A Rest Is All You Need…

Watch/Illuminate Preview #1
June 11, 2012, 9:57 pm
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A short preview of the Shoeb Ahmad track ‘Falling Fast’ from the upcoming debut album ‘Watch/Illuminate’ – out 18.06.2012 on Mystery Plays Records.

November 25, 2011, 12:53 pm
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November 8, 2011, 10:19 pm
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Hoodlum Shouts launch their new single ‘Guns Germs Steel’ with three shows in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

A fine slice of corrosive riffs and powerhouse guts backed by a wonderfully rugged take on ‘Doom Country’ from their first EP, this single is a killer lead up to the release of their first album ‘Young Man, Old Man’ in early 2012 on hellosQuare.

The Gasometer
with Single Twin + guests

The Pot Belly
with Harmony + Epics

The Roxbury
with Lo! + Epics

November 8, 2011, 10:12 pm
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Pollen Trio hit the road at the end of the month to play a few shows in celebration of the new record ‘Roll Slow’, out November 17th on hellosQuare.

This tour sees them doing their first major string of dates with new addition Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet + percussion) and is a perfect opportunity to see them explore a world of acoustic sound on stage.

The Loft, Dickson Medical Centre
with Greg Haines (UK – Miasmah) + Shoeb Ahmad

401/2 Hibernian House
with Ollie Bown (Icarus)/Adrian Klumpes (3ofmillions, ex-Triosk) + Sam Pettigrew

303 Lebowskis
with Peon + Marc Hannaford

Yours & Owls
with Scissor Lock + Alex Masso

Don’t miss out on seeing one of Australia’s finest improvised music trios in action!

Soft Focus – Saturday 24th September
September 7, 2011, 10:42 am
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hellosQuare presents SOFT FOCUS

Minamo (12k, Japan)
Moskitoo (12k, Japan)
Cold House

Saturday 24th September – The Street Theatre
$18/$12 concession, starts 8pm
Bookings – http://www.thestreet.org.au or 6247 1223

Following on from the first edition of Soft Focus in 2009 featuring the wonderful electronic melodies of Aus and Cokiyu, hellosQuare recordings returns with the second edition featuring the electro-acoustic duo Minamo and post-pop of Moskitoo.

These two amazing artists are prime examples of the fervent experimentalism that is present in modern Japanese electronic music today and of a sound that has carried across to Europe, the US and Australia.

In support of these two are the local artists Spartak and Cold House. Spartak (featuring Shoeb Ahmad and Evan Dorrian) will be performing abstractions from their upcoming album that will be released on the New Weird Australia label in late 2011 while Cold House is the new collaboration between Morgan McKellar, formerly of Sydney outfit Underlapper, and the local sound artist Luke Penders.

Peking Spring: 21st April – 14th May
April 5, 2011, 10:07 pm
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hellosQuare presents PEKING SPRING – a three week long festival of performances held in Canberra between April 21st and May 14th in featuring some of the most creative music being made in Australia and overseas alongside local left-field wunderkids.
Holding no boundaries for genres, PEKING SPRING’s aim is to bridge disparate artists together by their left-field sensibilities and natural exploration of song and sound to create a endless array of musical treats for all of you in this fair town!

Kim Salmon/Candlesnuffer + MoHa! (Norway) + Horatio Pollard (UK)
+ The Black Moth

Thursday 21st April – ANU Bar
$15 entry at door, starts 7pm

Pure Evil Trio + Loveshy
Wednesday 27th April – Bar 32
$8 entry at door, starts 8pm

Seaworthy + Kharkov + Reuben Ingall
Friday 29th April – Smiths Bookshop
$8 entry at door, starts 8pm

Single Twin + Hoodlum Shouts
Saturday 30th April – Street Theatre, Street 2
$18/$12 concession, starts 8pm
Bookings – http://www.thestreet.org.au or 6247 1223

MRS + Mornings
Saturday 7th May – Street Theatre, Street 2
$18/$12 concession, starts 8pm
Bookings – http://www.thestreet.org.au or 6247 1223

Scattered Order + Cleptoclectics + savages + Andrew Fedorovitch
Wednesday 11th May – The Phoenix
Free, starts 8pm

Scissor Lock + Orbits + The Brother Gozu
Friday 13th May – Smiths Bookshop
$8 entry at door, starts 8pm

Decibel + Pollen Trio
Saturday 14th May – Street Theatre, Street 2
$18/$12 concession, starts 8pm
Bookings – http://www.thestreet.org.au or 6247 1223

Pollen Trio – Fluid Radio
January 6, 2011, 9:16 pm
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Alex Gibson from Fluid Radio has written a glowing review of Pollen Trio’s soon to be sold out CDr edition ‘230509’ and also put up an in-depth interview with the boys, both of which can be read below:


I’ve elected to not follow too closely the “Best Of” lists that pop up at this time of year. I love reading them, but I can’t bring myself to write one of my own, for fear of offending the records that I’d leave off it.

