Sunday, February 23, 2014


Northcote Social Club, 17/02/14

The first of three acts reading from the same rulebook – warm synth chords, compressed drum loops and live percussion – Leaks makes mellifluous bedroom techno and is clearly in his early days as an artist. Thought he boasts warm bass pulses and cyclical vocal samples, this is music better heard on headphones than seen. With an interestingly dissonant use of Autotune and a nice range of reverbs and filters, this set is smooth music for late night drives with Delicate Love and Often It’s You its highlights.  

Kilter is a more upbeat and engaging presence, triggering samples and remixes of his mates' tracks (including Snakadaktal and London Grammar) he pushes a euphoric, percussion-driven summery sound that the audience responds to warmly. Looking slightly dorky, yet sounding ambitious as he mimes along with the sampled vocals, this injection of personality is a welcome edge in a genre that thrives on anonymity.

“I haven’t released an EP yet. This is crazy. It’s so nice!” laughs Danny Harley aka The Kite String Tangle part way through the third of four sold out shows.
Humble, grateful and prodigiously talented, as if all this wasn’t enough, his Dior Homme roguish good looks, fastened top button and adoring crowd is enough to make anyone head home and have their own stab at James Blake-Mount Kimbie style soulful electronica. As dry ice clouds and the crowd clusters a little closer, Harley appears, triggers icy synth stabs, beats drum pads, croons into his microphone and eases into a stellar set.

For a batch of songs that are mostly new to the attentive audience, the response is ecstatic. What If, Commotion, and a cover of Lorde’s Tennis Court shows his knowing way with atmospherics and suggests that this music feels simpler than what he is striving for. Many artists would see this sort of sold out national tour as a validating peak, but for Harley, bigger impulses seem at work. His rich, natural voice finds a great match on Stone Cold with Laura Boland of local duo Back Back Forward Punch who takes the energy up a notch. Words, “from an EP I’m releasing in April, hopefully,” he bashfully intones, sets the audience alight with its honeyed melodies and clicking beats. ‘This is my last song. Take a guess,’ he smiles ruefully as the crowd thrust iPhones aloft, the bass rumbles in a way it hasn’t all night and his Triple J smash Given The Chance sends us up then out.

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