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Lucas Granpa Abela
(the artist formaly known as JUSTICE YELDHAM)

Countless shows in over 45 countries during decades of relentless touring have turned maverick musician Lucas Abela and their ecstatic performances with shards of amplified glass into the stuff of legend. Their singular practice evolved from within the international noise underground, where the glass evolved from a means to create free-noise cacophonies into an incredibly versatile instrument producing an organic form of outsider electronica, which the New York Times described as "One moment you hear John Coltrane playing a volcano, the next you hear a string section being squeezed through a toothpaste tube". Played somewhat like a bellow-less reed instrument, Abela subtly vibrates their lips against the shards edges transmitting micro-sonic vibrations into the pane. This single source of audio feeds a complex modular patch of parallel effects chains that give the instrument the illusion of ghostly accompaniment that together forms dense layers of anomalous music.


"One moment you hear John Coltrane playing a volcano, the next you hear a string section being squeezed through a toothpaste tube"

David Rees - The New York Times.

"the most exciting performer I have seen in the last three years – in fact, since I first saw Iggy Pop"

Bruce Russell - WIRE magazine.

"brilliantly immediate performance, galvanising and alien and funny, and free of safe gestures and easy comparisons."

Frances Morgan - the quietus.

"Lucas (Justice Yeldham) is just captivating. It's incredible how he can flip the feeling of a room upside down and sonically theres just no other sound like his"

ZACH HILL. - Death Grips

"Abela didn’t play songs, but the space. Not just the small dive in a Seattle suburb, but the time of the room, the shape of it"

Matt Porter on Tukwila, WA June, 2019 - DED BLOG

"Abela appears in an ecstatic and controlled state at the same time, fearless of the glasses’ sharp edges"

Karin Weissenbrunner - eContact.

"Lucas Abela, dumfounded onlookers as a diamond shaped piece of glass was transformed from weapon to instrument. Fiercely oral, Abela handled it with sax like precision, at times resembling a lost child, while others a harsh noise set with the cyclic intensity a la Merzbow."

DANIEL DE JONGH - Unsound Adelaide 2018

"sounding like the weirdest, filthiest synthesizer you’ve ever heard with all parameters set to “stun.” Abela improvises at peak intensity for a surprisingly long time, and keeps it surprisingly engaging, beyond the initial shock factor of watching a guy freak out with a giant shard of glass in his mouth. At last, though, the set has to end when blood is pouring from his lips, smearing the glass pink. Abela blows the last bellow of air from his lungs and, naturally, smashes the glass over his head."

cool perth nights - club zho - perth 091115

"Lucas Abela's unannounced show the previous evening — a short sharp shock that concludes with him headbutting straight through his infamous contact mic'd sheet of glass — is inclusive and joyful, with its blend of unhinged humour and blistering sonic attack"

Rory Gibbon - the quietus - Unsound Festival - Krakow 121015

"Lucas Abela has been all over the world doing some very interesting and at times disturbing things, but thankful he has come to Miami to demonstrate his act. The most impactful set of the night Abela cut a piece of glass down the middle and attached a pick-up to it and screamed into it. The streaks of blood and spit on the glass as his act crescendoed was a visual statement to his auditory vision. The look of the uninformed people walking into Churchill’s looking to get a late night pint was one of confusion, and understandably so. Why would a sane man try to scream into glass all the while knowing he is going to get all cut up, and to further question that man’s sanity why would he later go on to eat the glass and smash it on his face. I’m not sure of the answers to those questions, but I was able to witness it and I stand by my choice of doing so. Gold star for you Mr.Abela."

