Taipan Tiger Girls

28 February 2015

A person who I’ve not met, and will not go on to meet, offers something in my direction. I politely decline and don’t make eye contact again. Eventually that person and their small group peel off, returning to their homes. Huddled in my big green Lindsay Weir jacket, I was too timid to join their discussion of Thurston Moore’s lost credibility following Kim Gordon’s book Girl in a Band. The group’s sophistication is alluring, but their decision not to continue on towards the Old Bar is highly questionable.

The night belongs to the album launch of Taipan Tiger Girl’s debut 1. Variants of ‘LP1’ have almost been rivalling eponymous self-titling recently. While I favour a worded title, I can’t deny the stark practicality of such a coded signifier. The cover art is minimal too: a shot of the band in motion barely visible through a fog of darkness.

I enter the Old Bar to the schizoid sound mutations of Antediluvian Rocking Horse. ARH’s scope goes beyond the typical notion of a disc jockey; the two scientifically manipulate their wild selection live to create music that stands alone. It is fascinating to watch their hands hover over the spinning records as though the turntable was the furthest extension of the arm. Four eyes intently focused on life at 33 1/3 rotations per minute. The scene is pure anarchy.  ARH have been refining the art of analogue screech spitting for longer than I’ve been alive.

On the projection screen behind the stage, a computer desktop error message transitions to a video installation by Exotic Forest. Ollie Olsen, the synthesiser maniac of Taipan Tiger Girls and occasional third member of Antediluvian Rocking Horse, makes hand gestures to the duo behind the decks. Brief silence. The crowd tilts its focus to the front. Several stages of force arise from Lisa MacKinney’s guitar in a slow rumble, exploring the potential of feedback. Elevated in the far back corner, a man with a face covered in tattoos yells ecstatically, brandishing a clenched fist. His whole body is covered in green ink too, but the sound swirls unfortunately cannot summon enough heat to tempt him to bare all.

Aggression strikes. Congealing the loose noise with tribal propulsion, drummer Mat Watson begins a marathon pounding of his kit. I’m sure tattoo man up back has thoroughly lost his shit by now, even if his shouting replies to new additions in the wicked soundscape are cannibalistically absorbed. My mind likewise has a mild freak-out, though it is just my right leg that responds to the beat. I had a glass of water, and then a glass of lemonade… where do I put my glasses? The basest response would be smashing them against a wall, bloodying my hands, adding the shattering of glass to the immense sound in the room. I keep my cool and smother the glass in sweaty grime throughout the set.

The solution is to dedicate all attention to the projection, which has moved beyond splayed colours to the textured sieving of sand particles into facial animation. Human minds form faces in all places. I’m fully mesmerised, nodding my head and smiling along. Psychedelic properties can’t be defined in music; there is a traditional conception, but ultimately it is the discretion of the listener. TTG transports me to an audio-visual realm separate to the norm. On this night, I experience true psychedelic music.

The individual songs on the album are melded into one monster punch of consistent momentum. I have no idea how long they play for and I don’t care. Given the perfect circumstances, I could rock out to TTG for a long time. The Old Bar is a swell venue, but the crowd are their predictable Melbourne selves, statue still. Near the front, a person of small stature is bouncing around. I would give up my prime view of Exotic Forest’s awesome projections to be with them. They get it. This is music to dance to, despite the stigma of abrasion associated with ‘noise’. Melodic beauty can emerge from a warped package.

The drums cease, then the guitar and synth. Appreciative applause, most enthusiastically by the tattoo man, follows as the united trio bow in front of us.

The crowd disperses and ARH commence again. Windowlicker by Aphex Twin plays, only this time people are dancing.

Taipan Tiger Girls are playing at Hootenanny #7 on October 24.

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