So instead I thought I’d like to point to the album I’ve listened to the most (despite the fact it was released in the 12 months prior), hands down my favorite, which represented a true “find” for me. It also made me think about how music consumption has changed, and how exceedingly difficult it is to explain to someone under the age of twenty what it used to be like to buy music.

You operated in a total information vacuum. If you were young, you never had enough money to spend on records (and I think that’s true of any age group, but I digress), and if you wanted to know what they sounded like you had to wait until they were played on the radio, or go out and buy them. If the local record shop didn’t have a copy, you had to ask them to order it for you or travel to somewhere that had copies.

Once you found somewhere that did have things you wanted to buy, you had to make the choice based on the limited information the cover art gave you, rely on word of mouth (or the counter guy’s recommendation) or if you were very, very lucky they may have a listening station that they’d let you use.

You could literally spend all day in the shop if they’d let you. Hours poring over purchases. Trying to avoid the inevitable buyer’s regret – “what if the other one was better?” because you may have never found out. Information was gleaned from magazines printed once a month, or elder siblings that had read more of these magazines than you.

In this environment, you would rarely just lash out and buy something on a whim. Every purchase would be made in on a descending order of priority that shifted constantly. If you ever did just throw caution to the wind and pick something up on impulse, unheard, sight unseen, and it turned out to be something you loved – well. It’d be something of a genuine find.

Why do I mention this? Because it’s gone, that time, and also because I did just that with this record, buying it unheard on a whim. I realized HOW RARELY I DO THAT, how rarely I acquire music I’ve not had any exposure to prior to seeing it in a shop for the first time. How much I rely on social networks and other methods to BRING IT TO ME, rather than going out and looking.

Shazam will direct you to a song online before the first chorus has finished. You can have Miles Davis’s ENTIRE back catalogue within hours, if your connection is fast enough, where it may have taken years to complete the same feat for an obsessive fan in an earlier age. This despite the fact that the pursuit itself was the reward, and often not the goal itself…

So coming across a record without having it previewed, hyped and oversold; multiple streaming previews, Youtube links, emails to your inbox, ads on Facebook; finding a genuine, unheard gem is a rare occurrence. Especially one that ticks as many boxes as “230509” by The Pollen Trio does.

Raw, spontaneous, manipulated recording, obviously mixed with care? Check.

Articulate, music school trained improvised jazz flourishes? Check.

Filtered through a brash, youthful punk DIY approach, with traditional approach slamming up against experimentation? Check.

‘PaleBurst’ kicks off proceedings with a bang – best to get the Necks comparison out of the way now. It’s a three piece playing improvised pieces with the same instruments, so the comparison is valid, if not a little obvious. There’s certainly an obvious similarity, but the approach is more youthful and aggressive. The staccato bass and cymbal work peek out from behind the frenetic piano work, and clever mixing manipulations provide colour during a hypnotic opener.

‘Morning Of’ ambles in announced by some minimalist percussion and string clatter. Some lovely earthy scraping and between-song instrument rambling morphs into a horror/sci-fi ambience, before fading into the chiming ‘Syndrome’. The post-production here on the piano is noticeable and original, and when merged with what sounds like the authentic take of the other instruments it becomes a wide and clever soundscape.

‘Clamp’ is an interesting textural experiment with unconventional sound that fades cleanly into ‘File In’.

‘File In’ continues the textural theme, but has been mixed in such a way that it blends into the next piece with different tones coming from all angles. There are a lot of ideas at play here, and all of them worth paying attention to separately.

‘Plunge Raid’ starts off as an Abrahams inspired patter, devolving into a static frenzy of audio swirling, truly mind bending stuff, and as a passage out of the record is pretty brash. It slams the door shut abruptly, but with a feeling that that door may actually lead to another record with the massive potential that the previous tracks have hinted at.

“230509” hints at a unit that could, given time, generate a record that bridges jazz, electronic experimentation and improvisation in a way that confounds everyone. A previous release, “Amalgama”, also demonstrates the progression the band has taken, as does their collaboration with Seaworthy which points to further ability to morph their sound.


The Pollen Trio’s 2009 release “230509” was the discovery of 2010 for me – a brash and unconventional 6 track release that hinted at a fearless and talented group of musicians, able to subvert the traditions of jazz experimentation with the addition of subtle electronic manipulation. It takes the basic three player improvisational format that bands like The Necks and Triosk have pioneered and infuses it with youthful vigour; bright and energetic pieces fairly burst out of the confines of the mixes they are presented in.

