This month’s playlist, curated by graduating intern Aidan Maizels, is a collection of works that involve prominent electronic elements in their realisation.
With technological advances in musical hardware and software over the past decade, we have seen a surge in the interest of electronics in just about every genre and style. Whilst this has mainly culminated in an explosion of EDM producers of varying levels of talent, this has also resulted in many art music composers acquainting themselves with use of technology in their works.
As well as having a whole world of new sounds becoming regular fixtures in the art music world, the improvement in computer technology allows a lot of works to be realised that may not have been previously. Whether it be because of physical impracticalities in performance, such as temperamental synths going out of tune, certain effects being unreplicatable in real-time, or plainly just too many notes to be performed by a human. Now, effectively with the power of a complete recording studio in the size of a lunchbox, it has opened up many sonic avenues for composers to explore, unhindered by the constraints of yesteryear.
This playlist includes seven works by Australian composers that use electronics in unique ways to create a variety of different moods.
We begin with Zoltan Fecso’s ‘Pont’, which combines the acoustic sounds of piano and percussion with processed guitar and electronics to create a relaxing near-futuristic hybrid environment. Fiona Hill explores the beautiful sounds hidden within pink noise in the apparently titled ‘RhythmicPinkNoise’. Cameron Lam’s ‘Golden Bird’ is a beautifully written piece in a more traditional romantic style for Electronic Wind Instrument accompanied by piano. Alexis Weaver’s heavily manipulated sounds of a children’s toy create a brilliantly dark and sinister atmosphere in ‘Submarine’. Carolyn Schofield (Fia Fiell)’s semi-improvised ‘At The First Clear Word’ begins by exploring the technique of ‘beating’ waves created by sounds close in pitch played simultaneously, before developing into a mysterious, yet comforting atmosphere (my favourite part is the feel change and echoed synths from 4:10). The penultimate piece is Amber Hansen’s epic sound collage ‘The Last Veil’, created from recordings of Arabic music recitals, based on Ishtar’s journey through the seven gates of the underworld. The playlist concludes with Neil Maizels’ sound collage ‘The World Is Calmer Than You Would Think’, created by layering flute, harp, cor anglais and treated strings in a unique soundscape that documents the phenomenon of conflicting emotions occurring in one space simultaneously.Continue reading