Theo Rodino - jolt radio - Miami 100715

"First up, I got to see this guy perform live – and I seriously was not expecting that. There’s no blood but the intensity of the emotion reminds me of early Neubauten or Nina Simone or someone: he has a trunk full of effects and delay and distortion pedals, and he’s not scared to use them. He blows crazy shit across a shaped plate of glass for 20 or 30 minutes or so, and it’s crazy shit good – so good, that when he started I figured Nicola had slipped on an extraordinarily loud noise tape and I could not quite understand why everyone was crowding around the ‘stage’. The noise is incredible – and when I type ‘noise’, I mean layers of sound, texture, understanding, dissonant harmony. Really incredible. I never was much one for guitar shredding or extended drum fills or virtuoso vocal acrobatics, but it seems the one thing that will really get my pulse racing is some glass shredding. Seriously. This is body-expanding. Sometimes I’m laughing out loud at the nerve and brilliance of it. Sometimes, I just want to fuck shit up (plus ça change). Halfway across it bothers me that few people are dancing amid the ruins but then I figure they too are too stupefied. Justice tells me afterwards that he can’t get booked no more: this is only his second performance this year. Man, this man should be headlining the fucking Sydney Opera House. He’s a fucking MASTER or MISTRESS, or have it what you will, of his chosen instrument. I feel the same empathy towards his music that others doubtless feel for fucking Kevin Shields. (Not literally fucking Kevin Shields, you understand – though maybe some feel that too.) He can’t get booked cos he’s an experimental artist – frequently gets called a ‘performance artist’, much to his disgust – and so he’s meant to be always switching around, trying out new ideas and forms, not concentrate for several years on becoming the world’s leading glass shredder."

Everett True - collapseboard - Brisbane 210614

"Utilising just a piece of glass (found in the area of the performance), a contact mic and some pedals, justice comes onto applause and anticipation from the audience anxious to see the spectacle. Dressed in what looks like a doctor’s gown, his attire gives Yeldham an arguably fitting sideshow freak appearance. After a brief introduction Yeldham launches into full performance by doing what he does best. An intense cacophonic human explosion of condensed cathartic vibrations follows, laced with a kind of transgressive, yet genuine euphoria .In a world of digital laptop complacency, Yeldham’s performance nods more towards Jap Noise legend Masonna for its organic tour de force and true outsider punk spirit, with a tongue in cheek (or rather in this case, pressed up against glass!) approach and cutting humour that the noise/improve scene usually lacks. An audience member between 'tracks' asks Yeldham to bleed at one point, evoking brief vocal disdain from Yeldham. Indeed Yeldham has stressed that any bloodletting that may occur is a by product of the show and not the primary intention. And disappointing for some, Yeldham does not bleed during this show, but bites through the glass toward the end to shocked gasps from some members of the audience. Whether or not Yeldham bleeds after his performance (and at 20 mins Yeldham leaves not his repertoire to overkill, much like classical punk performance) is irrelevant, as in a world of contrived noise makers, Yeldham’s show cuts straight through to the jugular by means of simplicity. And succeeds - in being both unique and bringing a much needed breath of fresh air into the scene. Famously described by one journalist as “The most exciting performer I have seen in the last three years – in fact, since I first saw Iggy Pop" .He’s not far off - its exciting, raw untamed stuff in a world of full of complacent bores .If you ever get the chance (and Yeldham has toured everywhere - from Berlin to Korea with his show!), catch him if you can…."

Andy Black Forest - Supersonc Festival - beat 13 - Burmingham 221012

"Last night I saw a master of glass - Justice Yeldham, presented by Noisekoelln. I knew this is going to be spectacular, so the camera was a must. I should admit he has a great sense of humor, a very polite guy too. Double respect – he knows what he does. No fear of glass whatsoever. He took this huge piece of glass as if it was just a sax. Years ago I was impressed by those who could play saw, last night I forgot about them… It was loud and painful, but Yeldham said it was not loud enough, so we turned it up. This 40-minute French kiss with a piece of glass was very impressive indeed, rich in its own right, full of saliva and generous to its audience too. In the end of the show he kindly asked:" How many of you came here and expected blood?"… We were pussies for sure, as many of us screamed "Noooo blood!"… Ok.Ok.. No, blood means, no blood. But he still nipped off the end of the glass, and 5 minutes later smashed the rest against his head. Somebody in front of me cut a finger.. Nevermind, Justice Yeldham kept on smashing the pieces of glass with his toes. Every single move of his and even those who were standing closer to him was followed by squeaking noise. I am not going into technicalities, this kind man simply killed all the previous acts."

