Australian Music Vault adds exhibits from The Bad Seeds, The Presets and B(if)tek

The Australian Music Vault has announced new exhibits of electronic music gear from The Bad Seeds, The Presets and B(if)tek.

The new exhibits are part of AMV’s dedicated electronic music exhibit, curated in conjunction with Mess Electronic Sound Studio (MESS) through March 2023. The exhibit features machinery used by music creators The Bad Seeds, The Presets and B(if)tek. The exhibition explores the long and diverse history of electronic music in Australia, with this exhibition focusing on two main themes: made in Australia and used in Australia.

“In the ‘made in’ section we feature the Optronics workstation (with the incredibly rare UK made VCS-1), Transaudio synths built here in Melbourne ca. 1975, the ETI 4600 and Fairlight paraphernalia,” said MESS co-founder Robin Fox.

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“In the ‘used in’ section we have a sampler used by The Bad Seeds, a Korg MS-10 used by The Presets, a B(if)tek drum machine and a toy musical synth that featured in the duo’s work. Plastic Platypus at the Clifton Hill Community Arts Center Concert Series in the late 1970s.

“Music has been and always will be the basis of celebration and electronic music is no exception. But there is more to the story. The history of electronic sound and music is also the history of innovation and extraordinary creation,” Fox said.

The exhibition brings together a variety of electronic genres and technical innovations, some of which have conquered the world. From the early experiments of Percy Grainger, through the radical works of composers like Keith Humble, Ros Bandt and Cindy John, to more recent work by musicians such as Gotye, Severed Heads, Alison Wonderland, Kardajala Kirridarra and The Presets, electronic instruments have provided musicians with the means to work beyond the boundaries of traditional music.

“Electronic music is often unfairly dismissed simply as a vehicle for drug-fueled hedonism,” Fox continued. “At MESS, we work to educate people about all the more there is to it. Sculpting sound with tension is a beautiful artistic alchemy. When you turn tension into audible information, you literally massage one fundamental forces of the universe and use this information to communicate feelings and ideas that are almost impossible to express in words.

MESS is a unique non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of sound and electronic music in all its forms. At the heart of the MESS is an extensive collection of over 500 rare electronic sound and musical machines.

MESS is dedicated to the preservation and accessibility of these machines with the collection used both to showcase and preserve the history of electronic music, and to support the creation of electronic sound and music in all its forms in a welcoming and accessible space. Reservations to use the collection can be made through the MESS website.

As a living collection, all MESS instruments are available for anyone and everyone to play at their publicly accessible studio in North Melbourne. They are also used in live performances by members, resident artists and by the MESS Synthesizer Orchestra.

The MESS collection contains instruments from many important moments in the history of electronic sound. This includes the invention of the internationally significant computer musical instrument Fairlight, the groundbreaking curriculum of the Department of Music at Melbourne’s La Trobe University, and the creative output of the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre. The Fairlight CMI synthesizer, an Australian invention, became an international sensation used by Michael Jackson, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and Stevie Wonder.

The MESS exhibition will be at the Australian Music Vault until March 2023. Admission is FREE.

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