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Live Review: Andy Garvey breaks cover with her spacious debut EP

26 March 2019 | 9:53 am | Michael Stratford Hutch

ANDY GARVEY is no stranger to taking the long road. Having spent the better part of a decade slowly establishing herself in scenes across Australia, Garvey is now hitting her stride playing national festivals as well as the best hometown shows, with growing demand overseas for her signature mixes of techno, acid, electro and breaks.

Garvey has also spent a significant amount of time promoting the work of others, through hosting popular radio shows Mix Up and Pure Space (on triple j and FBi Radio respectively), as well as running FBi’s Dance Class, which serves as an incubator for emerging women, trans and non-binary DJs.

While many will be intimately familiar with her work as a DJ and radio host, Andy Garvey as producer is a new and exciting prospect. Her debut EP ‘Eternal Recurrence,’ released on beloved UK label Lobster Theremin, is testament to her many years in the booth, and situates her work directly in the traditions and sounds she puts forward in her work as DJ and tastemaker.

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Produced over 18 months, the four tracks that make up ‘Eternal Recurrence’ are the result of years of trial-and-error, learning on the job through experimentation with gear and taking whatever time was needed to explore ideas to their fullest.

EP opener ‘Eternal Recurrence’ feels like Garvey’s thematic statement, establishing numerous sonic threads that run through the work as a whole including spacious arrangements of drum machine samples, tasteful FX usage, and acid-tinged synth tones. Dreamy fragments of breakbeat are introduced around the half-way point, transporting an otherwise more downbeat number into something more recognisably peak-time.

‘Infinity’ follows, expanding on its spatial premise to an “infinite static universe, painted like a picture, for you and no one else,” as relayed by the track’s central vocal sample. ‘Infinity’ strikes a meditative balance, with fluttering percussion and a driving acid synth running atop softly swelling pads. Sirens and flashes of breakbeat dot the latter half, breaking things up somewhat before returning to its lovely, calm surface.

‘Meta Physical’ blends more subtle breaks and gorgeous pads, flowing along without much interruption. The track’s hypnotic repetition invites deeper listening and reveals Garvey’s keen attention to detail in the mix. No one element ever takes up too much attention, and transitions are dealt with gracefully.

Wrapping things up is finale ‘Protovision,’ a faster-paced electro banger in which Garvey transports us directly to the rave’s heated heart. A tough, utilitarian burner, ‘Protovision’ pairs flickering hats with rapid-fire kicks and squelching acid tones. Put simply, it’s the kind of track you hear once and immediately want to redline on a sound system.

These tracks patiently reveal themselves over their entire durations to great effect, strategically unfurling each element with careful precision. Besides ‘Protovision,’ the EP’s tracks feel as though they could very well sit at any point in a set or whole event, equally suited for warm-up as they are for peak-time and cool-down. This versatility is a testament to Garvey’s careful consideration of texture, development and arrangement.

What’s more, the EP feels perfectly placed within Lobster Theremin’s catalogue, operating at the intersection of acid, breaks and electro. There’s something at once futuristic and ancient-sounding about these tracks, suspended between either extremes of the recesses of deep time, drawing listeners into that spacious, reflective state. This is a strong debut from one of Australia’s most promising talents, and an exciting indication of more to come.

‘Eternal Recurrence’ EP is out now via Lobster Theremin. Purchase via their website here.

Upcoming dates to see Andy Garvey play:

Saturday, April 6

Paradise Club, Sydney

Thursday, April 18

Parkside, Wollongong

Friday, April 19

Inner Varnika, VIC

Saturday, May 4

TBA, Sydney

Saturday, May 11

Espace Noir, Melbourne

Photo via Facebook