Max Cooper @ Aviary: A Shattering Exploration of Sounds

If there’s one thing I hate more than rocking up to parties late, it’d have to be packing. Unfortunately, I was recently faced with both leading up to Max Cooper’s Canberra show, as I was moving out the next day. It was incredibly hard to choose one over the other – the hype for the show had been immense, with Cooper’s hauntingly beautiful videos, and soundscapes to match, promising to be amplified by the new sound system that had been rolled out for the gig. Aviary has also quickly gained ground as Canberra’s next big live music venue, however, I hadn’t started packing til 8am. Being the responsible adult that I am, I only had one realistic option.

Abandoning packing altogether and turning up to the gig, I was greeted with a wall of people stretching all the way to what looked like the far end of the world. The screen behind Club Junque, which was only about halfway down the bar, was showing the most intricate, elegant display of shapes, flowing into, out of, and around themselves. Moving through the sprawling crowd was easy enough; the challenge laid in finding the top layer of the projection, intertwined as it was with its sub-layered duplicates. Club Junque, in utilising the d&b audiotechnik cardioid sound system to what seemed the fullest of its range and then some, provided soothing yet somehow overpowering beats shaking the very floor we stood on (and one can only imagine the ground down below us as well). Pounding us back, we fought back against the wall of sound, all dancing together in time with the groove.

All too soon, it was time to hand over the reins, and Max Cooper stepped onto the stage to take us on his journey. The angelic highs and sublime bass of the intro led straight into a shattering exploration of sounds marked with an element of distinct yet disjointed beats all interlocking in perfect sync. Seemingly everyone was able to, quite literally, find their own groove in the music, as no two people were dancing to the same tempo, yet, all were moving to the same driving beat. This would not have been complete without the visuals, with Cooper’s degree in computational biology emulated through the display, and the digitally created show seeming intrinsically organic and natural.

The journey of creation, change, destruction and the human experience, our position within the universe, were all explored in cinematic glory and an immensely high quality, with the motif of triangular pixilation drawing us back from the fantasy that, in the moment, could have quite easily been mistaken for reality.

Escape Ferocity have proven their capacity to put on top of the line shows in our nation’s capital, and Aviary Bar has surely cemented itself as the next big thing in Canberra’s music scene. I’m glad I packed what I did before I came, as we were all taken straight to Cloud 9 by the end of that night.