|MILESAGO: Australasian Music & Popular Culture 1964-1975||Groups & Solo Artists|
Steve Maxwell Von Braund (keyboards,
synthesisers, sax, percussion)
Geoff Green (keyboards, synthesisers)
Gil Matthews (drums, percussion, enginrering)
Although pioneering electronic outfit Cybotron emerged at the more recent end of the Milesago 'charter' during 1974-75, theis group deserves to be documented, since it one of the first (if not the first) Australian examples of pure electronic rock, a genre that later blossomed with the likes of Ollie Olsen's various projects. Here was the blueprint. Synthesisiser fanatic Steve Maxwell Von Braund teamed in the mid-70s with Geoff Green to form Cybotron in 1976, but Von Braund had already caused a considerable stir by releasing what is largely regarded as Australia's first fully electronic album, Monster Planet (Clear Light Of Jupiter, 1975).
Influenced by contemporary "Krautrock" electronic outfits like Can, Amon Duul, Neu, Ash Ra Tempel and Tangerine Dream (not surprisingly, the German-born Von Braund had been an associate/friend of some of these musicians) the ambitious suite impressed with its rich layers of synths, treated sax and electro-percussion. Former Masters Apprentices singer Jim Keays contributed vocals to the title track, while Aztecs drummer, producer and long-time collaborator Gil Matthews engineered and provided bass and drums support, with Henry Vynhal on treated violin.
The “mind-expanding brain food” offered by that debut release continued with the official formation of Cybotron during 1976, and the ensemble went on to create some marvellously inventive aural soundscapes. Their self-titled debut LP (1976) has been described as "a cross between late 60's Stockhausen and Kraftwerk's Autobahn album ... disco melodies warped with hypnotic synth fusion".
It was followed by a bootlegged live radio performance, Saturday Night Live (1977), and two further official albums. Colossus (1978) featured "a more progressive edge backed by a massive symphonic sound" and included contributions by Colin Butcher (drums, percussion, synthesiser). Mark Jones (bass, guitar, keyboards) joined for Implosion (1980) with Gil Matthews again playing drums and keyboards.
In more recent times an American electronic group has appropriated the name but has no other connection with "our" Cybotron. Von Braund and Green are still about, making "far-out music and vibes". In early 2002 Geoff Green reoprted that Cybotron is back in action and recording with Gil Mathews. He also announced that their old albums will be released on CD, along with a new live CD recorded when they supported Split Enz.
Culnane, 2001 (revised 2007)
Steve Maxwell Von Braund:
"Monster Planet" / "Crystal Forest" (Clear Light Of Jupiter CLOJ-7)
"Colossus" / "Ride to Infinity" (Champagne Records CHS-605)
"Ride to Infinity" / "Xmas Hills"
Steve Maxwell Von Braund:
Monster Planet (Clear Light Of Jupiter CLOJ-777)
Cybotron (Clear Light Of Jupiter CLOJ-782)
Saturday Night Live
(bootleg recording of a live broadcast on 3ZZ Melbourne)
Colossus (Champagne CHA-7004)
1. Colossus (8:07)
2. Eclipse (10:40)
3. Medusa (7:41)
4. Raga (6:18)
5. Colossus (short Mix) (3:54)
6. Ride (4:41)
Steve Maxwell Von Braund - ARP 2600, Korg 700, sequencer, alto saxophone
Geoff Green - organ, piano, strings, mellotron, synthesizer
Colin Butcher - drums, percussion, synthesizer
Implosion (Cleopatra CLP-203)
References / Links
Special thanks to Geoff Green and to Dave Graney for inspiration, suggestions and guidance
Encyclopedia Of Australian Rock & Pop (Allen & Unwin, 1999)
- additional discographical information
Cybotron: Australia's First Powerhouse Electronic Band