Extraordinary, institution free, exploratory music from the suburbs of the Hunter region.
My history of listening to the music of Shaun Leacy, is quite a long one. Firstly around 15 years ago he was a member of Newcastle/Sydney collective Castings. Not only were Castings a formative local group for a young me, but they ran the world-shaping Yvonne Ruve music space in Hibernian House behind Central Station.
After years of silence Shaun returned as Suburban Cracked Collective in 2017 via cassettes on Altered States Tapes and Chemical Imbalance. His self-released vinyl-debut Private Failings was a favourite of last year’s and this year’s Swimming Amongst The Dregs is even more engaging.
The music of Suburban Cracked Collective is beautiful but with a deeply human uneasiness. I think this human uneasiness makes it relatively accessible, while very much existing on the fringe of any obvious musical scene or tradition.
The key instruments on this album seem to be synthesizer and an assortment of drums played in a free-jazz-meets-electroacoustic manner. The closest point of reference for me would be figures like Maurizio Bianchi or Robert Turman, acts that were continuing the work of concrete composers and kosmiche synth-heads into the post-punk/industrial era.
I could even see SCC as a contemporary of Andrew Chalk and Timo Van Luijk, or someone that in a better world would be next-in-line for the arts funding allocated to The Necks. Really exceptional music.