Katja - Avant Hard - Berlin 170412

"Basically, everyone just stared in awe at this guy as he jammed a piece of glass underneath his upper lip, shredding the thing back and forth while he wailed the gnarliest splatter sounds you've ever heard. He runs the sound through a series of pedals and the whole things just sounds amazing. It is maybe a bit much for most people to stomach seeing live. but it was a true blessing to have him come to Richmond. There weren't a whole lot of people at the show but everyone who was there was way into it, and the energy level was high. People screamed with encouragement the whole time he was on. Everyone was totally geeking out. Shit was awesome."

David Kenedy - RVA Mag - Richmond 080910

"Rating Justice Yeldham and the Dynanic Ribbon Device (Australia) against other Neon Marshmallow acts seems unfair. Like Dave Phillips (with whom he toured extensively in 2005), his work is utterly singular, based in a personal vision, and has been uncopied in the world. His work is on another level; comparing it to other acts doesn't make much sense, any more than you'd compare a boxer with a mixed martial-arts fighter. They're each great at what they do, but not strictly the same thing. Like Justice Yeldham, they both do get bloody. Lucas Abela (the Justice himself) takes a pane of glass, slaps on contact mic attached to some pedals on it, lubes it up, and slams his face against it, using the glass's resonance powers to amplify the sounds of his voice, the varations caused by pressing against it with his fingers, and the rich palette of effect-driven modifications to both. Tonight's version was a bit longer than many I've seen (maybe trying to use as much of the 20 minute allotment as possible), paused several time for drink breaks (first I've seen), and had more anthemic "singing" than I've seen before. I've seen the Justice do this in person at least five times, and many more on the internet and on his Cicatrix CD/CD-ROM, so after a while, the fun of watching is partly watching others experience it for the first time. Interest fades a bit as the glass singing goes on, but the moment he bites down on the glass and breaks off some of it IN HIS MOUTH, the crowd goes into a mad frenzy! By the time the last piece is smashed on his head, the crowd is braying likes wolves. Never seen it fail. Justice Yeldham brings out the beast in people!"

Chris Sienko - Neon Marshmellow - gapers block - chicago 220810

"From the tasteful to the extreme, next up was the incomparable Justice Yeldham (aka Sydney sound artist Lucas Abela). Kneeling in the centre of the Ballroom’s parquetry floor, with only his customary mic’ed up broken window pane and effects pedals as props, Abela demonstrated once again why he is regarded as one of Australia’s foremost experimental musicians. The sounds he coaxed from the splintered glass by using it as a mouth-piece were as eloquent as any saxophonist’s improvisation. The clearly rapt audience gave Abela a massive round of applause that he sheepishly waved off with the comment, “It’s finished”."

René Schaefer - Static Age - MESS AND NOISE - November ’09

"There had been a lot of hubbub leading up to Australian sound (and glass!) artist Justice Yeldham's show at Happy last Thursday. People who saw him play here in 2007 were dying to see him again, and those that had missed him that first time around wanted to see what all the fuss was about. When Justice Yeldham set up on stage. I was tempted to stand right at the front like I usually would, but I remembered that the last time I saw him play, the odd shard of glass went flying, so I stood around the side of the stage where still had full view. Hey, sometimes you need to consider safety, even with pop music. Yeldham was excellent. He had a large, thick pane of glass that was connected to oscillators and distortion pedals connected to a toolbelt he was wearing. He spat beer onto and sucked and blew on the glass with his mouth which created brilliant streams of noise. I once saw some video footage where he played a piercing wee number and at the end deadpans, "That's my cover of 'Funky Town'. I called out, "Play 'Funky Town!'" But he called back, "Aw, I can't do 'Funky Town' people always make fun of me when I do that!" He clearly relishes the whole performance aspect of his routine because not only does he throw his whole physicality into it, he also does it barefoot, which seems like quite a pointed and conscious decision to make, what with all the resulting broken glass. By the end of his fearless and fierce set, his sheet of glass was reduced to a small shard which he smashed over his head. It left me feeling exhilarated and slightly breathless. I liked his wolf t-shirt, too."

