Take a wander through Fairfield Park in Melbourne and you might stumble across an amphitheatre backing onto the Yarra River. Flanked by trees, it’s the sort of picture-postcard setting you’d expect for a summertime orchestral concert or a recital of a Shakespearean sonnet. Instead, the Fairfield Amphitheatre regularly plays host to Melbourne’s emerging musical talents, and for one December evening, it provided the backdrop to a rare ambient performance from Butter Sessions co-owners, Sleep D.
While partial to a live jam, the beautiful amphitheatre setting is worlds apart from the warehouses Corey Kikos and Maryos Syawish typically play. The drastic change in environment was purely intentional though. Conceived alongside similarly revered Antipodean imprint, Analogue Attic Records, the performance saw Kikos and Syawish swap their outlandish brand of techno for an absorbing ambient approach.
Recorded with help from local guitarist Joe Karakatsanis, 40 minutes of insistent drum patterns, delay-soaked guitar riffs and synth textures that swell and recede have been committed to vinyl by AAR. Offering listeners the chance to live vicariously through the music, it isn’t hard to imagine yourself right there, chilling in Fairfield Park. Even faint shouts of adulation heard from the crowd add to the visceral quality provided by a live recording.
Billowing and surging, the marriage of guitar and synth covers so many different moods, but the recording still feels coherent as a single body of music. It’s hugely cinematic too. Star gazing music with an 80s sheen, blissed-out soundscapes wash over the subconscious and every guitar bend pulls at the heart strings. At times it sounds how I’d imagine it might have if Tangerine Dream scored the Lethal Weapon OST.