Review- UON (Urgency of Now)- Exit

I recently had the great pleasure of meeting up with Simon Segal of UON for a chat. It was a typical gorgeous, warm, autumnal Sunday afternoon in Melbourne. Over coffee and pasta at the iconic Tiamo in Lygon St we talked about his new music project UON and their first single; about his life in music and about the way the music scene in Melbourne has changed so much, and not all for the better.

So who are UON? According to Segal, UON is the product of a group of friends coming together because of a shared joy in playing music. They are Susan Hume(vocals), Belinda Cohen (drums), Simon Segal (synthesizers and production and engineering), Dallas Cosmas (bass & guitars) , Paul Healy (grand piano), MIlton Nomikoudis (vocal wrangling), and Wayne Reynolds (technical wrangling). Each with their own talents and with varied backgrounds and experience this group of artists formed not so much a ‘band as such’ but more of a collective of like minded souls. The benefits of such an approach are obvious as soon as you listen to their first single “Exit”.

They are the latest project to come out of the Prototype Musique stable. For those unfamiliar with their work they are an independent production label based in Melbourne.They are the brainchild of Dallas Cosmas (a talented musician in his own right)and they have produced some wonderfully adventurous and thought provoking artists and music in recent years. With over 25 years experience, Simon Segal is a long time friend and co-conspirator. He has worked as a producer on a significant portion of Cosmas’ back catalogue over many years. UON is just their latest creation.

Out Now on Spotify and most other digital platforms

“Exit” is an extraordinary piece of music. It is more like a sculpture made of sound than a song. Because people seem to rely on such things, if I had to name a genre I would go with electro-pop. But, to be completely honest this song defies any kind of label. It is that rare thing in music these days, it is unique.

This is not a work that has been put together with a particular audience or demographic in mind, it is simply a piece of art that has evolved and developed organically. It isn’t for everyone. It is not cookie cutter, paint by numbers music, so for those who like their music predictable and safe, I suggest you move on.

I have it on good authority that this is just the first salvo from UON with more to come over coming months including an album by the end of the year. Exciting news for lovers of great music. In the meantime keep an eye out for their first single “Exit” which will be available on 23 April 2019 on most of the usual platforms.

High Voltage- The Life of Angus Young (Jeff Apter)

In 2015 I had the enormous privilege of seeing ACDC perform live. For any fan of music, in particular rock n roll, seeing these guys live should most definitely be on your bucket list (admittedly this is getting harder to do since Angus is now the only one remaining from the original line-up). So, when I saw  a new biography of legendary guitarist and ACDC icon, Angus Young, on the shelves I just had to grab it.

My experience with biographies can be a bit hit and miss, usually miss. They have a tendency to be a bit dull. But, I can say with confidence that this book is not that. It is an incredibly satisfying and entertaining read.

The biographer, Jeff Apter, is clearly a music fan. He is the  author, of of over 20 books about various rock n roll acts, including ghost writing biographies for Michael Browning (Dog Eat Dog)  and Mark Evans (Dirty Deeds), this guy knows his stuff. That’s part of what makes this book so enjoyable. Aside from being well researched, it is obvious that this guy knows his subject inside and out. Yet, he managed to avoid gushing. This is not a fluff piece.

The early chapters in particular were especially pleasurable. It was great to relive the story of the foundations of the Australian rock n roll scene. From the exploits of older brother George in The Easybeats and his enduring songwriting/producing partnership with Harry Vanda, to the moment that ACDC made their explosive entrance onto the world stage, it is a great story all on it’s own. While reading it, I felt compelled to put on my old classic Australian rock albums, which made the experience all the more enjoyable.

Overwhelmingly the main impression is of a band with an incredible work ethic. The dedication and commitment that the band members have, the Young brothers in particular, to the group is awe inspiring. Their no nonsense, no bull shit approach to the idea has remained unchanged for 40 years. Others have tried to label them, they’ve been called punk before there was punk, new wave before there was new wave, and heavy metal. While these movements have come and gone, ACDC has continued on it steady path, ignoring most of it.

If I had a criticism of this book, it’s that we don’t get enough insight into the man himself. This is meant to be about Angus, not the band. But, then maybe that’s the point. The band IS Angus Young, and Angus Young IS the band. ACDC has survived numerous changes in personnel (it is a multi-million dollar industry in it’s own right), but it is the aging, school boy with the devils horns that people come to see.

I would recommend this book to anyone that likes a good read. Even if you aren’t a fan, this book will entertain you.

(High Voltage is currently available in Australia. It is scheduled for release in the UK in October 2017 and in North America in April 2018.)