Melbourne-based DJ Matthew Belleghem brings to this podcast 30+ years of experience as a curator of engaging and eclectic electronic music. Having spent time as a touring musician, club DJ, music producer and dance music journalist, his tastes range from underground progressive house music through to ambient, new wave, nu disco, trip hop, trance, techno, downtempo and psychedelica. Music For Small Audiences is a guided exploration through the most colourful corners of his music collection, and is perfect for headphone and living room listening.
MFSA104: Days Go By
Winter has arrived in Melbourne. To me that means short days, falling leaves, and the occasional smell of a wood stove across the city at night. It can be easy at this time of year to withdraw a little bit, to bunker down and count the days off until warmer weather returns.
Of course winter here means summer somewhere else. As is the case with many things, where one is experiencing the sunset, another is experiencing the sunrise. Nothing lasts forever, and we all get only as long as we get. Soon enough the winds change, the cycle repeats and things begin anew.
This is Episode 104 of Music For Small Audiences. It was recorded on a lovely winter evening in warm surrounds.
MFSA103: Your Call Is Important To Us
Coordinating travel, as with coordinating a lot of things these days, involves a lot of time waiting on hold on the telephone. As such, I am becoming something of a hold music aficionado. On many recent calls the music has been punctuated with a repetitive series of apologies explaining that, due to the pandemic, hold times are longer than they might otherwise be. If the past two years have taught me anything, it is the extent to which a pandemic involves an awful lot of waiting, and more than a few apologies.
For more than two years, it has felt that relationships with friends and family overseas have been on hold. As such it was great to reconnect during a recent return trip to Canada, and to spend some quality time with loved ones. While telephone and video connections are valuable, they do not fully replace the magic of real human connection.
MFSA102: The Spirit Of Radio
As I grew up my two older sisters were a constant source of musical guidance and inspiration, taking me to concerts, bringing me records from overseas school trips and keeping me up to speed on the hottest bands across the genre that was then called New Wave. Throughout our early years growing up in suburban Toronto, one radio station in particular was held high as the mythical point source from which all good music came. That station was CFNY, 102.1 FM.
Following on from high school some years later, I managed to convince a local synthesizer shop to give me a job in sales. The shop owner became a dear friend, and the shop was quite popular with local dance music makers, in part because of the owners incredible collection of vintage synths. Channeling my paternally inherited passion for all things beeping and flashing, I got quite into learning every bit of gear I could get my hands on, with my mother eternally patient while an endless parade of boxes, wires and devices began to take over more and more rooms of our house.
As luck would have it, one day the Roland product rep called, asking if I could demo their new DJ oriented stereo sampler to one of CFNYs on air crew, by bringing it to demo live on air during their midnight to 6AM weekend dance music broadcasts. At a time when the Toronto rave scene was exploding and so many new genres emerging, there was no shortage of amazing music to be played each week. To make a long story short the experience up close was eye opening. In the process I learned a lot about how to build and shape a six hour set through the wee hours to sunrise.
This is episode 102 of Music For Small Audiences. A suitably extended set, it reflects to me the free spirit and genre exploration of those all night radio broadcast sets thirty years ago.
MFSA101: A Soft Landing
Ah yes, life in a pandemic. I suppose every now and then life throws up a bit of turbulence, and so this is our time. But what is the difference between flying and falling, really? There are some parallels shared with the difference between drowning and waving. Beyond that, falling also carries with it a sense of inevitability, of a ballistic trajectory, of a future impact. No wonder that dreams of falling are so common, or so confronting.
At a time when friends and family can feel so very far away, and as humanity fights a pitched battle with the everchanging swathe of infectious agents that seem so determined to further postpone our return to normality, who knows what lies ahead, or what comes next? Sometimes the best one can hope for is a soft landing.
As I write this I am just over three hundred kilometres from home. May not sound like much, but after an extended pandemic and all of the restrictions that come with, even a little bit of travel is a really big deal.
The past few weeks have been a reawakening of sorts. Social reconnections, the relaxation of restrictions, and a new sense of freedom and possibility for space and place. Seeing old friends in person again. Travelling to the places that we had always meant to see. Revisiting the places that we have been away from for far too long. Meeting new people. Booking overseas travel, and planning new adventures abroad. Hard to believe this is the furthest I have been from home in more than two years.
This is of course episode 100 of Music For Small Audiences. It was recorded in one take a few weeks ago on the first weekend of social reconnection after many months apart. A special double length set filled with sparkling musical gems, it celebrates both the recent reconnections with friends and family close by, and the promise of seeing again those who we have been away from for far too long.
As befits the context, it has more than a few nods to musical memories of years gone by. As a mix it is a fairly stretched out, groove driven affair, perfect for popping onto the hifi in the background while reconnecting with your own friends and family.
MFSA099: Too Late To Leave
Whether we are talking about social gatherings or impending natural disasters, there comes a point at which leaving is no longer an option. A point when, to paraphrase an old movie quote, there can be no turning back, and there is no choice but to ride it out.
Whether bunkering down or busting a move, once the decision to stay is made, the die has been cast. Once those present have made the commitment to stick it out and see where it all ends up, there is a bit of peace provided, because there is no longer a decision to be made. One way or another, things are in motion. Batten down the hatches and settle in, as the end game is underway.
So too it has been with the Australian response to the pandemic. In recent weeks the strategy has shifted from one of elimination to one of accommodation, with the assumption that anyone still in Australia was going to have to make peace with things washing through to a certain extent. In hearing the announced shift in strategy, and in reading the emotions of those communicating it, there felt somewhat a parallel with that pivot point in natural disaster emergency broadcasts where the messaging shifts from strongly encouraging immediate evacuation, to advising that evacuation was no longer possible and that come what may, the only option remaining was to shelter in place.
This mix was recorded during the time of this strategic shift. As such it reflects equal parts encouragement, relief and nostalgia, and is well suited to settling into a well protected place for an extended start to finish listen.
Relates to every damn one
Each new mix is like waking up and enjoying another birthday. Thanks Belleghem