Lace Curtain has a sonic effect as amorphous as its influences. Consisting of three members spliced from Australia’s hardcore and garage rock underground, the outfit—born of the touring circuit and executed across borders—is the inevitable punk mutation of EDM, perpetuated by the infinite coil of technological progress. Presenting a contextually ignorant exchange with its krautrock, heavy disco, and new wave muses, Lace Curtain produces a sound reminiscent of, but ultimately divorced from any conceivable dance music heritage.
Scattered across the northern suburbs of Melbourne and the Mission district of San Francisco in the US, James Vinciguerra, Mikey Young, and David West exhibit the peripatetic tendencies of people raised in an isolated culture—like Australia. That sense of alienation and fragmentation is one strongly felt, not only by the nomadic nature of their lifestyles (most notably as touring members of eminent synth-punk band Total Control) but also in the dispassionate lyrical themes and exquisitely lifeless tone of their sound.
Couched in DIY experimentalism, Lace Curtain inhabits a space with no past or present. It’s a statelessness that is perhaps best expressed in “Good Intentions”, where West’s monotone vocal bulldozes asynchronous rhythms with unsettling social observations as he coldly mutters, “There are people that cannot learn from the past, including me and you, and you, and you” before dropping into the monstrous distortion of a final, “and especially YOU.” This insistent nihilism holds true for most of the four-track EP, where words and sounds interact to induce a feeling of detached irony. The very title of “In This House” communicates the band’s unique interpretation of the 4/4 kicks and clap samples of a kind of house that is less uptempo music to dance to and more meditative instrumentals to ponder. EP closer “Gimme Space” not only references the kosmische muzik in its stylistic thrust but implicitly critiques the limitations of strictly adhering to any one musical form: “gimme space to move/give me time to reconsider.”
As a project whose roots you could trace back to an anomalous Italo-disco experiment in Total Control 7″ release “Paranoid Video”, there’s an element of discomfort to Lace Curtain. That’s not only a reflection of their ambivalent approach to electronic music production but also its members’ transitory ways of life, which in turn affects the collaborative process. Mostly constructed bottom-up from the rudimentary rhythms of Vinciguerra’s TR-707 and TR-727 drum machines, ideas are absorbed, filtered and distorted remotely through each individual’s unique palate. Thus Lace Curtain is placed in a culturally ambiguous context, founded on uncertainty, trading on unfamiliarity and creating something effortlessly fresh in the process.~
Lace Curtain’s self-titled EP is out now on DFA Records.
Published March 13, 2013. Words by Steph Kretowicz.