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Whenever someone asks me if I’ve seen the film Drive I’m usually confronted with one of the two following questions; “Don’t you just love the soundtrack?” or “Why didn’t Ryan Gosling take his shirt off?”. Today we’re going to address the less moronic former question. That soundtrack featured plenty of cool, atmospheric synth driven tunes, but if there ever was a darker, murkier, elevator murder-ier sequel then that soundtrack wouldn’t do. So if the film scoring committee will allow it, I’d like nominate Buzz Kull.

Buzz Kull

Sydney’s Buzz Kull currently have a monopoly on the local darkwave game, and now is the time to get in on the action. Catch them this Friday at Jam Gallery!

Made up of Rebecca Liston and Marcel Whyler, the Sydney based duo have been chasing the music dream together since 2012 and have steadily built up a dedicated following of their brooding electronica. You’ve heard of this chillwave thing that’s driving all the kids wild yes? Well this is definitely not that. The band’s self described genre of “darkwave” may sound like a shitty Batman villain, but it is a pretty accurate way to describe their music.

The musical arrangements are all simple enough; drums, synth on synth on synth, and distant, washed out vocals. What is truly striking about Buzz Kull is their consistently foreboding tone. This isn’t me saying the band are bad; far from it actually, they are quite talented and their knack for keeping the listener engaged despite the moroseness on the surface of it all is a testament to their songwriting ability.

Their last EP Heat is a good place to get acquainted with Buzz Kull. Once you get over the brooding nature of the synths on Remote Dreams it becomes quite apparent how beautiful they are. Yes they’re droning and dark, but as each part overlaps with another they become a wall of sound that simultaneously carries the melody and rhythm. Meanwhile Bedroom Highs offers a faster tempo with the synths playing second fiddle to the pounding drums which propel the track forward. Whyler’s voice, which is usually camouflaged amongst the the washed out production takes a little more precedence to compensate for the more prevalent percussion.

Echo Planes is the song that best represents all these elements and is the ice-breaker during the first encounter with Buzz Kull. All the key ingredients are there; the beat pulses and jerks you forward as one droning synth part creates an atmosphere full of ambiguity while the other ignites with electric excitement. If Batman threw a birthday party chances are this song would be on his iPod. Or BatPod.

Sometimes the music seems at odds with itself, like the opening synths and drums on the previously mentioned Echo Planes, but that unsettling nature is all a part of Buzz Kull’s stride. They’re not making music for you to dance the night away to. It may be primarily electronic but the spirit of this band definitely sits within post-punk with its dark tones and introspective attitude.

Buzz Kull are due for new music soon, so there’s no better place to hear it then this week’s JAWS event at Jam Gallery in Bondi and will be playing alongside Skeggs and Twin Haus this Friday 14. So if you’re hankering for some darkwave this weekend then you’ll know exactly where to go!

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November 12, 2014