Saturday, 26 May 2012

Aktion Unit - Harsh Shit Reality (2008-11)

Dan Lewis and I formed Aktion Unit in 2007, with the intention of making loud, messy experimental noise music. I think we succeeded.

The music is always completely improvised, which is perfect, as we never have to rehearse, write songs, or even talk about what we are going to do on stage. This appeals to my sense of spontaneity and (more importantly) my laziness.

To keep things fresh, we usually invite guest musicians to play with us. Again, we don’t give them any instructions as to our game plan – there just isn’t one. Anything can happen, and it usually does. Depending on our mood and the circumstances of the performance (venue, crowd, other bands, sound facilities), Aktion Unit’s sound can range from “pretty” ambience to complete cacophony.

Dan is the master manipulator of gadgets, pedals, loops and keyboards, while I usually stick to bass or guitar. My approach to these instruments can be percussive and rhythmical, or as tools to create drones and textures. I tend not to use many effects though, preferring to use the sonic capabilities of the physical instrument and over-driven amplification.

Whenever possible, I’ll document our performances on a little digital recorder. Dan has put a lot of these recordings up on Aktion Unit’s blog. Occasionally, when we venture out on tour, we might burn a few CDs to sell, but never in huge numbers. Thus, our output and very existence as a group are kind of ephemeral – and we like it that way.

We like to confuse people. The name Aktion Unit deliberately references an American experimental outfit by the name of Dream/Aktion Unit, and of course, the title and graphics of our CD Harsh Shit Reality (2008) appropriate the classic noise-rock album Harsh 70s Reality by New Zealand band The Dead C.

This download compiles four performances that took place between 2008 and 2011, and feature some of our regular collaborators, such as Dimitra Bucolo (Aux Assembly), Matt Gleeson (The Stabs), Leith Thomas (Dead Boomers), and vocalist Daisy Buchanan. The four pieces go for around 15 minutes each, which is the average length of our shows, and are quite different to each other in mood and musical approach. 

1. Harsh Shit Reality
2. Angel Smear
3. Cardboard Crown
4. Nest Of Vipers 

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