Ladyz in Noyz by Gail Priest

Predominantly a Melbourne activity run by Lara Soulio, this was a tour to promote the CD compilation of the same name, with gigs in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Newcastle (Soulio is extending the work of Marlo Eggplant’s US compilations through Corpus Callosum). While there has been reluctance in the past few years (in Sydney at least) to create separate women’s sound events, it feels as though Ladyz in Noyz has a celebratory, non-righteous agenda that releases it from concerns about ghettoisation. The ladyz vibe was nicely reinforced by the venue, The Red Rattler in Marrickville, a fully legal artist-run theatre established by a collective of women in 2009, which has been a godsend to the alternative performing arts.

Refreshingly, there were four acts from out of town that I hadn’t heard before. Rites Wild (Adelaide) presented a set of songs made from big dirty synth sounds, pared back drumming (by a male) and distorted war chant vocals creating a Nico-esque dirge. Daisy Buchanan (Melbourne) on keyboard offered blizzards of shredded descending tones and dark, folky vocals, heavy on apocalyptic atmosphere. I particularly enjoyed Oranj Punjabi (Melbourne) who used a tabletop full of pedals and electrical boxes, setting up drones by singing into an electro-hacked tin can, her metallic thumps and big delays reminiscent of early industrial music. Finally Festive Jackals (Lismore/Melbourne) sculpted vocal utterances into thick layers of buzzy fuzz, their delayed shouts escalating into a nightmare soundscape that might have pleased Dante.

While each of these artists had their own methodologies, there were strong similarities in their dirty fuzz, bassy drones, submerged vocals and sudden stops. Onnie Art (Melbourne) offered a slightly different approach working with voice, electronics and objects (a tape measure flicked savagely) creating a more chaotic, comic performance. Kusum Normoyle (Sydney) gave us the most physical and brutal set, her screaming and feedback assault deftly crafted to form a thick but detailed noisescape. Normoyle aside (her signature is brevity), I was surprised that all sets barely topped 15 minutes. While particularly sensitive to artists overstaying their welcome I couldn’t shake the feeling that these ladyz should boldly demand more of our time.

While not yet a regular Sydney event, Ladyz in Noyz is certainly an interesting addition to the sound landscape. Lara Soulio has plans to make it happen here again, hopefully with more local involvement.

This is an excerpt from the article part 1: sydney scenes & sound

This article is reproduced with the permission of the publisher of RealTime, Open City, and the writer.

Image caption: Daisy Buchanan, Ladyz in Noyz, Adelaide, photo Spoz