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The Substation/ MESS/​ Sonorous IV/

Amias Hanley (photo by Devika Bilimoria) and Joe Talia (photo by Dawid Laskowski)
The Substation, 1 Market Street, Newport, Victoria 3015, Australia
26 March 2022
Sat 6–8pm
Sat 9–11pm

Wheelchair accessible


Concession $25
General $35


Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS) returns to The Substation for the next iteration of their octaphonic commissions. Pull up a bean bag and bathe in glistening new sound works from some of the finest sonic minds. Each year this commission program gives selected artists full access to the MESS collection of instruments with the provocation to create an immersive electroacoustic sound composition. For Sonorous IV, MESS are thrilled to present new works by the incomparable Joe Talia and Amias Hanley. Joe has recently returned from extended stints in Europe and Japan. One of Australia’s best drummers, his compositions straddle the electronic and acoustic domains with a seemingly effortless dexterity. Amias Hanley is a sound artist engaging in speculative and site-responsive approaches with a focus on audition as an affective practice. Their work interrogates the “possibilities of sound and technology to support and alter the sonic expressions of humans and more-than-humans.” As always these two new works will be interspersed with a diffusion from the Australian electronic music archive.


Born in Melbourne, Australia, Joe Talia is an improviser and composer who works with percussion, tape and electronics. Focussing on the use of Revox tape machine and analogue synthesizers in combination with instruments and field recordings, Talia’s electronic works patiently build up sparkling, detail-rich sound worlds of gliding tones, skittering percussion and burbling location atmospherics. In live situations, Talia often uses tape and effects to process and warp his own and others’ playing into uncanny chains of echoes and spectral smears of sound.

A virtuoso drummer, as a percussionist Talia emerges from the traditions of jazz and free improvisation and has developed a unique personal language of shifting accents, subtle virtuosity and discreet extended technique that he welds equally ably in jazz, rock, new music and improvisational contexts. Like his electronic works, his drumming often demonstrates a keen attention to long-form structures, dynamic development and group interactions.

An important member of Tokyo’s vibrant improvised music scene and internationally active as a performer, Talia performs and records regularly with Oren Ambarchi, Eiko Ishibashi, Jim O’Rourke, James Rushford and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. In addition to these regular collaborations, he has also been involved in projects with Keiji Haino, Chris Abrahams, Tetuzi Akiyama, Akira Sakata, John Duncan, Richard Pinhas and many others. His work has been published by international labels such as Black Truffle, Bocian, Kye and Touch.

This new work will make use of analog and digital instruments from all corners of the MESS collection to form a composition of dense electronic textures, presented in a sculpture-like multichannel diffusion. Alongside the generated tonal, textural and rhythmic elements, the instruments will also process and ingest field recordings of familiar environments and transform them into dynamic yet unidentifiable spaces for the electronic sounds to inhabit.


Using ultra sensitive contact microphones intended for measuring seismic vibrations, artist Amias Hanley has recorded the acoustic energy that travels through and articulates The Substation’s architecture and surrounding infrastructure, capturing a haunting auditory impression of the landscape and the building’s spectral expression.

Through this performance the building’s sonic character and surroundings are brought into conversation with selected synthesisers and electronic instruments from MESS’ historic collection, notably the Ondes Martenot. Items from the collection have been chosen for their expressive qualities and timbral synergy with the source material, and are used to voice and accentuate themes of transition and hauntology that unfold in the work.

Distant rhythms of the adjacent railway, soft resonance of air flow through the ventilation ducts and the illusory melodies of the oil pipeline contouring the east-facing wall, will be diffused across eight discrete channels conjuring an impression of the environment to emerge through the architecture – inviting audiences to listen across time, to attune to the building's multi-purpose existence, through shifting climates and the making of social relations.

Amias Hanley is an artist currently living on Wurundjeri Country in Melbourne, Australia. Their practice uses sound and media to explore relations among queer ecologies, attunement, situatedness and speculative practices. Engaging forms of performance, installation and collaboration, Amias' work is interested in ways of listening and the possibilities of sound and technology to support and alter the sonic expressions of humans and more-than-humans.

Their work has been commissioned by MESS, Liquid Architecture, Next Wave, Trocadero Art Space, Brunswick Mechanics Institute, Speak Percussion, Avantwhatever Festival, Bogong Centre for Sound Culture, Mapping Melbourne and Crack Theatre Festival.

This event is wheelchair accessible and gender neutral accessible toilets are available.

Please note that the seating provided for this performance will be bean bags on the floor.

The Substation is committed to continually improving our services to ensure our events can be enjoyed by all. If you have specific access requirements (including seating requirements) please note this when booking or get in touch via

Presented by The Substation and MESS.

MESS Commissions are supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.

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1 Market Street, Newport,
Victoria 3015, Australia

Currently closed
Wed–Sat 12–6pm

We acknowledge and recognise the Ancestors, Elders and families of the Yalukit-willam of the Kulin Nation, who are the traditional custodians of the land that The Substation is on. We extend our respects to their ancestors and elders past, present and emerging, and to all First Nations people.

We are committed to continually improving our services to ensure our events can be enjoyed by all. If you have specific access requirements (including seating arrangements for events) please get in touch.

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