TITLE: FIVE POINTS
RELEASED: April 2014
1. On Conditions
4. Locked in Three
Since 2006 Canberra’s Spartak have been exploring the outer reaches of indie rock, improvised jazz, electronic music and modern composition, combining a broad palette of delicate melodies, free percussion, processed sound and found textures. Starting out as a duo consisting of core members Shoeb Ahmad and Evan Dorrian, Spartak released three acclaimed albums; Tales from the Colony Room via Shoeb’s own hellosQuare recordings, Verona via English label Low Point, and most recently Nippon via New Weird Australia’s New Editions imprint.
After touring extensively throughout Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan the duo reached a crossroads, uncertain of which direction to take the project. This was compounded further by the creation of a new project called Savages which focused on more traditional song structure, bringing the vocals of both Ahmad and Dorrian to the fore. It became apparent that this new direction was a perfect fit for Spartak, so the decision was made to dissolve Savages and expand the Spartak line-up to include Savages member Matt Lustri.
The trio spent the next year and a half honing their unique brand of forward thinking minimal electronics, the first signs of which came via the impressive single Catch/Control released in early 2013 through hellosQuare. Influenced by Kompakt, the LA beat scene, Shackleton, Hood and noisy synth based dance music the trio began to apply these influences into their music. They also analysed their individual roles within the group, ultimately deciding what would service the song best and not limiting themselves to their previous roles and instruments.
Five Points is the culmination of these efforts, yielding the groups most immediate and accessible work to date. The EP represents a huge leap forward in both song writing and production, as well as a new found confidence in the vocals of both Ahmad and Dorrian. Vocal duties are shared equally between the two with Ahmad’s softly sung melodies complimented by Dorrian’s richly brazen baritone. This interplay is most apparent on second track Nightshift where the duo trade vocal parts in particularly catchy fashion.
From the metallic pulse of opening track On Conditions, to the irrepressible groove of Catch/Control, to the cold desolate rhythms of Locked in Three; Five Points moves with undeniable clarity and cohesion. A bold, unique statement from a group at the top of their game.
The EP features synth by electronic artist Raus – who also assisted with song writing duties on Consistence and On Conditions – and award winning English composer/singer Hannah Peel (The Magnetic North, John Foxx and the Maths) who contributes backing vocals for On Conditions.
Artwork and design by Andrew McAlpine
“Five Points is every bit as stylishly chilly as the artists it borrows from. Moreso, it takes the best bits of Spartak’s jazzy, glitchy, proto-industrial horror and machines it into a backing for their new sound and it will have sweat standing out on the back of your neck”
“Spartak’s journey from freeform soundscape makers to abstract pop makers continues unabated on their new EP, Five Points. From the opening of ‘On Conditions’….And the quality over the course of the EP doesn’t let up….they have left behind none of their exploratory sound worlds, none of their abstract tendencies, they’ve merely added new layers to their established ones, creating a release with incredible depth and consistency”
– Cyclic Defrost
“Influenced as much by techno and microhouse as krautrock, noise and raga, the EP is Spartak’s most immediately engaging work to date. Reminiscent of Liars in its repetitive, Zen-punk attitude (if that isn’t an oxymoron), Five Points is both meditative and a little abrasive, and peculiarly moreish”
– Who The Hell