I was lucky enough to speak to the boys from Pollen over a couple of outings; a boozy Friday night in a local bar and also at a noisy soundcheck before a show for their label hellosQuare at a local theatre. Both Evan Dorrian and Austin Buckett were able to expand a little on the circumstances surrounding the recording of “230509”, and also on some of their plans for the coming year.

The bassist who performed on the record, Chris Pound, is currently overseas and was unfortunately unable to participate in the discussions. Dorrian also travelled to the UK after the record was completed, and returned to Australia from London to resume drumming duties in Spartak (profiled recently HERE ).

Spartak are continuously active, having released (amongst numerous other things) “Version Room” recently on cassette. Dorrian also found time to record a five-track self-titled release in 2009, leaning more towards the textural side, but still focusing on the myriad possibilities of percussion.

Buckett also spends time away from the Trio, performing and recording in experimental rock act Kasha whilst also composing and performing a number of pieces for piano and string quartet. Recent pieces (and their performances) were a display of gratitude to the Alliance Francais for their support whilst completing Honours at the Australian National University School of Music.

Remaining productive in the absence of their bottom end, the boys have recently begun work on an album with trumpeter Miroslav Bukovsky. Some sketches of these recent pieces have been placed on their blog via Soundclound, and represent a different (although no less assured) trajectory for the Trio.

What can you tell us about the recording of 230509? It was recorded under less than conventional circumstances, right?

Well, the name of the record is just the date that we recorded it and this is indicative of the haphazard nature of how it came together. Basically we had all these ideas that we wanted to document, but no means to do so because we were poor and had just finished touring.

So we borrowed some mics and snuck into a rehearsal room at Austin’s uni dorm that had a piano and spent the day playing and recording with hellosQuare boss Shoeb Ahmad manning the “desk.” We described it as a “guerrilla” recording in the CD sleeve because it felt very DIY and unauthorised.

Had you a clear developed idea about the pieces you recorded? Were they improvised or rehearsed?

We had a very general framework for the sound of the record. The idea was for each of us to bring in 3 sketches and improvise on those. The momentum that those ideas took and how they developed was spontaneous. We wanted the record to be as rough and unplanned as possible so we did our best to avoid any strict boundaries or dos or do nots.

Were you surprised with the results?


Our idea was that if we were pleasantly surprised by the result we would put it out.

And we did.

Was there a lot of work done on the mixes in post-production?

As soon as we finished, we let Shoeb take it off our hands and he asked his friend CSKA to do a few small electronic additions that would help fill out the sound in some bits and some manipulations – for example the piano on Syndrome.

From there Shoeb mixed it for us without any specific guidance from us and he presented us with a mix of the selections he liked most and those that were also usable (another thing that happened was some material was unusable because we had some equipment problems and there was a lot some serious peaking).

This was a great way of doing it as we could listen back to it all with fresh ears and make a quite instinctive decision about how it turned out. We all loved how Shoeb approached the mixes and the subtlety of CSKA’s work so from there we just decided on a track order and made a couple of cuts and bumps and – done.

How long had you been playing together as Pollen Trio? There was a previous iteration of the band under another name, right?

We have been playing together since the start of 2008 – originally under the name the Austin Benjamin Trio. We changed our name because our approach changed completely and we began to improvise much more collectively. We released “Amalgama” as Austin Benjamin Trio, which had a more traditional Jazz approach to improvising with the idea of a specific soloist, and we played actual compositions.

After that though we were consistently dissatisfied especially when playing live and we just started leaving the compositions and the constraints they impart behind. This is when we decided Pollen Trio was a better-suited name.

How did the Cameron Webb collaboration come about?

It was a hook up – Shoeb asked us and Cameron if we’d like to collaborate and as we were already fans of his work we were naturally excited.

Shoeb put on a lovely gig in Canberra to celebrate the release. It was great!

How has the work you’ve done as Pollen Trio informed or influenced your other musical projects?

For each of us it is different but the main thing would probably be our approaches to improvising. We all studied music and jazz at university and so our initial experiences with improvising were very much a process of imitating what we’d heard on records. Pollen Trio has provided an outlet for us to find our own voice and develop it.

You mentioned a trip to the UK to record and play in 2011, is that still on the cards?

We hope so!  At the moment we are working towards a new record with Miroslav Bukovsky of Wanderlust and Ten Part Invention fame playing trumpet. So once that comes together we will hopefully be touring in the UK sometime late next year. In the meantime though we are posting a series of singles on our blog for people to listen to and check in with where we’re at.