Kučka - Pic by Rachael Barrett
Kučka – Pic by Rachael Barrett

Lower Spectrum / James Ireland

The Bird

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Moving from strength to strength, Kučka is a group continually evolving their style and sound. Having just completed their first national tour on the back the release of their biggest single to date, Unconditional, which has been all over RTRFM and Triple J, it was a homecoming celebration for the talented trio.

To make the evening even more special they’d enlisted the help of a couple other stellar local electronic artists. James Ireland kicked things off early on, providing some deep, techy vibes for the crowd, who were happy to mill about enjoying a few bevvies inside, or chill out in the packed but cosy confines of the beer garden.

Another man who’s recently released a new EP is the massively talented producer and live electronic artist Lower Spectrum, the pseudonym of ex-Melbourne- , now Perth-based luminary Ned Beckley, who’s been making waves with a string of consistently quality original tracks and remixes. The latest in his canon is Traces, a solid six tracks of the finest glitchy, bassy, lush, tech sounds around. The start of his set saw many of the crowd jump up from their positions and make a b-line to front of stage. A tight, albeit short live set, with a stunning visual backdrop of high-definition projections of flashing, spinning shapes and patterns; Beckley never fails to impress, and worked his way through a selection of material including several tunes lifted from his latest release such as Khlever and Hex.

But tonight was all about Kučka, and after a short break, as the band assembled their rather formidable array of electronic equipment onstage, the lights dimmed, the stage lit up from the bright white screen behind them and the heavy beat dropped.

The three-piece’s live show is polished from a national tour, and they have a striking stage presence. Vocalist and songwriter Laura Jane Lowther takes centre stage, with long purple hair and a shiny, puffy skirt, her doll-like figure gently swayed to beat as her angelic voice floated across the room.

She was flanked to the right by Katie Campbell (aka Catlips), who kept things locked down with her impressive live beat skills and long green locks, tapping away on the pads. To the left, Jake Steele (aka Yarhkob) played analog synths and manipulated a variety of equipment.

While the group have a fair amount of material in their back catalogue, tonight their setlist comprised of all new songs, signalling a bit of change in direction and intention to move forwards, with a heavier, darker sound that lends itself well to a live club show – more dancefloor oriented numbers that had the crowd moving to the beat.

Opening track Divinity was a more atmospheric tune, before picking things up a little. The new tracks still have that distinct Kučka sound – a certain downtempo ominous groove, speckled with samples of found sounds. Deep pools of throbbing bass, stark, snappy beats and shimmering synths combined with Lowther’s quirky, effect-drenched vocals conjure a spooky, other-worldly sound, like the soundtrack to a macabre fairytale.

At first her voice was a bit low in the mix but this was soon thankfully rectified, as her gorgeously constructed vocals are a crucial instrument in the music, creating a floaty melodic layer above the heavier rhythms.

The wobbly bassline of the infectious single Unconditional was received warmly by the crowd, who grooved away to the track’s saccharine sweet retro vibe. Several other new tunes were given a live workout, Flux 98 and Gongg, displaying some interesting ideas, before wrapping the set with the two-steppy beat and frantic percussion of Recovery.

With another new single out in a month or so, an EP coming early next year, and having landed a slot on the upcoming CoLab festival, it wont be long before we get to hear more of the new material from this intriguing, unique and talented local band, who look set to take things to the next level in the new year.