Melbourne electroacoustic sound artist David Prescott-Steed releases his first album on Australia’s legendary Clan Analogue, the expansive and evocative Shadow Music.
Shadow Music immerses the listener in shifting ambiences, fragments of found sound, granulated modular synthesis, weather-worn strings and percussion. The album is inspired by the Jungian concept of the shadow self, with eight tracks that twist and turn into fragmented distortions of identity, neurodiversity, alienation, hyperfixation, love, loss, and memory. Caliginous stream-of-consciousness vocals punctuate post-industrial soundscapes, kicking up sonic dust along the way.
“These psycho-spatial interiors are personal”, says David. “Among my creative projects, the archive of songs grew. There was a gravitational pull to create them, yet they remained like paintings in the corner of an attic, not quite discarded but rarely mentioned. It felt like the right time to bring them into the light.” Shadow Music is an adventure in sonic surrealism, a murmuring in the shadows, now extracted, inspected, and given a home in your ears.
After more than a decade of silence, Valley Forge are back with a new release, the new EP “Alright”, out now from Clan Analogue.
Valley Forge began making waves in Sydney’s electronic music scene in the early 2000s with their signature blend of synth-pop and alternative electro-rock. A string of releases on Clan Analogue helped build a loyal fanbase and critical acclaim for releases including their epic 2011 album Artificial Heart, the collaboration “Wayfaring Stranger” with Australian music icon Kamahl, and the single “Follow Suit” which included remixes by Boxcar and Single Gun Theory.
Their new single “Alright” is released as a 6-track classic 90s electro-pop maxi-single available on CD, download and streaming on all major platforms. It features four eclectic remixes of the title track, including one by Australian electronic pioneer Tom Ellard of Severed Heads, and the propulsive B-side “Rage-Fear-Love”.
“Alright” is a testament to Valley Forge’s ability to create lush soundscapes with an anthemic melodic hook, shimmering harmonics, pulsating electronics and thought-provoking lyrics, all packaged within a tightly composed pop song structure. The track will also appear on the forthcoming new Valley Forge album, scheduled for release next year.
Valley Forge frontman Freeman Lowell says, “Like a lot of other artists’ output from the last few years, “Alright” was seeded by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns that affected the entire world. Its theme is that you have zero control over a great many things in life, and sometimes you simply have to keep your foot to the pedal and turn that corner, without knowing what the outcome will be.”
The opening track is what, in the 80s, would have been referred to as a 7-inch mix – a big sounding, alternative electronic pop track designed to bounce off the back of an arena, filled with swirling wah-wah guitars, chunky drums, two resonant basslines, synth arpeggios and lush pads drenched in phasers, choruses and reverbs.
The ‘Hair Cut’ (Track 2) is close to a traditional 12” version of the title track, remixed by Tom Ellard of Severed Heads with additional synthesised percussion and electronics.
Track 3 slows down with the stripped-back ‘Ambient Mix’, dropping the BPM and emphasising the sonar-inspired percussion hits, filter-sweeps and vocoders while adding arpeggios which syncopatically echo into the musical distance.
‘Alright: The OxyMix’ (Track 4) captures the spirit of 70s new-age synthesis, with phased string synths, minimal compurhythms and unison-lead synth sequences cascading downwards from analogue heaven, reminiscent of a certain European electronic pioneer/synth god.
The B-side, ‘Rage-Fear-Love’ raises the pulse rate with a driving bassline, skittering percussion, melodic leads and vocoded vocal samples, telling a tale of atomic-era emotional dysregulation, rising to a fever-pitch of side-chained sonic mayhem and a bit-crushed crescendo.
The final track is an instrumental version of the ‘Ambient Mix’, a chilled-out environment where the soundscape becomes an exploratory listen. Interpolating sequences rise and fall as they float among waves of delay-riddled atmospherics, accompanied by pulsing subharmonic bass and buoyant, airy percussion.
While Valley Forge’s earlier material is largely instrumental, their collaboration with Kamahl proved to be a pivotal moment for the band, and was the catalyst for vocals to make more of an appearance in their material. Valley Forge’s writing has always been a fairly organic process – driven by a deep love of sound design and layering. “Alright”, however, was written with one ear tuned to classic pop sensibilities. Its influences can be heard in much of the British Alternative hits of the 90’s & the 00’s as well as, dare they say it, The Beach Boys and Electric Light Orchestra. “We have always loved harmonies, especially when they tend to be a little melancholy.” Valley Forge also count among their many influences the likes of Depeche Mode, Orbital, LFO, Recoil, Scritti Politti, Jesus Jones and PWEI.
