Until recently, The Cactus Channel were easily introduced as integral members of the Soul music scene that quietly flourishes in Melbourne. Well-known for the kind of musicianship and compositional skills fundamental to making compelling instrumental music, The Cactus Channel are equal parts sharp and scruffy, at turns loose and languid, then electric and rhythmic.
The band formed in high school, united by shared interests and a shared sense of humour — a love of soul music and the kind of hip hop, jazz, and alternative releases that spring from it, meant that from the beginning The Cactus Channel have prided themselves not just on eclecticism, but on the constant sharing of influences among their members.
The band were signed in their formative years to Melbourne soul mainstay HopeStreet Recordings and recorded their much beloved debut, Haptics.Sophomore release Wooden Boy in 2014 saw the band’s shifting sound cemented: spooky and cinematic, arid and augmented, and decidedly difficult to pin down. “Soul” slowly became too small a word to encompass the band’s output, as traditional horn lines gave way to twisting parts that oscillated between overblown and understated, and a rhythm section that prided itself on moments that make a listener stop and take stock, partly unnerved and partly overjoyed.
Solidifying their lineup of seven members, The Cactus Channel’s music will undoubtedly continue to shift and change, as action-reaction proves the perfect formula to keep the band, and their listeners, on their toes.