Space Waves (June 2017)

We’re delighted to hand over the reins this month to composer and current Making Waves Intern Marlene Radice, who has curated this Space-themed playlist.  About the works chosen and the over-arching theme, Marlene writes:

This playlist centres around compositions with a relationship to space. Space as a tangible area of existence, space as a gestural device, spacialisation of music and the idea of space in relation to places outside of our immediate consciousness.

Listening to this playlist and exploring how composers address these themes made me think of concepts such as wabi-sabi and the importance of the spaces between elements, and accepting sounds for their imperfections. What we don’t hear is just as important as the sounds we observe. These pieces all somehow explore what lies between what we hear and what we see.

We love discovering the resonances among these works: instrumental – several string quartets, various uses of electronics including Peter Anthony Smith on the Akai Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI); thematic – auras, aliens and nature; and stylistic – there is an expansiveness and dimension evoked by each work in its own way.  Many thanks to Marlene for her care in compiling this playlist.  You can find out more about Marlene here.

Also, dear listeners, thank you for your patience with us as we took last month off from playlists to focus on the launch of the Making Conversation: Australian Podcast. As at 1 June, we’ve released 6 shows from this 30-episode series, conversations between talented emerging music journalists and composers Anne Cawrse (SA), Michael Sollis (ACT), Annie Hsieh (USA), May Lyon (VIC), Alex Turley (WA) & Jenna Cave (NSW).  If you’re already a subscriber, we thank you for joining us over at iTunes, via RSS or other podcast apps at this link, or via Making Waves e-bulletins.  If you’re not, do join us at your preferred platform so that you don’t miss a thing!

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We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming to Bring You…

Dear Listeners,

Happy 1st of the month! We’re stopping by to let you know that we’re taking a short break during May from the usual monthly playlist release. But don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of music and insightful interviews for you check out instead!

We’re over the moon to introduce you to our brand new Australian Composers’ Podcast titled ‘Making Conversation‘.

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Percussive Waves (April 2017)

Percussion. Composers love it for its diversity, its flexibility and the timbral options for striking, plucking, rubbing, scraping or otherwise interacting with a musical or found object. This month we’re thrilled to offer a wonderful hour of percussive and rhythm-centred works. From marimba solos evoking animals, Tuscan sunsets, or Greek mythology, to improvisation, polyrhythms or prepared harpsichord, this playlist is as diverse as ever and the resulting sounds are wide-ranging, always with the particularly heightened quality brought by percussive gestures and physicality.  This month’s playlist image was photographed by Making Waves Intern and composer Mark Wolf: we see the corrugations in a metal fence, undulating like waves, shadows cast by the sunlight.  We also, like many composers, see an instrument!

Did you know that we’re about to release our very first podcast series? It’s called the Making Conversation: Australian Podcast and it drops on iTunes and everywhere else on Friday April 21, 2017, with one episode released weekly. The team can not wait to share these amazing conversations with Making Waves listeners and podcast fans!  We encourage you to subscribe to our iTunes channel, via RSS or other podcast apps, or to the Making Waves e-bulletins so that you don’t miss a thing. Here’s a little preview!

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International Women’s Day 2017

We are delighted to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 with this special edition playlist! Clear your listening schedules and settle in to explore a mammoth archive of music from many of the Australian composers (and some Canadians too) featured in monthly playlists spanning January 2015 through to March 2017.

Whether composing as one who just happens to be female, through to exploring gender, femininity and feminism through their works, the archive below attests to the diversity of women working in the compositional spectrum.

Keep kicking your goals, fellow women! The arts wouldn’t be half the diverse, unique, story-telling, mind-blowing, challenging and beautiful space it is without you. We’re behind you and encourage you to take an active role in a connected, supportive community. There is room for everyone here: ears are open. We can’t wait to listen to all the music you’re going to submit to us in 2017! Happy International Women’s Day!
– Lisa & Peggy

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Social Activism Waves (March 2017)

I’m not quite queer yet, but I can catch a glimpse of a queer world — that is, a world designed for queers instead of against us — with radically reconfigured politics, ways of knowing and feeling, ways of existing with each other. – Dan Thorpe

This month’s playlist, Social Activism Waves, is a collection of works that interrogate or reflect on many different aspects of society, culture, identity or politics.  The compositions include personal narratives or commentaries on subjects as wide-ranging as: mental health, terrorism, the environment, AIDs activism in the 80s-90s, refugees, queer and gender identity.  By using the term “activism” it is not our intention to define or narrow/box in the output or stance of the ten composers featured below. Rather, it acknowledges that in this particular work they have publicly offered a strong position; something deeply stirring, confessional, reflective or all of the above.  Many of the composers featured have been kind enough to offer some additional words about their motivations in writing their work. We encourage you to read these comments by clicking on their name below.

I can honestly say I was torn while writing this piece. I am motivated to write for injustice and to give a musical voice to inequality. At the same time, I felt uncomfortable to be composing “as a woman”. I don’t see my music as gendered. My ovaries do not compose. – May Lyon

The timing of this playlist is not random. At this current moment in time, national and international politics are careening hard right – further than some of us thought possible.  Funding climates continue to create tension for all artists, adding to our growing concerns over the treatment of our planet and our fellow human beings. For many, an inward retreat to the purely musical is one way of coping.  Others ask,  “What can I do? How can I as a musician express this or inspire change?”  No one way is more worthy. We encourage you to listen, read, explore, support the composers, discuss, share and contribute to this playlist in any form. We also welcome your comments below.  Our immense thanks to our talented composers for this touching playlist that has offered us much food for thought and inspiration.

Between a quarter and a third of the Great Barrier Reef has died due to coral bleaching by pollution and climate change. Despite the severity and publicity of this catastrophe, politicians refuse to address the issue, and my current part time job constantly forces me to witness the wasteful and apathetic attitude of the general public regularly. – Aidan Maizels

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Spotify Waves (February 2017)

For the first playlist of 2017 we’ve ventured into the world of Spotify, which, fairly or unfairly, has attracted controversy in the streaming world. Despite the fact that this month’s playlist is platform-dependent, we adore some of the coincidental thematic resonances across the featured works: particularly the focus on birds and birdsong alongside human vocals, overt or otherwise. We also dare you to spot the Whitney Houston references in there somewhere!

A little more about our streaming platform this month. Most of our playlists to date have been curated from content on Soundcloud, which enables composers and ensembles to freely upload both live and studio recordings, meaning we can feature recordings that are not yet commercially available. Spotify, on the other hand, has some barriers to entry, usually requiring the music to be submitted by an aggregator service, which composers and labels would normally use for a commercial digital release.  For us here at Making Waves, this means we inevitably receive less submissions of Spotify content, and that the ones we do receive tend to arrive from composers who are some way along their career journey.  What is also nice about Spotify is that royalties are payable, unlike Soundcloud, so please listen multiple times and explore the albums that the tracks are from, and hopefully all this month’s composers will see a little spike on their APRA statement!

We hope you enjoy this wonderful collection of diversely beautiful music by some of our finest Australian composers!

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