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review, Kirin J Callinan, Kirin, J, Callinan, cinema, cinema reviews, Kirin J Callinan, music, artist
REVIEW:

KIRIN J CALLINAN


Turn. Face. Embrace.

star, ratingstar, ratingstar, ratingstar, rating
By James Cerche, 25th August 2013
review, Kirin J Callinan, Kirin, J, Callinan, cinema, cinema reviews, Kirin J Callinan, music, artist
SWITCH logoReview. 

KIRIN J CALLINAN

|

TURN. FACE. EMBRACE.

BAND: KIRIN J CALLINAN
FROM: SYDNEY
SOUND: EXPERIMENTAL
WEBSITE: HTTP://SIBERIARECORDS.TUMBLR.COM
FACEBOOK: KIRINJCALLINAN
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FAST FACTS.
James Cerche
By James Cerche, 25th August 2013
stars, ratingstars, ratingstars, ratingstars, rating
It's not often that the strength of the supporting acts alone will compel me to purchase a ticket to a gig. The current Midnight Juggernauts headline tour was one such event. While these guys served up an enjoyable set of digestible synth pop-by-numbers, it was the intriguing pair of artists billed before them who were the real heroes of the evening. Melbourne-born electro-fiend Fascinator and the Sydney-based noise-maker Kirin J Callinan brought the weirdness to the Corner Hotel and rounded out a bizarre trip through the contemporary Australian neo-80s indie scene.

Fascinator is the alter ego and latest of (Children Collide frontman) Johnny Mackay's side projects. A recent relocation from Melbourne to New York, following the simultaneous release of Children Collide's third album and the departure of their longest-serving drummer, has indeed yielded some strange fruit. Teamed with one of the members of Brisbane slacker punk band Dune Rats, Mackay has turned up with a bizarrely psychedelic collection of jungle drum and bass tracks. Complete with weird outfits, vocal manipulation tools and guitar noodling, Fascinator's opening set was the strangest performance I have seen all year. Mackay himself stood resplendent in a long gold wizard robe (think 'Their Satanic Majesties Request' meets the Orient), warbling from beneath a black cap sporting large googly eyes and a veil, while his sonic concoctions throbbed around him. An additional cohort of oddly-dressed companions littered the stage in various loose tableaus, barely twitching between sporadic dance breaks and flashy light-up hoola-hoop displays. If all this sounds incongruous, the greatest shock was that it actually worked. While I can imagine strained reactions from many, there was a bizarre delight to be found here, and I happily walked away at the end of the night with a new LP and a googly-eyed hat of my own.

KIRIN J CALLINAN - EMBRACISM

One of the most intriguing and addictive artists I have come across in a while, Kirin J Callinan's debut record 'Embracism' has been a 2013 standout release. Following on from Fascinator's trippy synth-fest, Callinan emerged tall, lean and dressed like he should be running a jazzercise class in sleeveless black shirt and baggy Adidas tracksuit pants tucked into jelly sandals and socks. He even donned a tin foil skirt at one point that make for some effective but frequently blinding lighting situations. Attire aside, this guy meant business. Deafeningly loud and with a palette of sonic textures that were as thrilling as they were abrasive, Callinan tore through a set of choice cuts from 'Embracism' to a slowly massing crowd (Midnight Juggernauts had the venue sold out). Opening with 'Halo' and the record's infectious title track, Callinan proved a magnetic performer. Wielding his guitar above a plethora of loopers and delay pedals like a weapon, he hunched over the microphone to deliver his snarling twisted sermons amidst thundering industrial electronica. It was hard to take your eyes off him. Although Callinan often appears as a solo performer, tonight's accompaniment sported matching turtlenecks with the apparently uniform jelly sandals, and did their best nonchalant-80s-backing-band impressions. It's clear that Callinan is capable of appearing in a number of guises and incarnations while maintaining a powerful musical identity and signature sound that colours and enriches whatever he touches. This can be evidenced notably through his work with Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders on the stunning 2011 LP 'Hurtsville'. Rather like the late Roland S Howard, Callinan represents an important breed of Australian performer and should be recognised for his unique, daring and DIY approach to music.

The whole evening developed in a distinctly Boosh-like direction and by the time the headliners appeared at ten past eleven, I was having so much fun that it didn't really matter what happened. Kirin J Callinan and Fascinator are certainly not for everyone, but they represent an enticing alternative to the mainstream alternative. Highly recommended if you're after something a little different or if you still secretly hope the 80s never died.

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