Valley Forge’s audio gear list has also grown over the last decade, comprising an array of vintage and modern equipment in both physical and digital formats, moulded through extensive buying, selling and trading of synths, samplers and drum machines. “It’s kind of a Swiss Army-style toolkit now, where everything does something different and you know exactly what each bit of kit is best at. We mix as we build, and we tend to have a lot going on in each track, so the ability to sculpt frequencies while still maintaining clarity and separation is absolutely vital” says Lowell, “Also we’ve gotten technically better at mixing and shaping that soundscape over the years, thanks in part to the incredible control you have over tiny details. We still like to eschew all that every now and again though, and leave something in that has a bit of wobble or “artistic” imperfection.”
“We’re thrilled to be back and to share our new music with our fans. We may have been quiet for the last decade but we never stopped making music. This EP, and the upcoming new album, hopefully showcases our growth as electronic producers and our willingness to push ourselves into a more speculative and pop-centric songwriting space.”
For a limited time, purchases of the “Alright” CD from Bandcamp come with a groove Valley Forge lapel pin. Head over to the Clan’s Bandcamp merch page via this link:
Volunteers wanted to test Future Security Agency audio – are you eligible?
Do you have the aptitude to hear the decrypted Future Security Agency data? Assessment criteria include musical awareness, psychological resilience & physiological stamina
Take our eligibility test to check your suitability. Click here to apply.
Clan Analogue have finally completely decoded the mysterious Future Security Agency Partial Decryptions into its purest form. A small number of musically-competent volunteers are required to “test listen” to these fully decoded, and potentially hallucinogenic, audio snippets.
In 2021, Clan Analogue were contacted by an anonymous source asking for assistance in decrypting a unique dataset. Despite their scepticism, our IT team agreed to look into it, assembling an entirely-airgapped rack server constrained within a Faraday cage so as to safely examine the data without risk of wider network contamination.
The patterns that emerged matched those of audio encoding frameworks, in an as-yet unencountered ultra-high resolution quantum audio format. Remarkably, certain recurring temporal patterning within the data indicated a correlation with music.
Before vanishing, our source left us a warning that the data could be dangerous, hinting at possible retribution from an unknown source due to the effects these sounds could have on listeners.
During the decryption process a piece of corrupt tri-code was initially discarded as noise. After applying several Fourier transform equations, it was realised that this was actually some kind of metadata stamping algorithm. The name Future Security Agency emerged, along with an image, possibly a key to the data’s original source.
A handpicked team of Clan Analogue artists worked at decrypting the data, reconstructing the waveforms within the perceivable audible frequency spectrum. These select artists, Chamberz, Tim Marcus Moore, Kable54, Reductionist and GJ Hannah, were each given a discrete portion of the data to reconstruct as best they could. In 2022 we made these reconstructions available as the Future Security AgencyPartial Decryptions.
In January this year our IT team were stuck, making no further progress in decoding the data. A breakthrough occurred when we managed to sneak some time with a CSIRO hyper-qubit quantum computer, on the pretext of developing the perfect reverb plugin as an Australian export opportunity. Utilising the processing power now available, we realised the sidechain noise contained an encrypted blockchain. Running it through proprietary cryptocurrency decoding software gave us the breakthrough we needed. We now believe we have in our possession the completely-decrypted Future Security Agency audio.
We are however, hesitant to make this audio more widely available as yet, due to both the warnings given when we received the original data and some strange experiences reported by Clan Analogue’s team of decrypting artists.
Hallucinations, hyper-real dreams, visions of alternative social structures,… these mental experiences became familiar to our audio technicians.
Because of these dangers, we are not yet making this significant audio available for all to listen to.
Instead, Clan Analogue are looking for capable volunteers to “test listen” to some short snippets of the pure audio. Prior to listening, volunteers will be assessed for their suitability, according to criteria of musical awareness, physical stamina and psychological resilience.
If you believe you are able to hear this audio, click here to access our diagnostic online test.
In the early years of the twenty-first century various Australian music distributors sadly wound up their operations as the music industry continued its journey into the era of downloads and streaming. Clan Analogue’s long-running relationships with distributors such as Mushroom, Festival, Creative Vibes and MDS drew to a close. Once again Clan Analogue began operating completely independently, just as it had when the collective was first formed in the early 1990s.
