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August 8, 2011 | by  | in Music |
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Spotlight on: Axe Handal + Blade

What does Dunedin actually sound like? The lo-fi, garage, experimental ethos is something which the South Island’s second largest city has been associated with since Toy Love started letting loose those sweet jangly guitar licks ages ago (or perhaps more accurately, the 80s).

Dunedin is responsible for some of the most eclectic and influential music in our fair country’s history. More recently, Dunedin band TFF have upped the anti with their atonal, memerising (or, to others, perhaps nonsensical) jams that move in and out of the kind of experimental music ‘that people hate’. To my knowledge, TFF are partially responsible for re-drawing national attention back to the city with a long-standing tradition for its eclectic garage punky post-Flying Nun kickass. You may not have understood TFF, but hell, they pulled off a high-energy show. However, TFF’s former drummer Rory MacMurdo has relocated to Auckland and since begun a project of his own in the fashion of TFF: noise meets near-alien tonalities meets volume in a sound the kids call ‘no core’. Axe Handal + Blade is the collaboration of MacMurdo and Mickey Treadwell. On hearing Axe Handal, I got the feeling that MacMurdo was largely responsible for the explicit jams that had been TFF’s signature. MacMurdo is an absolute beast on the drums, and seems to gravitate stylistically from loud to louder. He has a blatently anti-commercial radio approach with his distorted sound—probably not a gig you’d take your granny to, but filled with the spirit and energy of an entire band ripping a room to shreds. His live performances seem to exceed his recordings in sheer energy and sound level, but hey, it’s hard to beat the amount of speed and sweat the guy puts out in his never-ending fills—it’s near bloodshed. Combined with distorted synths and a microphone strapped to his face, it falls impressively between musical insanity and post-punk noise synth-core (or something). While the recent of addition of Treadwell/Blade is yet to make its musical debut online, I suspect that it will not deviate too far from the MacMurdo’s signature no-core style—blood, sweat, tears and all.

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  1. Tony says:

    “…ages ago (or perhaps more accurately, the 80s)” Or, actually more accurately, 1978.

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