With pressure for club spaces to become bigger, brighter and bolder there’s increasing urgency among more measured music consumers to engages more whole-heartedly with the experience of really listening. Classic Album Sundays, Mister Saturday Night’s Planetarium and Microdosing in Manchester all cater to a more reflective approach, with senses more focussed on maximising the response to sound.
Over in Perth, Free Spirits have been trying this too. Set up by percussionist and producer Phil Stroud with Perth local hero and Move captain Ben Taaffe, it was a platform for local musicians and audiences to “perform and listen deeply”, using experimentation, improvisation, spiritual connection and contemplation to “pushing their experience of music further”.
Phil has expanded the vision to Melbourne since his move, aided by local record collector and DJ Umut, and Free Spirits today launches as a label. The concept is to present a series of long-form meditations from a diverse mix of Australian musicians and producers, each accompanied by a shorter radio edit and visuals from local photographers and filmmakers. Phil leads out the first release with the percussive rumination of ‘Season Suite’. The ‘Winter’ edit focuses on the continuous chiming bells and sporadic low frequencies, locating the music on a cliff edge, with wind howling all around and waves crashing below. The accompanying video (above) is produced by photographer Andrew Kuypers.