Go to a SABiNE gig and you will find yourself immersed in a dark and shadowy ambiance created by roving lights and smoke. The alien and industrial synth sounds combined with the latent lyrics draw you in. The music resonates, reverberates and engulfs you. The audience is transported to a dystopian space, a dark recess of the mind filled with featureless landscapes and repressed emotion.
SABiNE started performing in the Grahamstown music scene in 2015. Two years before, Matt Sabine bought an old synthesizer and started the journey towards finding his musical aesthetic. He found himself inspired by Depeche Mode, early Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, Talk Talk and early Bowie. This 80s mix has given birth to a sound that he calls New Wave/Darkwave/Synth. Though it is electronic music, it is a deliberate departure from house, electro, techno and dubstep. His aesthetic is at the meeting point or juxtaposition of genuine human experience and the robotic. It is an exploration of honest emotions, unrequited love, the deeply personal, sentiments of misanthropy, and the effect of modern lifestyles and technology on our psyche. It is a rejection of the impersonal and sanitized aesthetic of conventional electronic music. He uses a collection of analog equipment, like vintage synthesizers and drum machines from the 70s and 80s, to capture this sound. He creates his sounds and beats through experimentation – rejecting the manufactured, mass-produced sounds of samples and mainstream music.
Matt is inspired by the barren and dystopian Karoo landscape; the rusty, featureless, timeless, hardy imagery of the horizon. The stillness and loneliness of the Karoo gives a glimpse of the experience of the last person left on the Earth – the result of a breakdown of industrial and post-industrial capitalism and lifestyles. This loneliness is in direct contrast to the human lifestyles that are so affected by modern media and technology. We can longer be alone with ourselves, alone with our thoughts. We are attached, through umbilical cables, to the hyperrealism of Facebook and Instagram. This is why the music of SABiNE is created in Grahamstown – a space where you can face yourself and explore your latent thoughts. Matt sees this quiet and it’s lack of pressures as the perfect environment for illuminating truth and creativity.
SABiNE is working towards an album release. In the meantime, you can checkout some of the songs on Soundcloud. If you like what you hear you can catch SABiNE at regular gigs in town. The next gig is at SSS Top Bar on Friday 17 February at midnight. You can find the event on the SABiNE Facebook page.