Electronic Waves (April 2019)

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.

Soundcloud

Hear something that catches your attention? To find out more about a musical work, click on the track name in the playlist and then again on ‘view track’. To find out more about a particular composer, click on their name in the ‘Details’ section below.

Details

  1. Zoltan Fecso, Pont
    for Guitar, Piano, Percussion and Electronics. Performed by Zoltan Fecso.
  2. Fiona Hill, RhythmicPinkNoise
    Electro-acoustic. Performed by Fiona Hill.
  3. Cameron Lam, Golden Bird
    for Solo EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) and Piano. Performed by Peter Smith (EWI) and Alison Cameron (piano).
  4. Alexis Weaver, Submarine
    Electro-acoustic (Wind-up Mermaid Toy, Drink Bottle and Generated Tones). Performed by Alexis Weaver.
  5. Carolyn Schofield, At The First Clear Word
    for Synthesizer and Electronics. Performed by Carolyn Schofield.
  6. Amber Hansen, The Last Veil
    Electro-acoustic. Performed by Amber Hansen.
  7. Neil Maizels, The World is Calmer Than You Would Think
    for Modified Flute, Harp, Cor Anglais and Treated Strings. Performed by Neil Maizels.

We’d love to hear about your listening experience! Share your thoughts or send messages of support to our featured composers and performers in the comment box below. We also encourage you to click through to Soundcloud or YouTube to like, comment and subscribe to Making Waves as well as the composers, performers, and presenters featured.

The Electronic Waves playlist will be featured until 1st of May 2019. All previous playlists from 2015 to present are available in our blog archives for the life of the project, so please do explore the website for previously featured sounds.

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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Long Waves (August 2016)

This month we decided to program a playlist theme that had been brewing behind the scenes for quite a while. Long Waves gives the listener a chance to savour some of the broader, single-movement works that composers have put forward to Making Waves.  We really enjoy how this set of works visit contemplative or evocative themes, some via solo instrument, others for ensemble, with or without voice.  With thanks to Making Waves Intern, Angus Baxter, for his thoughtful curatorial input on the playlist.

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