Clan Analogue have now made available on Bandcamp all the releases from this period of its history – the independent 2000s. These releases were originally released as CDs available on mail order. Now they have been made available for the first time for download or streaming from the Bandcamp platform.
The Promise EP (CA036K) from KOshowKO was the first release from Clan Analogue following the end of its time with legendary indie distributor Creative Vibes, who had decided to call it a day in 2008. KOshowKO’s track “Promise” had been included on the last Clan Analogue compilation to be released with Creative Vibes, the dub compilation Clan Analogue In Version. The Promise EP collected this track with a bunch of alternative mixes and remixes plus an otherwise unreleased “B-side”. KOshowKO have since gone on to release many more tracks with Clan Analogue, along with their own independent releases, and are notable innovators in the use of mobile technologies for live performance and music creation.
The Neurosis EP (CA021C) was actually a collection of tracks recorded by the Melbourne duo Continuum in the late 1990s, including the track “Neurosis” which had originally been released on the late 90s Clan Analogue compilation Pre Sense. The Neurosis EP was released in 2010 as a teaser EP, making most of these tracks available for the first time, leading up to the release of the Clan Analogue retrospective collection Re Cognition.
We Think You’re Dishy Remixes (CA039B) EP by B(if)tek was a second teaser EP for the Re Cognition Clan Analogue retrospective collection released in 2010. The release included two new remixes of B(if)tek’s classic track “We Think You’re Dishy”, one by Melbourne act KOshowKO, the second by Sydney electro duo Bleepin’ J Squawkins. As well as the two new remixes, the EP featured the original version of “We Think You’re Dishy”, first heard on the Clan Analogue compilation Twenty Disco Greats released in 1999. The fourth track “We Oscillate” was originally heard on the 1996 Clan Analogue cassette release Schizmatrix.
The Lunar Module self-titled EP (CA039L) was one of a collection of EPs by different Clan Analogue artists released in 2010. Sydney’s Lunar Module were first heard on the 2004 Clan Analogue electro compilation Doppler Shift, with a style influenced by the classic sounds of 1980s new wave, industrial electro and synth pop. This EP featured seven retro-futuristic tracks as a mini-album release.
Theme From Tiatto (CA039T) was another in the collection of 2010 Clan Analogue EPs, the first release from Melbourne act Tiatto, whose sound was inspired by the sounds of garage, breakbeat and 2-step emerging from the UK. Andy Rantzen joined the party to add a great remix to this collection of epic psychedelic groovers.
KOshowKO’s The Truth In Me (CA039K) was also one of Clan Analogue’s 2010 EP collection, a follow-up to the earlier Promise EP. The Truth In Me contained tracks that are both haunting and euphoric with an opulent production aesthetic perfected by Martin K on this release.
Clan Analogue continue their epic TB-303 exploration
Following in the sequence steps of Cognition 303: Bassline Deviations– now up the squelch with Cognition 3031: Further Deviations
Clan Analogue celebrated their 30th birthday last year in style – by releasing the epic Cognition 303: Bassline Deviations, a compilation exploring the 40-year history of the Roland TB-303 Bass Line machine. Clan Analogue artists from across Australia heeded the call to create a new collection exploring all versions of this instrument and its expanding musical lineage. The result was a stunning collection of 14 squelchy masterpieces.
There was so much great work submitted for the Cognition 303 release that many impressive tracks were not able to make it onto the original compilation. These additional tracks were heard by a select few who bought the album from Bandcamp and received them as an additional bonus download.
Now moving on to its 31st birthday, Clan Analogue are marking the occasion by giving these bonus tracks the attention they deserve, remastering them and packaging them up for release as the new companion volume Cognition 3031: Further Deviations. This collection explores the classic acid and techno sounds which made the TB-303’s reputation as an integral part of electronic music history. Ranging from classic late-80s acid house, through to 90s-style ambient beats to 2000s industrial techno, this compilation is for all who love the resonant bleep of classic acid and techno.
Cognition 3031 opens with the return of Bleepin’ J Squawkins, presenting their first recorded work in 18 years. Ming One continues the techno grooves explored in his Addiction EP. Melbourne’s acid maestro dyLABpresents a stripped-back minimal groove with “Clan Acid A Log” while Abel el Toro parties like it’s 1989. Speedloader pushes the 303 as hard as it will go while Mr Rachele presents a unique 303 recreation using his modular setup.
