Oz Horror Con, Sydney Spec Fic Festival: here we come!

So, another idea to make it an easy, homebody year, and look what’s happened: outings! adventures!

Hehe.

First up, I’ll be hanging out with the horror buffs at Oz Horror Con in Melbourne, which is on the full weekend but I’ll only be there on the 20th as part of a contingent from the Australian Horror Writers Association. The venue sounds very, um, underground, though sadly lacks full accessibility WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN cf this missive from Hogetown about a similar event TWO YEARS AGO, and the con itself is likely to cover a wide spectrum of the pop horror scene. I could be the gothic tragic hugging the shadows saying ‘who’s that’ at every second cosplayer, but it should be educational and quite fun. I should try to watch Patrick again, just to be schooled up.

And now the wheels have turned far enough to say I should be catching up with a whole bunch of writers and readers at the NSW Writers’ Centre’s Speculative Fiction Festival on March 16. Kate Forsyth is directing again — last year’s was a hoot, I’m told.

And down the track, over Anzac weekend in Canberra, there’s the national SF convention, Conflux, followed by Melbourne’s Continuum.

Throw in the Aurealis Awards and a few other stray bits ‘n’ bobs — and the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, UK — and 2013 is looking like a preeetty busy year…

There are plenty more events on, of course; the wallet is already smouldering. Check out the calendar of Aussie literary events for an idea what’s available.

Android Lust, telling tales without words on Crater Vol 1

crater vol 1Android Lust (US-based Shikhee) knows how to get down and dirty, electronically; she’s been flying my industrial flag since Nine Inch Nails went on hiatus, Trent Reznor heading off to greener, arguably happier places with his new outfit and his soundtrack work for movies and, most recently, a video game.

Now, on Crater Vol 1, AL is following that trajectory and proves just as adept.

I wish I knew the narrative guiding this album — and it is an album, ebbing and flowing across a sonic terrain of synthesisers, keyboards, vocalisations. How interesting, though, to mix up the playing order and seeing how that changes the nature of the tale …

I’m getting a low-fi NIN vibe on ‘I Need to Know’ — probably the most likely candidate for a single and one of only three songs here, AL’s voice restrained amid the fuzz and keys. ‘From the Other Side’ has breathy vocals gliding like morning fog over flowing, bouncing rhythms that echo AL’s previous footprints. On ‘Here and Now’, she again channels previous patterns to set what feels like the sublime point of no return.

Of course, the beauty of the instrumental album isn’t necessarily the story the artist has in their head, but the one it tells inside your own. Here, there is water, grey with clouds; travel, solitude .. there are mountains and perhaps, stark cherry blossoms, yearning, indecision.

‘First Man’, a halfway marker, feels like the closing of a curtain on the first act, the sensation exacerbated by the slow, woodwind and bamboo-style opening of the proceeding piece, ‘When the Rains Came’, building like a spring rainstorm from the first drops to the downpour, all golden from distant, low-slanted sunlight.

Yaakuntik is a one-minute bridge; ‘Precipice’ closes the album with an eight-minute sail through a lapping lake, a place of stillness and quiet beauty, fading into an inky night. Not so much a fall from a precipice as a gentle subsidence, a tender acceptance.

Had the album been named River Styx, it would’ve suited perfectly. Crater — what does it mean? The Pacific rim of fire? A caldera? Dust settling after the moment of impact? Ooh …

Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, Crater Vol 1 shows an artist making a foray into new terrain, so very smoothly, and provides a most pleasant aural zone where one can trail one’s fingers in another’s dreams and make them one’s own.

Crater Vol. 1 is due to be in general release by the end of the month. I take heart that the name suggests there’s more to come.

2013: we have lift off, with a little help from Tycho Brahe

Welcome to 2013! To get in the mood, here’s a shiny new clip from Brisbane band Tycho Brahe, courtesy of cool Lego clip maker Forlorn Creature:


Now I’m sure there’s a little Depeche Mode in there …


In other recent-ish news:

  • Talie Helene as produced possibly the most memorable quote of the Next Big Thing blog posts: ‘I heard the harpsichord DIE.’
  • NBT the second: Glenda Larke re-releases her debut novel, Havenstar, in digital format! One for my Australian Women Writers review challenge!
  • NBT the third: Charlotte Nash has (non-spec fic) debut Ryders Ridge on the way. First draft written in three weeks. You’d like to hate her, but … that’s just freaking awesome!
  • Graeme Hague has been giving away tunes with his ebooks — what a generous man!
  • Three new Aussie anthologies are showing off their tables of contents: Dreaming of Djinn, Next and A Killer Among Demons. [Make that four: this just popped out of my inbox: Nicole Murphy’s In Fabula-Divino]
  • And huzzah, a new review of Salvage (this one by voracious bookworm Tsana)! I love the way most reviewers have been able to get the idea across without going for the reveal.
  • Way to kick off a new year or what?!