Were you at any of these great Random Acts of Elevator Music performances? This list is gradually being built, so check in from time to time if the gig you were at isn’t yet listed…. And get in touch if you can add to any slightly vague details here, I’m keen to update as new facts come to light!
Unless otherwise stated, these gigs took place in Melbourne.
Empress Hotel, North Fitzroy: 20th of December, 2003
The first Random Acts of Elevator Music performance was at the Empress Hotel in North Fitzroy for the Clan Analogue event The Electronica Before Christmas. We had originally intended that Random Acts of Elevator Music performances would only take place in office building lifts as a guerilla operation. We had a meeting earlier in the year to propose this as part of the Next Wave Festival however they were sceptical as to whether we could actually infiltrate office buildings in this way. We decided it would be a good idea to do some gigs in normal venues to get the ball rolling on writing material and gain confidence in performance. Plus we had to get used to using portable gear rather than the vanload of synths I was used to carrying around. Playing at The Electronica Before Christmas was particularly fun as we played with our friends Koshowko and Winduptoys. There is apparently a recording of this performance somewhere, will try to dig it up. And it was reviewed on furthernoise.org who had this to say:
RAEM are as much a concept as they are sonic duo with the unique agenda of introducing experimental sounds into the corporate sphere by jumping into lifts full of suited workers and performing their music with synths and laptops… Their set starts with airy digital glissandos and subtle crystalline melodies, revealing a spiky metronome rhythm with analogue washes and sequences of an oscillating Jupiteresque sine wave melody, somewhere in the ballpark of Autobahn or Trans Europe Express. Layers continue to build and fall away before dropping back to the original percussie rhythm with eventually drops to a soundscape of ambient minimal tones reflecting a more melancholy, contemplative mood. With fingers poised on portamento, pitchbent tones start to appear within the mix and when punctuated by insect like rhythms become very floaty as the mood changes again to a simple elevating melody. The sounds and textures are very gentle and musical if slightly dated but an interesting, innovative project by Nick Wilson and Matt Adair. Certainly a great antidote to the clinical crap that is normally pumped through these buildings as well as highlighting issues around post 9/11 security paranoia and the nature of corporate workplace environments.
Loop Bar, 13th of June, 2004
The first Electundra Festival was a two-night lineup of electronic and experimental music artists playing at Loop. This became an annual festival for several years, organised by Kent MacPherson of Legs For Fish. We were a bit ambivalent about playing these kinds of shows in venues as we had intended for Random Acts of Elevator Music performances to be purely Situationist-style infiltrations of corporate buildings to play to unsuspecting office workers in lifts. But people seemed to like our sets at events like Electundra and nobody seemed to want to fund our crazy live performance ideas any time soon.
Bar Open, sometime in 2004?
We did a performance sometime around this era on a Sunday night at Bar Open in Fitzroy on a regular post-rock night called “Weave” that was organised by the guys in This Is Your Captain Speaking. If anyone can supply any details on this I would be grateful!
Fitzroy Town Hall, September or October 2004?
A showcase event was organised, possibly by the Melbourne Fringe Festival, at the Fitzroy Town Hall. It felt strange with our micro setup to be playing on such a large stage. I don’t remember who else played. If anyone has any details, please get in touch!
Loop Bar, 12th of June, 2005
Electundra was back for an expanded festival this year, with acts playing over four nights. We were lucky to play on opening night, along with Winduptoys, Koshowko and some other cool acts. This year the festival incorporated more non-electronic acts, such as post-rock bands and experimental jazz groups. It was also interesting to see how jazz groups were starting to incorporate electronic music into their playing.
Loop Bar, 14th of June, 2006
By memory we played at the Electundra Festival for a third year in a row, with footage for our new “Lunchtime Meditation Session” video clip used as a live video performance by Object_State to project behind us as we played.
Horse Bazaar, 20th of September, 2006
This set was for Clan Analogue‘s monthly Hump night on a Wednesday evening at Melbourne CBD venue Horse Bazaar. This night was a warmup to prepare for our 2006 Melbourne Fringe performances in Melbourne office building lifts. Also on the bill were Fluffy T and DJ Winduptoy. Somehow the venue was double-booked with a 50th birthday party so wasn’t the best environment to listen to our stuff.
35 performances in multiple buildings throughout Melbourne CBD, 2nd to 13th of October, 2006
We performed in the Melbourne CBD over two weeks in October 2006 for the Melbourne Fringe Festival, playing in the lifts of 35 buildings during office hours. Despite the many requests and compliments sent to our website by office workers, the building managers in 12 of these buildings saw fit to evict us from the premises while we were still partway through our set. However we were unbowed and continued our way through the city, having many adventures along the way and spreading sonic joy everywhere we went. We were actually pleasantly surprised that we were able to play complete sets without eviction in around two-thirds of the buildings we visited. For details on every performance over this fortnight check out the 2006 Tour Diary. The 17th performance, in the Manchester Unity Building, was recorded and released as our Elevator 17 Google app.