Two events, from 40 years ago and 30 years ago, seemingly unrelated yet completely intertwined, are celebrated in Clan Analogue’s newest compilation release Cognition 303: Bassline Deviations.
In 1982 Roland released a new bass sequencer and synthesizer which manifestly failed in its intended purpose – to replace the bass player.
In 1992 Brendan Palmer and Toby Grime had a chance meeting on a train platform in Sydney, bonding over their shared love of obsolete electronic music instruments, and decided to form an electronic music artists’ collective.
The Roland TB-303 Bass Line machine was a discarded device of the 1980s, forgotten as shiny digital synths became the industry standard of polished pop and stadium rock. However a new generation in the late 80s and early 90s reclaimed these analogue relics from pawn shops and Trading Post adverts, inspired by the new sounds of techno, house and electronic experimentalism. These young artists became the flagbearers for new musical movements which swept through the 1990s. From this era, 30 years ago, Clan Analogue was born, Australia’s longest-running and most influential electronic music collective.
Cognition 303: Bassline Deviations celebrates the 40-year history of the TB-303, its status as the last great iconic instrument of electronic music, and explorations of its newest sonic manifestations. The TB-303 has become one of the most used, modified and cloned instruments in electronic music. For Cognition 303 Clan Analogue artists from across Australia heeded the call to create a new selection of sounds exploring all versions of this instrument and its expanding musical lineage.
Cognition 303 spans the styles associated with the TB-303 and pushes them into new and unexpected directions. Techno superstar Honeysmack collaborates with T-Rek for one of his famed acid techno bangers. Australian dance music pioneer Andy Rantzen teams up with fellow 303 lover Ryan Spinoglio to give us a stripped-back funk exploration using four TB-303s. Composite Cone and Klaps celebrate the famed Robin Whittle 303 Devilfish modification. Vision Four 5 produce an anthemic piece of stadium techno while KOshowKO channels the legendary Charanjit Singh by blending the 303 with non-Western instruments. Suspect and Factorypreset, two halves of the seminal Dark Network, each create a piece of hypnotic ambient acid house groove, just some of the squelchy masterpieces on Cognition 303.
Melbourne singer/songwriter Dylan Beast unveils his new industrial electronic rock sound with the three-track single How Long out now on Australia’s Clan Analogue label.
Dylan Beast’s sonic style is influenced by electronic rock of the 1990s and 2000s melded with the edge of modern club music styles. His songwriting explores the mental struggles of modern life and the inherent tensions of today’s technologically-mediated existence. Following on from his independently released Black Patches album of 2020, Dylan moves further into electronica with this new release on Clan Analogue.
Through a mix of industrial music, funk guitar, experimental synths and rock vocals, “How Long” talks about the need for people to fake their emotional responses throughout their lives in order to survive the pressures of our society.
“How Long” is backed with two extra tracks which build the intensity further. Perth’s Times of the Sines remix “How Long” for a high energy dancefloor vibe, granulising and resynthesizing the vocals to convey heightened alienation.
The closer track “Still in Quarantine” was created using samples recorded by Dylan in his house during lockdown, capturing the enforced introspection produced during mental and physical confinement.
Vocals, guitars, sampling and songwriting by Dylan Scutti Produced by Nick Wilson Mastering by Tom Glover Design by Megan Sanelli Mixing on tracks 1 & 3 by Fred Schilling and Matthew Boyd Track 2 produced by Jason Fewings Vocal recording and production by Hamish Muir, Fred Schilling and Matthew Boyd. Programming on track 1 by Thomas Copeland and Mohit Rao
A statement from Clan Analogue regarding recently decrypted data
On July 25th 2021, Clan Analogue were contacted by an anonymous source asking for assistance in decrypting a unique dataset. The source and their backers were seemingly unable to decrypt it themselves, so came to Clan Analogue for our expertise in both data and music. They were seeking music technicians.
Despite their scepticism, our IT team agreed to look into it, assembling an entirely-airgapped rack server constrained within a Faraday cage to safely examine the data without risk of wider network contamination.
The patterns that emerged did indeed match those of audio encoding frameworks, albeit an ultra-high resolution quantum audio format that we haven’t yet encountered. Furthermore, certain recurring temporal patterning indicated a correlation with music.
