Hawk-eyed clock-watching finally pays off: 9PM on Friday night finally ticks over. I sign out of work and make the mad dash from the sales floor to what is undoubtedly going to be a heaving dance floor at The Forum. I arrive a few minutes into Om Unit laying down breakneck 170BPM. Anyone who tells you drum and bass is dead is absolutely full of shit: Om Unit keeps a steady, relentless momentum up that has the crowd of Melbourne’s resident cool kids and weird units moving. It’s all whip-crack snares and basslines that rattle in your chest deftly mixed with the light touch of a master at work – the kind of pared-back and unfathomably deep footwork and jungle sounds Om Unit has been fronting of late with the likes of labels like Exit and Civil. Clearly, something is working, even despite the bizarre sampling of Lorde’s Royals at one point: it’s not even ten and a circle of people skanking hard has already formed. I am impressed. Om Unit rounds out his set with a smile and a wave, letting Melbourne’s own Silent Jay provide the soundtrack to the interlude between the two main acts. A rising star within Melbourne’s beats scene, Silent Jay’s productions provide a welcome
I haven’t seen Steven Ellison aka Flying Lotus in action since he played the Summadayze circuit a few years back – an impressive set albeit in what couldn’t possibly be a more inappropriate context (harsh summer sunshine and the peak of the day’s heat). Since then Ellison has soared to even greater heights: Brainfeeder is home to one of the most enviable rosters of talent in electronica, Ellison’s third album Until the Quiet Comes was a remarkable artistic achievement lauded by both the underground and mainstream. And his newly-refreshed stage show, Jesus. Layer 3 is an impressive multidisciplinary achievement: three screens showing off strange, abstract visuals that flash forth and change as quickly as the direction of FlyLo’s strange and compelling musical world. One might suspect that it would all become a little too overwhelming at times, but one of Ellison’s many talents is knowing how to balance it all out – the flashes of hyper colour, hallucinatory visuals playing back and forth off each other are a visual delight that pairs perfectly with the wonky, bass-heavy experiments that FlyLo drops throughout the course of his set. Taking the heaving, packed-out crowd through a journey that encompasses all four of his albums, there’s something there for everybody – and when Ellison finally closes out the stage complete with two bras nicked from God knows where and the promise he’ll be back soon enough, I’m walking on jelly legs tired from the furious dancing and full of euphoria.
BY MIKI MCLAY
Loved: FlyLo’s dazzling visuals.
Hated: Tall people, as a 5”0 girl.
Drank: Sparkling white.