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North Perth, WA, 6006
Australia

AKIOKA, SWAMP CLUBB, WAYS TO MIX

The Amber Fresh Chronicles

AKIOKA, SWAMP CLUBB, WAYS TO MIX

Andrew Ryan

i’m listening to a song called “bread on my shoulder”. it’s apparently a cover of another song called “bread on my shoulder” – who would have guessed. at the show at the bird the other night there was the girl there who dances the best of any girl in the city. it seems like all parts of her body move independently but in the sense of each section being a different planet orbiting one sun and the sun is kind of her and kind of the music. you know that feeling when you get to feeling good about your dancing and then someone else comes near who makes you feel like you’re just a little clockwork mouse only moving its legs backwards and forwards awkwardly, maybe your eyelashes too, but there’s … well, i’m just writing about this to not write about serious things, but this is a thing that really happened.

i was in the kitchen also, dancing for some reason, slow dancing for some reason with a partner and then just next to someone else both pretending to be dancing with a partner. it was a good moment, having shelter, all our limbs and the will to dance in the kitchen to no music. maybe there was music. so “bread on my shoulder” is being mixed in with king krule’s “neptune estate” in the headphones because that’s a great way to play music – just one song over the top of another song. mixing songs the other way is like floating down the river and looking at an island of dead trees in the middle, the trees move at different speeds depending on if they’re closer to you or not, the closer trees cover over the further trees and then the others come back into view – one then another, normal dj mixing – but this mixing is what happens when you tip water into the river from your drink bottle, or when you stand next to someone, deep mixing.

(because) lisa, a microbiology researcher talked at the last swamp clubb (emotional/musical/informative tour of the 12 lakes and the swamp system that run just beneath the concrete of our city – it’s all still there, pumps under the basement in myers, pumping the swamp and the derbarl yerrigan back out again every day so it doesn’t come up and over the new season clothes, the shoppers, the hosts and hostesses – true story. one time i told my parents “why have you taken me into hell!” just for taking me into a department store – what a brat). lisa got a couple and two strangers to kiss while she explained about how much and how little of our bacteria we share with each other, how much passes across, how we establish an ecosystem in the mouth of someone we kiss many times. she explained that our cloud of bacteria – not just problem bacteria but those bacteria we’re born with, live with, keep us alive – extends a hand’s length around us in a cloud. imagine right now that cloud around you. is anyone in it? are you just sharing with your computer?

anyway the music was what i wanted to tell you about. at the start of the swamp clubb tour matt the host got us all to lie down, forty people on a sunday morning lying down on their backs in the urban orchard outside the art gallery with our eyes closed, and then music started. i didn’t know where it was coming from, i had my eyes closed as advised, and it all washed over me, voices, deep feedback, the sounds of birds and the city all mixing in, and then voices that sounded like they were speaking a different language, and maybe the language from this exact place. i didn’t know if it was a recording or many people playing or some combination but when i opened my eyes it was tess – akioka – and as everyone moved to the next part of the tour i saw jerome and heidi sitting close to her, and saw tess shaking and bawling her eyes out. i went and held her because i was crying too. and she said into my hair and her hair and tears “what have we done??” i knew that all the spirits of the land, all the gone plants and animals, all the destructed culture and families and little kids and elders and just middle aged people of the land, their feelings had gone up into her and she couldn’t handle it. all she could do was CRY.

that’s what this writing was going to be: a tribute to AKIOKA. i’d heard her music a few times on the radio and thought ok, this is ok, but then she played the night of the dancing orbiter at the bird, incredible videos going in the background of some very intense dolphin video game, and her, akioka, making the biggest deepest truest music with just ONE piece of equipment, some mixture of a sample pad, drum machine, just her, that instrument and her voice, and calling up all the deep plus making party music for everyone at the same time. something about it was nec level. everything about it was nec level. people were going nuts even though everyone had already finished their icecreams, because somehow there were also icecreams on the dance floor. and then the next day there she was playing for forty people on their backs and channelling all the spirits of the land, crying spirits, gone spirits, future spirits.

i got given a magnum icecream to dance with at the bird show – choc wedges and magnums all round. i even got over my bacteria fears to let a guy have a bite of it – maybe it was lisa’s talk that made me know there isn’t much point trying to protect ourselves from each other anyway, just give in, let everything flow in, orbit, flow back in, the moon pulling so hard at the earth that volcanos erupt and tectonic plates shift to make an earthquake – true story too, bro.