While Australian hip hop has been progressively generatingits own distinctive musical culture in Australia since the 1980s, renegade crew Curse ov Dialect have been galvanising their own place in the hip hop genre, but for entirely different reasons.
Rebellious and challenging, Curse ov Dialect’s brand of hip hop emerged through the commonality of the crew’s experiences of difference, rejection, acceptance and belonging. Curse ov Dialect’s musical style is distinguished from that of Australian hip hop at large since the musical sensibilities inherent in Curse ov Dialect’s hip hop are an avid tribute to the crew’s ethnic origins. As a result, Curse ov Dialect’s beats and samples incorporate an eclectic miscellany of traditional ethnic sounds uniquely set to thumping beats.
The current line up for Curse ov Dialect has been in existence since 2000. The crew consists of MCs ‘Raceless’, ‘Vulk Makedonski’ and vocalists ‘Nothing’ and ‘August the 2nd' with DJ Paso Bionic on the turntables. Altogether, these members represent a diverse range of backgrounds encompassing Pakistani, Anglo-Indian, Maori, Maltese and Macedonian ethnicities which inform the crew’s sound and message. However, Curse ov Dialect’s music is not restricted to any specific ethnicity; rather, it is designed to resonate with the experiences of many people throughout Melbourne. Their music is about the expression of personal experiences and themes, aimed at raising consciousness about racism, identity and difference.
This concert, directed by Elena Vereker, was touted as representing an innovation for the hip hop genre and its presentation. As part of the Urbanology Festival, Curse ov Dialect’s special concert aspired to fuse hip hop with theatre in a hybrid performance at the North Melbourne Town Hall. The North Melbourne Town Hall provided additional space which enabled the crew to perform choreographed renditions of their songs; however, the audio was at times unclear, diminishing some of the clarity of significant lyrics which importantly position the crew’s music in the realm of satire. The unclear acoustics also displaced some of the significance of the vivid array of multi-media images which served as the backdrop to the stage. Projecting a series of shifting images and text, the multi-media display bolstered the overall visual impact of Curse ov Dialect’s performance. Perhaps maintaining a greater balance between the juxtaposition of these images and text with Curse ov Dialect’s lyrics would have better reinforced the potency of the crew’s ultimate message. Despite these complications which partially hindered the execution of Curse ov Dialect’s message, the crew attracted a diverse audience eager to hear different sorts of thoughts and feelings and on this, the crew certainly delivered.
While hip hop has always aspired to offer alternative avenues of musical experience, Curse ov Dialect’s challenge to the current institution of Australian hip hop has brought an innovative performative element to the genre. The fervency with which Curse ov Dialect seek to experiment with the genre of hip hop will prompt many audience members to investigate the reasoning behind the crew’s artistic choices and ultimately uncover Curse ov Dialect’s true message.
Arts House in association with Ambiguous Horse and Baddums present
Curse ov Dialect
Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall
Dates: Friday 9 May 2008
Bookings: www.easytix.com.au/artshouse or 03 9639 0096