This evolved over time to become a more ambient-electronica dub/beat oriented project, but still contained elements of experimental and often extreme noise. This had a tendency to confuse live audiences; punters one minute happily ‘chilling out’ to ambient soundscape pieces, the next minute being aurally assaulted by severe and brutal glitch.
Usine also incorporated DrumnBass into their sounds, especially the darker, harder, noisier aspects.
As a live unit Usine were involved as performers, sound-technicians and DJs at many shows in Hamilton and elsewhere in New Zealand of a slightly more 'underground', experimental, electronic, multimedia and/or post-industrial bent.
During 1995 and early 1996 they performed live at several events run out of Corso Poverty and Recycling Shop, which was at this time doubling as a regular performance space being utilised by a large collective of avant-garde multimedia artists and performers.
Corso shows featuring Usine included Alleglory (also featuring Avant Garbage, Wendyhouse, Disjecta Membra, Unit 23 and myriad performance artists), and Ambulance – billed as an “Ambient Dance Party”, where Usine were joined onstage by a didgeridoo player. They had earlier been billed to play at Algorhythm in 1995 but got bored and left when another performer ran over time.
At around this time they recorded and released the cassette Quetzalcoatl, which, much to the shock and amusement of Usine themselves, was nominated in the 1996 Waikato Rock Awards for Best Engineering. Rock awards.
Although Kurt Joy described Usine’s early recording sessions as “Adrian and I just fucking around doing the noise industrial thing”, both he and Wallace were to become well respected at this time for their innovative and often "extreme" production and audio engineering skills.
Another notable performance in 1996 was an event called Tera Meta; an experimental multimedia art and electronica show on the waterfront featuring Usine, Unit 23, Heliotherb, Difference Engine and OvsM. The theme for Tera Meta was based around human interactions with machines through the ages, with each band/project assigned a particular era. Usine had the ‘70s.
In July of the same year they performed Live to Air on Contact 89FM, and the following week appeared in Heat 1 of the Battle of the Bands. Both Kurt Joy and Adrian Wallace had by this time also become members of the gargantuan live industrial noise performance unit known as Department of Corrections, whom they performed with during August both in Heat 2 and the finals of the BoB (coming Third overall).
Kurt says that at some point or another they also “played a lot of crappy dance parties, both here and in Auckland”.
They later performed at the first of New Zealand’s famed annual outdoor dance party The Gathering (perched atop Tākaka Hill in the Ambient and DrumnBass marquees) on New Years Eve 96/97.
In 1997 Usine’s Teutonic was included on AK97 (also featuring Hamilton’s Unit 23), while the track Timbre appeared on the 1997 Green Eggs and Hamilton compilation. The same year they returned to Tākaka Hill for The Gathering 97/98.
From 1997 – 1998 the project gradually slowed down to a point of stasis, however, they both say that Usine is not dead, simply in “very very very deep slumber” while both have been persuing various other projects.
Kurt Joy has since been focusing on a range of multimedia and especially film; he currently works for Waikato University’s department of Screen and Media Studies.
Based between Wellington and Hamilton, and elsewhere, Adrian Wallace has continued working in dark, introspective ambient electronica under the project name of Field of Vapour.
They also say that Usine is likely to be resumed in the not-too-distant future.