Various Artists – Domestic Documents Vol.1

In an age where everything is available to anybody and the only borders that exists are within the irrational mind, a sense of community is slowly unravelling, and while on a socio-political level this has its benefits, in music this has created something of a void. It’s a void where anything akin to a scene or a group artistic ideology is absent today and artists operate mostly in an individualist and narcissistic void. A musical or artistic community creates an impetus for new musical genres, styles and movements to exist at its most extreme level, while at a fundamental it nurtures a motivation to create. In the reflective pool of the “digital age” where any sense of real social engagement is lost in the conflated opinion of the self, a continuous monologue with a computer screen lacks the essential elements to create a community. In such a landscape it is unique for a dialogue to exist amongst artists, who fall into the same habit of the active social media commentator, and bolsters very little other than their own introspective artistic moment.

 

There are however still musical communities out there, obscured by the overwhelmingly generic and passed over by the media who aren’t able to fetishize the artistic endeavour with a nuanced turn of phrase. Domestic Documents Vol.1 represents such a community. Compiled by Butter Sessions and Noise in my Head, the compilation presents a host of newcomer artists from across Australia, and from the far-reaching corners of electronic music’s wide spectrum. Comprised of artists who you are unlikely to have encountered before, Domestic Documents Vol.1 is a slice of the here and now in electronic music from Australia, without succumbing to gimmick or trend. Without any particular style affixed to the collection of artists and tracks, the compilation has a timeless quality to it, where although the individual pieces are disparate, there’s something focussed about them too, not in terms of sonic aesthetic, but rather in terms of an ideology.

Grounded in what seems to be analogue electronic dance music, the artists seem to work outside of the fashionable, with music that harks back to those intrinsic qualities that made House, Techno, Electro, EBM and Drum n Bass so appealing in their initial stages. From Albrecht La’ Brooy’s deep melodic House soliloquy, Hospital Road to Turner Street Sound’s dubby Drum n Bass Stoned Mix, the tracks contained within this compilation won’t establish anything that hasn’t been around before, but they do focus on getting the best possible results from those key ingredients that make up a genre. There’s a definite quality that exists there, people that do what they do well. They remind the listener of music that defined a genre or a time and continues to charm in a way that you think you might have heard them all before. They are familiar, but refrain from boredom and very rarely feel complacent.

After the dub-orientated House and Techno from the A-side it’s the B-side that particularly catches the listener’s attention for its focus on the more energetic and marginalised corners of Dance/Club music. The reserved pace of Cale Sexton’s introspective Electro that calls to mind Aphex Twin in its haunting melodic phrases, sets the tone. From there the pace increases as does the energy through Self Servant from Multiple Mann, a particularly ferocious 80’s style body music track, followed by the sound of Mills in Detroit from Lucy Cliché and Other World. The B-side is a definite highlight for this writer, but it shouldn’t deflect from the rest of the compilation as each side of each record, slices off another piece of club music history without being blatantly obvious or disrespectful. In an era of club music where everything has been done before it’s refreshing to hear a group of artists taking the time and doing it right, a trait often passed over these days as they head off into the abyss of hype and popularity in search of the unattainable new thing. Even the excessive hiss throughout Daze’s Vision Suite does little to dissuade and just adds to the overall manmade charm of the record.

Break beats with subtle pads; 4/4 kicks swathed dub textures; innocent synth melodies sitting comfortably amongst simple house grooves; and a warm analogue feel throughout, sums up Domestic Documents Vol.1. There’s no new genre that this community brings with it, nor will it succumb to some new cultural hype, but it is compromised of a series of tracks that looks towards a quality in craftsmanship, and this certainly and this relays that sense of community here.