Cale’s Sexton’s unique approach to hardware electronica has earnt him a reputation as one Melbourne’s most inventive and original musical artists. Sexton’s cosmic compositions are studies in feel, restraint and sonorous exploration. Musical ideas are carefully considered and sculpted, then launched and encouraged to evolve through their own conceptual trajectory. This organic process imbues Sexton’s work with a deep sense of both inner and outer space.
On Sustain, Sexton applies his magic touch to Melbourne’s outdoor musical instrument - the Federation Bells, reimagining the iconic sound sculpture as the centre of a totally new sonic universe. Sexton has expanded his hardware-led approach to integrate with the computer-controlled Bells sequencing interface, producing a remarkably congruent synthesis of musical technologies. Sustain is concerned with the evolution of sounds, and Sexton’s soaring instrumentation is presented with a fetishistic level of tonal focus. Ideas are explored and manipulated in a tastefully uncluttered musical environment. The bell elements are so elegantly integrated into the composition that it’s easy to forget that this giant outdoor instrument is the backbone of the work. This is no mean feat when one considers that this public percussion robot has sometimes been described as atonal or harmonically difficult. Rather than attempt to circumvent these limitations, Sexton leans into the weirdness of the bell tonalities, coaxing a complementary sound palette from his highly malleable electronic instrumentation.
The result is a fascinating form of hybrid interdimensional exotica. Slow-burn stereoscopic swells creep between purring synths and plangent percussion, while sizzling widescreen pads ebb and flow like a lingering smoke haze - occasionally clearing to reveal glimpses of strange psychotropic gremlins and portals to adjacent planes of existence. Anyone who was lucky enough to attend the live premiere at Birrarung Marr will have experienced the warm psychedelic vibes that this work emanates. The most inspiring art engages both the brain and the heart to contemplate fresh realms of experience. Sustain succeeds in provoking the imagination and exuding positive feeling in equal measure. This is a record that rewards deep immersive listening, so relax, engage your reality-expanding paraphernalia and dive on in.
- Miles Brown
released April 16, 2021
Composition for computer-controlled bells and electronics
Featuring the Federation Bells, Melbourne
Cale Sexton - Federation Bells, Roland Tr 808, Roland Boutique Tr08, Roland 606, Elektron Octatrack, Elektron Digitakt, Roland Juno 106, Roland Hs60, Roland Sh32, Yamaha Dx7, Nord Rack 2, Vermona Mono Lancet, Vermona Filter Lancet, Roland Re201, Alesis Midiverb, Lexicon Reflex, bass guitar, guitar
Composed, performed and recorded by Cale Sexton © 2019
Mix by Cale Sexton and Corey Kikos
Bell recordings by Harry Williamson
Mastered by David Walker at Stepford Audio Melbourne
Curated and produced by Miles Brown
Art and design by Luke Fraser at Grin Creative
The music on this album was commissioned by the City of Melbourne