Kiran - TEXTURE - Wellington 050209

"...but then the anomaly that is Justice Yeldham is preparing to shock and awe. How to describe the music of a man, armed with a belt of oscillators and distortion pedals hooked up to a pane of amplified glass onto which he screams, hollers and blows and bellows until he's left with nothing but shards of glass nestled between his teeth? Demented? Certainly! Entertaining? Absolutely - as long as you're not squeamish."

ROCK A ROLLA - Supersonic Festival - Birmingham 120708

Next up, I squeezed into the packed Factory Club to catch Justice Yeldham. It's hard to describe this guy. Well, it's not - what's hard is trying to explain why a man shouting and screaming into a piece of glass (hooked up to a belt of effects modules) is so compelling. The show ended after 15 wide-eyed, slack-jawed minutes the pane had been smashed and bitten into too small a piece to continue. Extraordinary."

CULTURE DELUXE - Supersonic Festival - Birmingham 120708

"Yeldham's live performance consists of grinding his face into a sheet of mic'd up plate glass. It is hideous for a variety of reasons. One is that the transparency of the glass means you get to view his face all squished up against the other side of the glass like a kid on a special bus wiping his nose down the window as you overtake them on the motorway. Another reason is the sound really is quite nasty. The resonant properties of the glass means as he yells onto/into it and then pulls and squeezes at the sheet, the pitch of his voice wildly varies and wavers and this in turn is run through some truly ugly processing that makes it sound like a Dalek in it's death throes."

Chris Summerlin - DISKANT - 151105 Nottingham

"Blood. Noise. Broken Glass. KY Jelly. DJ Smallcock [justice yeldham] is once seen, neverforgotten. Working at the bleeding edge of performance art and noise terror mentalism with adash of carny showboating, he screams and hyperventilates into contact microphones while his laptop morphs the nightmarish results into inhuman ring-modulated torture. This is a perfectly formed miniature that says a great deal about the principles of performance, entertainment and the wisdom of standing at the back."

venue magazine - 081105 Bristol

"After this, anybody would have been an anti-climax, but from the moment the next act stood centre-stage and squeezed an entire tube of KY Jelly into his mouth, I sort of knew something interesting was going to happen. Smashing his face into a peice of contact mic-ed glass, making the grotesquest of faces resulting in some exquisitely distorted sonics... This was Justice Yeldham and the Dynamic Ribbon Device. Really compelling stuff alone, but when he broke of a corner of the glass with his own teeth (with a horrible crunching sound) then dragged it across the remaining pane in a blood drenched scrape the performance entered a new realm of extreme. The squeamish (amongst us, me included!) winced. Later the glass fragmented further cutting into his neck causing blood to squirt out I really thought it was hospital time! However he seemed to avoid any fatal injuries. Blood and jelly combined and smeared across the smooth surface as the most gorgeously biological sounds were produced in great whirls of feedback. A real show stealer for definite, apparently he covered some of his merchandise in the evening’s blood – I bet fans were hesitant about a signature, especially if a pen wasn't to hand!"

Cloudboy - ROTTEN MEATS - 081105 Bristol

"A writhing, contorting, nauseating, sensational screamingfuckingbloodymess, the 33-year-old Australian glassjaw who performs as Justice Yeldham And The Dynamic Ribbon Device has a show so visceral, so alive, that it can move a room full of the most jaded noisenrrds to gaping-mouthed wonderment. The pock-marked bloke born Lucas Abela, mischievously takes the stage of Denver avant-loft/noisenik playhouse Monkey Mania wearing a belt surrounded by distortion pedals and a single contact mic limply dangling from a wire. He squeezes a tube of KY Jelly all over his weathered mug and into his mouth. He clicks on the pedals and presses he face to a triangle of glass. Hideous black garglescuzz pours out of the speaker, each yelp, hum and fart matching his face’s disgusting rubbery contortions. The sounds are inhuman, but their patterns are most definitely familiar, a hyper-distorted screech-tantrum howling in bone-rattling harmonies, all set to the bittersweet aroma of warm lube. He leaps into the crowd, face twisted into apoplectic distortions, and begins seizuring. And here is where everyone starts flipping the fuck out. Abela gnaws on the glass like a lion gutting an antelope. Each sickly crack jettisons through the distortion pedals, blorts out the amp and is followed by the screams of shock, fear, joy and various combinations of the three. The glass comes smashing down on his face. He waits, panting, for the cheers and screams to die down. His cheek is oozing blood from a sharp red line. His earlobe is sliced open and spitting a steady stream down his neck onto his KY-soaked shirt."

