Stina Thomas + Chrism and Fenris + The Leap Year
WA, 7000, Australia.
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I’ve almost run out of ways to fawn over classically trained electronic composer and sound artist Stina Thomas. But last Sunday I realised there could be no end to it – there was simply too much nuance to her plinky instrumentals, too much to keep unpacking and be moved by. She played as she always does, on a little table with her little Korg and laptop, black hair peaking over a face clenched in concentration. She included at least one new-ish track, a synth flute ridden piece broader in scope than usual, and it crowned another diminutive but lordly set from her.
If Chrism and Fenris were cartoons their keyboards would be played by arms extending out of a violent dust cloud, such are the logistics of two dudes moving around two ironing boards laden with Commodore 64s, mixers and pedals to play loosely planned, largely improvised electronic noise. At times it’s like the song exists only in a memory constantly rethought by a vaguely related beat, but Chrism and Fenris are also more hip-hop these days, with a few genuine rhythms amongst the Atari Teenage Riot endings. They come across better these days than they have in years.
The Leap Year somehow manage to be both slow and mainly minor while also being very engrossing. Only a new band to Perth, but formerly old Melbourne band Minor Ache, they play with confidence and a lot of wry humour. They also play with power belying the relaxed strumming speed of all three non-drummers, and ardor belying their self-deprecating remarks about each other and cancer. (“Cancer isn’t funny. It’s not good stand up material… which of course is why we’re all here.”) The might of their songs left the night with a bereaved glow and a strong urge to see them again.
by Matt Giles