Review: Roland Tings - Howler, Melbourne
Roland Tings returns for yet another show at Howler. This time he plays two sold out shows to show off his new EP Each Moment a Diamond. The six song album holds many of his recognizable sounds, but many, and especially Higher Ground, the first teased track of the EP show a different side to Tings.
Back in the dark band room of Howler, punters watch as the support acts slowly ascend the energy levels of the room. Venus II is a psychedelic electronic sun soaked duo. Fishing is the ocean’s comeback; synthy electro waves filtered with raw sounds.
Roland Tings played at Laneways Festival earlier this year in February and in these shows we were already seeing something different. A second stage presence, on keyboard, which added deeper electronic and techno to the ambient dance we are so used to. Already, he was creating more depth and layer to his beloved songs. And this was again shown in his Each Moment a Diamond EP tour. This time, Julian Sudek is thrown into the Tings mix playing on drums, adding an acoustic element to songs like Floating on a Salt Lake, bringing a raw marching band feel to its build up before rolling out into the electronic layers.
A lot of Each Moment a Diamond’s songs rely on a slow build up, intensifying keys and a final well earned debut into the chorus and the rest of the song, most of which give us over five minutes of delight. Turn Your Face Towards the Sun is a perfect example of this, and one that is translated so well to a live show, involving the whole crowd in the rising feeling the deep synths and overlays bring.
After teasing us coyly by exiting stage for a few minutes, Tings returns for his last song. With ten minutes left on the clock, we know what we are in for.
“I played this song in sound check before, and realized 8.20 is a long song,” Tings admits. He plays it again for us anyway. Pala rolls out across the crowd like a comforting blanket.
The drum kicks in this song remain throughout, keeping up the upbeat journey-like ascension. There is also an undercurrent not in the 2015 original that adds a sense of urgency. This same layer of shorter, faster sounds underneath familiar songs is recurrent throughout the whole live show. Each song has so many elements woven through; highs and lows, dark techno and disco synth, jungle beats and aquatic waves; the entire album is a journey for the ears, and when brought to life in the live shows, a journey for all the senses.