Square Sounds is a festival dedicated to dance music of a slightly less mainstream variety. No, I’m not talking about ‘less mainstream’ in relation to international EDM, I’m talking so far away from the radar of mainstream music appreciation that there’s a good chance that the majority of Melbourne’s electronic afficionadoes and boutique gear collectors would raise more than one eyebrow at this lineup.
Square Sounds is named for the iconic visual representation of the square wave – the harsh, unrelenting synthesised tone that we associate with 8-bit video game soundtracks and arcade machines. Square Sounds is dedicated to artists that utilise this aesthetic, calling themselves Chiptune or simply 8-Bit, and emulate the 70’s-80’s hardware sounds using vintage gear (think actual Atari 2800’s) or through tweaking modern synthesisers.
The only festival of it’s kind in Australia, Square Sounds is partially funded by a highly successful Pozible crowdfunding campaign, which managed to bring out artists from Japan, Europe and The Americas. Take a listen to DKSTR and NNNNNNNNNN for the purest example of what these artists are all about. It’s harsh, it’s abrasive and listening to it in public might make you look like a bit of a Weeaboo, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t make for an interesting day out. If you’re looking for something a little different to listen to this weekend, then the Square Sounds lineup might be for you.
While most artists on the lineup take their influence from the tech side of things, the 8-Bit aesthetic fits well into other, less intense genres. Peaches the Wale adopts drum and bass, which works surprisingly well with brutal square wave bass lines, while Canada’s J. Arthur Keenes Band finds solace in a classic indie sound with that trademark Canadian weirdness.
The full lineup is below, check out the official website for more details on the artists. The event will take place over two evenings from about 7pm (28th – 29th March) at The Evelyn Hotel. A two day pass setting you back just over $60 or a single day for a little over $30. This event welcomes some the nations more munted computer nerds among it’s fanbase, so don’t be scared if there are a disproportionate number of people wearing fedoras indoors. Remember, friendship is magic.
THE J ARTHUR KEENES BAND (CA)
SEXY SYNTHESISER (JP)
X IN O (BNE)
NO CARRIER (US)
PEACHES THE WALE
MADDEST KINGS ALIVE