christopher r. weingarten - APRILFISH - 030405 Denver

"It was louder than anything that had preceded it, and it had an organic quality that demanded my attention - so I took a look. The Australian stood in the middle of a semi-circle of onlookers, the DJ and a hospita lgurney behind him. He wore a belt of effects peddles about his waste which were wired to a contact microphone affixed to a three foot long triangular piece of plate glass that was balanced on one shoulder and pressed wickedly against his face with both hands. It was like some perverse facial ham press. He blew into the glass like a trumpet player trapped in a two dimensional universe, sliding the glass back and forth across his face to change the pitch, vibrating and adjusting pressure to alter the tambour. The sound was a combination of the vibrations created by his manipulations and the feedback from the amplification, and he truly played it like an instrument. In totality, it was kind of like a cross between a dental vacuum and a jet engine - two of my favorite sounds. The first cuts I noticed were on his shoulder where hewas supporting most of the weight of the glass. His tee shirt had been sliced in two or three places, and a little bit of blood was starting to show. It was evident that this was going to be more than anyone had expected, and to drive that point home, he stuck the narrow end of the triangle as far into his mouth as he could fit it - and bit down. Breathing through barred, clenched teeth, a whole new sound appeared and then the glass gave way, shattering in his mouth. Quickly spitting out what he could, the larger, unbroken section of glass was again up against his face - smaller now, higher in pitch and somehow more urgent. His mouth was bleeding, and the distorted image of his face took on a new aspect of horror as the blood formed an organic liquid gasket between man and instrument. The intensity of the noise had not let up one bit, and with a few quick twists of the knobs on his belt any sense of waning was replaced by a new level of sound and violence. He bit the glass again, removing another big chunk, and then returned to the "first position," now with a piece of glass less than half it's original size. Again, the sound advanced to a new intensity, and at this point his entire face was red with blood that was mixing with his saliva and mucus to drip in tendrils from his hands, chin, and of course the glass. By this point, he was completely unable to stand still. The focus and control of is initial stance was replaced by a twisting, stomping, arching tangle of odd dance moves clearly inspired by the drive to continue the performance to it's conclusion. The final moments of the performance are hard to describe - suffice it to say that there was no piece of glass remaining that was larger that two inches in size. I was definitely left with an awareness that I had seen something that was totally for real - and I know that I've been a better person for it in the three days since."

Micheal SMITH - los angeles 050305

"Justice Yeldham and the Dynamic Ribbon device (aka Dual Plover label head Lucas Abela) unleashes perhaps the day’s most out-and-out scary performance, and one that makes Slipknot look like Simon and Garfunkel, a series of contact mics placed around a sheet of perspex [glass actually] that he repeatedly headbutts, massive pounds thudding through the speaker system"

ievilchris2 - INTHEMIX - BIG DAY OUT ear stage 260105

"Lucas Abela’s performance lived up to expectations, with the artist, a piece of glass and an electronic current fusing in a dynamic and sustained scream evocative of the moment of birth of Frankenstein’s monster, or a cathartic electrified cunnilingus"

Bruce Mowson - REALTIME - UNSOUND Wagga Wagga 131104

"Justice Yeldham and the Dynamic Ribbon Device is Smallcock in disguise performing the now world famous bare foot bloody sheet glass smash noise making. What can I say, Justice arrives on stage complete with war wounds from recent touring and just gets into it. As I have said before some nice noise comes out of this glass and the riffs he gets into towards the end is my fave bit, with a beat there could be some nice dancing going on. At end the remaining glass was smashed over the head and he walked off back stage knocking a few people over as he went, definitely looked to be in another world. Seems to be a very entrancing hobby."

