Soul Jazz last year. It was quite something. I was familiar with the Harmonia, Can, Cluster and Neu tracks (I even shared a cab with Cluster at Dissonanze 2008 in Rome) but there were some super surprises, especially Michael Bundt's 'La Chasse Aux Microbes':

You can hear where the modern synth types Oneohtrix et al come from. Given the context, rural expanses rushing past the speeding vehicle, even the pastoral hippie twang of Popul Vuh and Amon Dul sounded good. See my pal Christo's review for RA here.

Ballarat itself was a decrepit shitheap. It might once have had charm, but was all washed out and overweight now: cracked and stained brickwork, rusted steeples, carparks, fast food chains and bogan pubs. I was there for a regional football club meeting - don't ask - and the members were a sorry, obese lot. To get into the spirit of the place I had one of these in the Camry before the meeting:
Ten minutes later I was back on the road, and listened to the first Hype Williams album on Carnival. It was dark now, the road was empty, and I needed my high beams. Hype Williams was terrifying:

Listened to Salem's 'King Night' after, but that seemed to be trying a little too hard. There's a dedicated 'Witch House' promoter at Killed In Cars which lends it credibility but I can't see much life left in that horse.

What worked a lot better was Portable's 'This Life of Illusion' / 'Find Me'. I featured his more recent single 'Inside Your Mind' here, but the more Portable we hear the better:

That brought me closer to home, traveling on my favourite stretch of Melbourne road the Citylink, particularly this curved bridge:
... where I listened to this:

Rather bogan of me, but there's nothing like the night, techno and cars.

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