Horse Bazaar, 15th of November, 2006
Another performance at the Clan Analogue Hump night, this time after we had been road-tested with over 30 performances in the Melbourne Fringe Festival of 2006. Also on the bill were DJ Zaziz and Fly-By-Wire.
Melbourne Fringe Launch, 1st of September, 2009 (need to check location)
For the launch of the Melbourne Fringe 2009 program we were invited to perform in the lift of the building. This was a nice way for media people and other artists to hear us as they came into the building.
Fringe Club, North Melbourne, 25th of September, 2009 (need to check exact location)
The Fringe Club was a way for artists participating in the Melbourne Fringe to play short showcase sets. There was a party vibe there every night and it was a good way to expose your work to other artists. I remember a great stand-up set by Tom Ballard this night too. We played a quite noise-oriented version of our track “Lunchtime Meditation Session”. Probably didn’t quite match the party vibe the club was going for, but whatever.
Performances in 20 buildings throughout Melbourne CBD, from 28th of September to 2nd of October, 2009
Our 2009 tour of CBD lift buildings was funded by the Australia Council, which enabled us to play one week in Melbourne and one in Sydney. Our Melbourne leg was included in the Melbourne Fringe Festival. See our 2009 Tour Diary for details.
Bar 303, 30th of September, 2009
Part of our 2009 Australia Council-funded tour, this set was at Outpost, a monthly laptop jam night. Headlining each month was an open membership thing were computer geeks would network up their computers for an improv set – cutting edge in those days before Ableton Live introduced Link and any of that stuff!
Performances in 15 buildings throughout Sydney CBD, from 7th to 9th of October, 2009
Our schedule permitted three days of performances in Sydney CBD office buildings. On the third day we headed to the North Sydney CBD for something different. See our 2009 Tour Diary for details.
Don’t Look Gallery, Dulwich Hill, 9th of October, 2009
This was a fun performance playing in the window of a gallery space in Dulwich Hill. No liquor license so punters could make a donation and get a free beer. Halfway through the set Matt’s batteries started to die and his setup shut down. I improvved with a synth drone for 10 minutes while Matt got out his pliers and rewired the batteries in series to get his logic board back up and running. Seemed to impress the audience with some live geekness in the moment. Great support set from Shannon O’Neill too.
Excelsior Hotel, Surry Hills, 11th of October, 2009
Our last Sydney performance before heading back to Melbourne, this was an afternoon set at a regular event called Wreckovery. A band called Familia were on the bill – they were some kind of gothic industrial rock thing with a former member of Caligula. And this one was videoed by Neil Bateman. Check it out!
Glitch Bar & Cinema, 16th of October, 2009
Possibly our best-ever performance, at Glitch Bar and Cinema in North Fitzroy. This night was organised by Damiano Verna of Tempest Records if I remember correctly. After playing multiple times a day and a stack of evening shows too over the last few weeks we were a tight outfit for this night, and this gave us the confidence and scope to cut loose and really have fun with the improv elements of our set. David Thrussell, of Snog and Black Lung fame, DJed in the front bar. Here is a live recording from the night:
Loop Bar, November, 2009 (need to find exact date)
Some evidence has come to light that we played at Electundra Festival again in 2009. I don’t have much memory of this and need to find out which night we played. Hopefully someone can supply some more details! We do have a recording though:
Bar 303, 24th of September, 2016
After not having played for seven years, we did some repairs to the gear, relearned the music and performed at the launch of the Analogue Redux compilation at Bar 303, part of Clan Analogue’s three-night festival in the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Also playing were Black Lung, Miles Cosmo, Ming, Damian Tangram, Cocoon, BluNjin and Wonderfeel. We managed to kick arse (in an ambient way).
Bar 303, 15th of September, 2017
This night was called Digital Envelope, an event put on by Clan Analogue as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. The theme was new explorations of digital electronic music. We launched our self-titled album while Aeriae launched his highly-recommended Peril Triage EP. Also on the bill were Ross Bencina, iubar project and WiLL-i-ROMS (the other half of Random Acts of Elevator Music doing his solo soundcard modding set).
Workshop Bar, 24th of October, 2017
A Tuesday night performance at Workshop Bar in the city, for a night called Harmonics, has so far been our last performance. A bunch of my students came along, got drunk and cheered loudly, which was nice. Great sets from my Clan Analogue colleagues Michael Mildren and iubar project also. Ming DJ’ed between live acts.
Check out the extensive information about this project on the official Random Acts of Elevator Music website and the links below.