adam - AUSTRALIAN MUSIC - Sydney 050904

"Justice Yeldham (the artist formerly known as Smallcock) walks into the performance space and starts off the show by theatrically draining half a pint of sex-lube before plastering his face on a sheet of roughly cut glass gurgling and retching into the transparent surface, looking very much like a recent victim of . A shoving match transpires, which the sheet of glass finally loses, shattering over his face and onto the floor. Still Yeldham is going at it, with a much reduced piece of glass, as Yoshida, prompted by the concerned staff, grabs a broom and dustpan and starts sweeping up the bits. I know what you`re thinking. "Ah, one of them performance artists." But don`t you believe it. This could compete with Gasolineman, not just in its wacked presentation, but in terms of the actual sound generated. Think lightning zip and screech, dirtier, more minimal than Gasolineman, but more spastic and out-of-control. The audience were very appreciative, and I was forced to run up, grab his hand and raise it skyward declaring, "The King!"

Soddy - NOISE GUIDE - June 27, Studio 80, Kamata 2004

"A barefoot Australian in faded jeans and a beer shirt was strapping on a belt of electronic devices. Two wires led from the belt. One was attached to a large set of speakers and the other was attached to a jagged piece of glass. This was Justice Yeldham and the Dynamic Ribbon Device. The sound man turned on the power and the whole contraption started to hum ominously. Meanwhile our shoeless bloke was squeezing half a tube of KY jelly onto his face and into his mouth. The live music performance was about to begin. He played the device by rubbing his face up against the glass. The sound traveled down the wire and into a set of amplifiers and distortion boxes attached to his waist. This distressing music then came squealing out of the speakers at incredible decibels, instantly deafening all other sounds. Eyes widened in uncertainty and hands covered ears but he played on. He played with agonizing passion, sliding his face against the glass while flecks of KY jelly flew in all directions. The front row of spectators inched backwards out of spray range and some fled altogether. I was transfixed. As he glided his cheek across the glass he played with the switches on his belt. The squealing noise varied in pitch but never in intensity. It was like electrified teeth rubbing on a blackboard. It was like uncontrolled guitar feedback played backwards. It shouted of sorrow. It screamed of pain. It was art. Five minutes into the performance and his mouth was cut by the glass as he played the edge. Blood mixed with KY jelly in a red smear. More spectators fled. The sound continued to attack us in volleys of crazed noise until the final spike as he smashed the pane of glass. Then it was over. I didn’t know whether to clap, laugh or pray."

Ravi Jeyachandran - 040604 Beirut

"PEELED HEARTS PASTE [justice yeldham] brought out a 3'x3' sheet of glass and some substance, covered his head and fucking went NUTS, screaming/ flapping/ cutting with the glass. after a few insane and gross minutes he broke the glass over his head and used a large shard as his instrument, smearing blood and goop all over the glass with his face disgustingly smashed against it. did i mention he was barefoot the whole time? fucking insane. glass all over the basement at this point.. someone yelled "SUICIDE!" and it almost happened."

greh - CHONDRITIC SOUND - 061203 Ann Arbour

"DJ SMALLCOCK [justice yeldham]: This guy runs a pressing plant out of Australia called Dual Plover - the cheapest place to get your CD printed in the entire world. Also a noise label. So I had taken him outside earlier because I figured, he's like ten thousand miles from home and would probably really like to get high. I'm asking him about his tour and I'm noticing that there's something wrong with his face - dried blood on the end of his nose and assorted scabs everywhere, and I really want to ask him but I don't. I mean, what am going to say? So he sets up barefoot: a contact mic run through three octave pedals, an EQ, and something that looked homemade; the contact mic was stuck to a piece of glass and the piece of glass was stuck to his face. He hummed and vibrated the glass and the sound that came out was jarring - how it could be that rhythmic and rich in that limited source was impressive on its own. He ended his set by smashing the glass with his face, blood running down his forehead, slivers sparkling on the stage. Totally fucking amazing. I walked up to him after and brayed, "So that's what happened to your face!"

donna parker - 091003 boston

cause everybody keeps asking lucas uses shertler microphones