At this point, our source stopped communicating, leaving us with a warning that the data could be dangerous. “Yeah, it was pretty weird,” says Clan Analogue Label Manager Nick Wilson. “Possibly they were in fear of some kind of retribution. But we realised this was potentially interesting music. We just needed help to turn it into something we could hear.”
A team of Clan Analogue’s most adaptable and innovative artists were handpicked for the decryption effort. Their mission – to reconstruct these waveforms within the perceivable part of the audible frequency spectrum. These select artists were Chamberz, Tim Marcus Moore, Kable54, Reductionist and GJ Hannah. Each was given a discrete portion of the data to reconstruct as best they could.
Clan Analogue’s IT Manager Duncan Robertson tells us: “The team and I haven’t yet been able to completely decode the data… however we’ve partially decrypted it into quite a listenable format. I think of it as a four-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, extremely detailed but perhaps impossible to completely solve. If you squint your eyes, it’s actually quite beautiful.”
One other potentially significant piece of information emerged from the decryption process. Initially discarded as noise, it was realised that a piece of corrupt tri-code was actually some kind of metadata stamping algorithm. After applying several Fourier transform equations, the name Future Security Agency became apparent, along with an image. Possibly this is a key to the data’s original source.
In the interests of transparency, Clan Analogue have elected to make these Partial Decryptions available to our listeners via our Bandcamp page. We are sure you will join us in thanking Chamberz, Tim Marcus Moore, Kable54, Reductionist and GJ Hannah in their unparalleled efforts to make this audio perceivable to you.
Please note that we have been warned of potential danger arising from this data. Proceed at your own risk.
Many questions, however, remain:
What does ‘Future Security Agency’ mean?
Could the data ever be completely decoded into its purest form?
Why did the source disappear and warn of danger?
Who or what created the original data, and why?
If you have information to offer, please contact us urgently.
Update: after further testing we have made this audio available through additional streaming and download channels.
Decryption List: Decryption 1: tūūvv t l reconstructed by Chamberz Decryption 2: ganrdo l reconstructed by Tim Marcus Moore Decryption 3: lifea new l reconstructed by Kable54 Decryption 4: head rigdt l reconstructed by Reductionist Decryption 5: blonli08i1 l reconstructed by GJ Hannah
Clan Analogue are celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2022, with events organised for the Melbourne Fringe Festival in October and some great new releases scheduled for later in the year.
For those not in the know, Clan Analogue is a collective of artists focused on electronic music, sound art and associated art forms such as DJing and video art. The collective formed in 1992 in Sydney, by artists motivated by lack of support for live electronic music in the city’s then rock-oriented live music culture. The DIY ethos of an artist-run collective allowed members to pool resources and develop a range of projects, including live events and music releases in diverse areas of electronic music and art. From Sydney, Clan Analogue spread its branches to other cities throughout Australia as the 1990s progressed. Clan Analogue artists are now active in electronic music scenes all over the globe.
There are so many highpoints in Clan Analogue’s history that it is difficult to know where to start. The Clan Analogue Live at the Goethe Institut improvised music and video performance from 1994, released on VHS cassette and now part of the permanent collection at the Sydney Powerhouse Museum? The Intone: Voice Abstractions compilation, exploring experimental processing of the human voice, shortlisted for the Australian Art Music Award for Excellent in Experimental Music in 2015? Underground electronic hits by Disco Stu and B(if)tek from the late 90s and early 2000s, which were amongst Triple-J’s most-requested songs of the era? Michael Mildren’s 12-hour non-stop live performance at Bar 303 in 2016’s Melbourne Fringe? Or the 2014 Gear Shiftseries of monthly electronic music jam sessions at Loop in Melbourne’s CBD, with dozens of participating artists over the course of the year? Maybe 2020’s Lockdown Drone Livestreamed via Twitch, with eight artists collaborating on an epic improvised drone set from home studios in Melbourne, Sydney and Canada? Or one of countless other highlights? Let the fans and music historians debate!
For some historical background on Clan Analogue check out The Early Years and The Middle Years for what went down in the 1990s and early 2000s. We will be updating the historical record with more details as we continue through this epochal year. Stay tuned!
The Roland TB-303 has been an inspirational instrument for Clan Analogue artists since Clan’s beginnings in the early 90s. As we prepare for Clan Analogue’s forthcoming compilation of new 303 tracks, get ahead of the curve with this limited edition t-shirt design!