artist: Equal Local
label: Missing Link
personnel: Dean Richards (electric guitar, electric bass), Philip Jackson (synthesizers, beat programmes), Melissa Webb (synthesizers, piano), Bryce Perrin (acoustic bass), Mick Hauser (saxophone)
tracklisting: madagascar, the cult of simplicity, block at the top
comprising various figures from the Melbourne post-punk scene - most notably ex-members of synthpunk band Whirlywirld - Equal Local where a popular, if short-lived, live act in the early 80s. despite never managing to stretch their particular oeuvre over a full album, this brief EP remains an significant musical manifesto.
an instrumental ‘synth’ band that employs acoustic bass, sax and piano does sound as original as it reads (reeds?). over ticking rhythm boxes, Richards and Co. weave hypnotic little tunes that, if anything, hint at a noirish take on American east coast jazz-fusion. throughout, ‘Madagascar’ certainly conjures up images of underground spy or thriller films. and whether intentional or not, ‘The Cult of Simplicity’ and (the left-hand piano run of) ‘The Block at the Top’ pack plenty of suspense around their sparse arrangements.
local, maybe. but equal to what exactly?