“The machine is very much alive.”

Australian cult duo VACUUM, in operation since 2013, had only previously engaged in the realm of live performance. Now, with their hypnotic new track “Dredd”, Andrea Blake (ASPS/CHROME DOME) and Jenny Branagan (NUN) the pair weave a soundscape with their unique sonic tapestry of sub-bass, abnormal beats, and musique concrete for their upcoming debut album. Taking a cinematic cue, the low-frequency hertz tones unleash a sense of dread and suspicion, immediately bringing to mind the sound design David Lynch and Alan Splet created for Eraserhead; indeed, this track feels like an astral projection through an industrial wasteland to an underground world of danger.

(There is quite literally a trigger warning at the beginning of the video. The intense frequencies used for the backbeat can be dangerous to those susceptible to seizures, so please keep that in mind.)

The single showcases the pair’s affinity for plunging bass drops and subterranean frequencies, citing the single as “an homage to Model 500, dance floor anxiety, and the Mega-City One universe of Judge Dredd.” “Dredd” assures us that the machine is very much alive. Exhausts climax, disembodied limbs caress gear sticks; ominous smoke and pulsating lights denote preternatural vehicular possession. Christine lives, and she is ready to POUNCE.

The sensual yet unsettling video clip, directed by Jenny Branagan and Andrea Blake, showcases the duo’s fascination with automotive aesthetics. Filmed in collaboration with cinematographer Xavier Irvine and Sagan Productions, the video connects the dots between Crash, Christine and the golden age of mechanophilia in advertising. The video stars Andrea Blake, Jenny Branagan, Caitlin Hurik…and an Oscar-worthy performance from Roland Hvlak’s Volvo.

Watch “Dredd” below:

After their first meeting as labelmates on the cult imprint Nihilistic Orbs, Branagan and Blake quickly became friends and collaborators, forming VACUUM in 2013. VACUUM combines diegetic samples and sub-bass tones – resulting in a disquieting yet danceable outcome. Utilising the cyclical patterns found in nature and industry as a rhythmic device, VACUUM aims to remain in the cycle of destrution and reconstruction.

Dredd was recorded by Josh Wells and mastered by Enyang Urbik. VACUUM’s self-titled album is set for release in December 2021 via Heavy Machinery Records and It Records.

A fascinating endeavour of sonic sorcery.

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Design by Luke Fraser Image by Xavier Irvine x Sagan Productions x VACUUM

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