How the relationship between moving image and sound inspired The Spheres’ latest project

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How the relationship between moving image and sound inspired The Spheres’ latest project

Words by Tammy Walters

City of Darebin’s beloved Darebin Music Feast returns for its 23rd year with a mammoth 85 events taking place across 20 different venues in the inner north region.

Promoting the rich diversity of the Darebin community, the festival will showcase a wide array of artists and musicians across eight days in October through their consciously curated 2019 program.

The Thornbury Local will be transformed for Frank Bell, Nina Rose and Cate Taylor on Saturday October 20, Sherri Parry Trio on Friday October 25 and Tapsalteerie on Sunday October 27, while Wesley Anne boasts daily performances, with Alister Turrill, Jess Mahler Trio, Shaun Kirk and Esstee Big Band stepping onto the stage. As does Open Studio with Vardos Hungarian Extravaganza, Imogen Pemberton and the Cyclo Timik Dance Party.

Swamplands will be running a range of events to celebrate and represent music in all forms, including Living In Clip 2: Swamplands Second Annual Music Video Competition, Sirens and Songs: A Tribute to Australian Female Songwriters, Swampibold! The Inaugural Swamp Portrait Prize and they will host a number of album and single launches.

Also using the electricity and excitement of the Darebin Music Feast setting as a launch pad are audio-visual ensemble The Spheres. They make their return to music after a year-long break to launch their ambient recorded work, Grey Skies Blue, in the striking Northcote Uniting Church.

“The beautiful thing with Darebin Music Feast is that it’s in a beautiful historic church in Northcote, so to a large extent it’s like an independent gig. We have a lot of control over how we organise the supports and how we organise the space and how we run things, and even how we control the ambience of the entire room,” says The Spheres founder, Guy Harris.

What they have planned is just as spectacular as the setting. With The Spheres being known for their experimental approach to composition and forging a relationship between sound and sight to create an immersive experience, the Northcote Uniting Church will be transformed into a cinematic haven for the live musical performance.

“We’re quite interested in an expanded cinema approach to our projection art. We’ll be projecting accompanying visuals and short films across three screens using multiscreen projection.

“As a band, we are really interested in that beautiful, magical relationship between the moving image and sound, so the musical component and the visual component are very closely linked. For the Grey Skies Blue release there is an experimental documentary that I have made with a collaborator that will be shown in its entirety in the Grey Skies Blue composition whiff,” he says.

“That will essentially be the first half of our set, and in the second half we will be moving out of our ambient mode into something more driving and more rhythmic. That’s where we will be transitioning into our more rock, postpunk mode. There will be accompanying visuals for that part too. The accompanying visuals help to communicate a narrative or a story. It’s going to be quite special.”

As for the heavenly sonics, Grey Skies Blue maintains the dreamscape sequences of their former bodies of work Lighthouse Symphonia, A Song For Your Sleep, Haryana, and Audible Lines with the slow building crescendos, the colourful layers of violin, piano, guitar, bass and drums, and the euphoric morendo.

“We’re very different from a rock’n’roll setup where it’s a one, two, three, four count in and then going for it and it’s very compact verses and choruses. In The Spheres, it’s very elongated and takes the audience and listener on a journey, which I suppose is what is beautiful about it,” Harris says. “Songs can range between seven and 20 minutes.”

The Spheres’ album launch takes place on Saturday October 26 at Northcote Uniting Church from 7pm as part of Darebin Music Feast. Tickets are available at the door. Darebin Music Feast is happening from Sunday October 20 until Sunday October 27, more info via