There’s nothing like new sounds to keep the ears young. Yes, you hear a wild spray of reference points in the music made by Sydney trio Holopeak on this debut album, but the totality of what they’re doing is unique. Having met when studying jazz at Sydney Conservatorium, guitarist Nick Mielczarek, bassist Harry Birch and drummer Chloe Kim have quickly escaped any obligation to adhere to tired conventions. They work in a dimly-lit musical back-alley where free improvisation collides with the aesthetics of rock: specifically the peculiar energy that results from volume, density and insistent rhythms.
Where the 1970s jazz-rock idiom tended to make the rock elements prissily sophisticated, Holopeak’s takes rock at its most raw, and then adds the sophistication in the shaping of their improvisations. Furious assaults are countered by dips into pools of surprising serenity. Some of these U-turns in mood and narrative were created in real time; some in post-production editing. Both are a means to the same end of telling musical stories that have not been told before. The three players are already highly distinctive on their instruments, especially the equally gifted and imaginative Kim.