To suggest that you can represent a cultural aspect of a place in a singular work is often a foolhardy endeavor. More often than not, the result will be woefully inadequate at best and pitifully reductive at worst. This is what makes Cut Copy Presents: Oceans Apart, an 80-minute mixtape showcasing the best DJs who make up the Melbourne dance scene, so remarkable.
A passion project spearheaded by Cut Copy vocalist Dan Whitford, the album is a survey that features some of the Victoria capital's best, curated by one of the city's greatest dance music aficionados.
Whitford--a veteran of the Melbourne scene for over a decade--calls the city's dance music scene "a world unto itself" and thinks this is very much the cause of the unique flavor present in tracks composed by the city's DJs and musicians.
"For me, the interesting part with Melbourne, is that it's disconnected from the rest of the world, both geographically and the way our scene works," he tells Out. "A lot of the time isn't dictated or affected by global trends in dance music or that kind of thing."
Whitford says it's that distance that allows performs to have their own "weird mutations" as to what inspires them. "Even in the house music or that kind of thing there's this own weird flavor that's kind of developed by just a bunch of different people here being inspired by one another and going off on weird tangents and creating something that's a little left of center," he says.
A short documentary, also titled Oceans Apart, accompanies the album and gives faces to the names featured on the album. "The vast majority of people I knew already and I guess that's what kind of made it seem like a good idea to work on a compilation like this," he says. "I wouldn't say I'm part of this current crop of artists who are coming through, but certainly it's a scene I'm very familiar with and I love going to see these people perform and I feel connected with it."
Whitford says he reached out to as many of the people that he knew who were doing interesting dance music and asked for unreleased material or if they could write a track. "There's definitely a strong sense of Australian-ness or this sort of basic tribal feeling to some of the tracks and it's fairly visual and you get the sense of a wide unfolding landscape listening to some of these tracks," he says. "I guess I definitely see this sense of having a few people doing exciting things here together in this scene helps to shape the kind of music the whole city listens to and is excited by."