Thanks to the metric system, ten is rightly an auspicious number. A period of 10 years usually denotes a period of major significance, whether it be a birthday or some sort of anniversary. Ten years is also the length of time the local collective Community Records had been in existence, starting from a two-person project to the collective outfit it is today. Saturday night was all about reflecting this progression over the years, with Community Records holding their 10th birthday bash at The Bakery.
Kicking things off in the DJ Silence Launch room was Tripl M.U.M, who highlights the global nature of hip hop by infusing his tracks with the sounds and rhythms found in the Eastern regions of the world. The follow-up, DVS was no less interesting. His previous sets have included reading from Moby Dick and with the Wisdom2th-produced Miss Origami in his repertoire, the love between the members of Community Records that exists is in clear abundance. Meanwhile, Maxybills on the main stage was starting things fresh with his brand of ‘future cosmic funky glooping resonance,’ which was fitting for what was coming up next.
Like the primordial substance from which he takes his namesake, YLEM played through a set that was part organic, part synthetic. His set of glitchy future beats incorporates samples from a broad range of genres, which is what you’d expect from an artist that names one of his releases from a Foley tape. On the other stage, Ourobonic Plague also lived up to the namesake, with the pounding industrial beats serendipitously synchronising with visual scenes of locusts tearing through crops.
The dapperly dressed Mathas, who had been acting as an impromptu Master of Ceremonies took to the stage in his natural habitat. Mathas is the emcee you want to introduce to those who speak disparagingly of Australian hip hop. From rhyming to mundane topics such as Doctor Shopping to sprawling tracks resembling a space opera (complete with sci-fi nods such as A Heart of Gold) the catalogue of Mathas is a refreshing break from the usual topics of drinking and partying. A rendition of the track White Sugar looked into the secret addiction that plagues most of us before he ended his set with thoughts of food of a different kind with Nourishment, a collaboration with local songstress Abbe May.
The man with the fro and robots took to other stage, in the form of Lenny Rudeburg, better known as Wisdom2th . Normally seen in the presence of Frobot, this time the emcee had two accomplices known only as ‘Voxel’ and ‘Defrag’. The Wisdom2th set contained tracks of which we all can relate to, such as the takeover of our lives with technology as well getting drunk and dancing like an idiot. Throughout the set, the visuals of Transformers only served to remind the audience of the recent nostalgia trend, as well as adding to Wisdom2th virtual army.
All of this served as preamble to NAIK’s visual show STELLATIONS, as well as his release of the single Solar Temples. For those wondering exactly what was going on with the dual icosahedrons on stage had their questions answered. Throughout the set, various images would be projected on the screen, with interesting outputs thanks to the angles of said icosahedrons. Not to be outdone, the use of live instrumentation served to complement what was on display with Solar Temples having an extra edge to its performance.
After that audio-visual fest, The Boost Hero Man took to his base behind the decks. Usually clad in a Mega Man styled outfit, the design got a reboot with brand new material as well as some high powered LEDS. As benefitting an artist that seems to come straight out of a video game, Boost Hero Man’s tracks sound like, and have titles reminiscent of the 16-bit video game era. This isn’t the only sound he covers though, G.I.R.L, with its funky horn breaks is a homage to the excellent Ghostfunk and had the audience bouncing along in time to his LED lights.
Diger Rokwell was next to climb on the main stage. A critical member of Community Records, his ever-interesting sets combine tracks that contribute to creating an atmosphere as opposed to slinging out singles. Never shy to include a wide array of sample and influences, you’re just as likely to hear the sounds of a sitar and a tabla sitting in amongst heavy drums and bass in his sessions.
Also celebrating a release was DJ Silence, with the aptly named EP In the Shadows. It would seem unthinkable to have a perfect summary of Community Records, but Silence pulled it off. In the best traditions of hip hop, all emcees that contributed to the EP and in attendance were just off the side of the decks, ready to perform their part for the DJ. Starting with the FG with the introspective track It Was Like That, FG was back to his familiar spot behind the mic, previously having done a DJ set in the same room a few hours earlier. This kick-started a flurry of mic trading amongst the emcees: Wisdom2th got back on stage to do Nightfall, even going so far to do Cash KRZMA’s verse. The Moments saw Empty get back on the mic whilst Stressed saw Mathas swap stages to do his thing. Capping off the release was the return of DVS and Odette Mercy for a rousing rendition of Rose Thorn, the passion of the two becoming contagious in the audience. The affable DJ continued with some “Old stuff and experimental tunes… You don’t have to watch” to finish off his set that demonstrated the hard work the man behind the decks has put in over the years.
The groove continued well into the morning hours with the last four acts. On the main stage was Arms in Motion, who slung a feet moving, crowd-pleasing set to keep the pulse raising for those still there at 1am, before handing over duties to the prodigal son ABLE 8, who has taken the somewhat unusual step of going from an emcee to producer; his set demonstrating his understanding of multiple hip hop facets.
For the more eclectic, Yarhkob put down a set of original beats on the other stage, his repertoire being able to go from experimental drum and brass, to tracks that are more traditional in a heartbeat. Yarhkob is clearly a man that digs diversity, his tracks pulling from a vast array of influences, with his time as part of Injured Ninja and other musical outfits not going to waste. Afterwards, Lowaski continued the organized chaos setup previously, continuing hard until closing time.
Despite the miserable weather, which did little to deter people, the night should be considered an absolute success in demonstrating what Community Records is all about. Two rooms packed back-to-back, crammed full of artists and supporters, both being pushed and challenged creatively. It was the sort of night where one wishes cloning techniques were available, that way one would be able to catch all 21 acts spread over two stages. In many ways, the story of Community Records reflects that of Perth, where constraints, rather than deterring creativity, spurs the mind to come up with ways to overcome such barriers.
By David Coffey