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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Duo Waves (December 2016)

In past playlists we’ve had the pleasure of highlighting some of our favourite works for chamber forces, like Solo Waves and Small Ensemble Waves.  In this month’s playlist we’re focusing on the Duo – compositions for two instruments.  This playlist is an hour of intimate “dialogues” between viola & piano, saxophone & percussion, violin & electronics, voice & piano and saxophone & piano. The piano is a notable, trusty accompanist here, a kind of sequel to last month’s Keyboard Waves and we’re excited to see a degree of improvisation in some of the works also. As you listen we hope that you too notice the special character of these musical explorations, as compared to the “conversations” that arise from ensembles of more than two players. Lastly, we took special pleasure in noting that a duet can take place with electronics – check out Giles’ End to Reattain to see what we’re talking about.

We hope you enjoy our final playlist for 2016! If you are loving these playlists and works, don’t forget to let us and our featured composers know. One of our greatest assets is, that our composer family are very much present in this space and appreciate your support. What a great time to be making, performing and listening to new music!

Not sure what to get that special musical person in your life for the festive season? No problem, we’ve got you covered! We encourage you to check out the special new way to support our work here at Making Waves via our These are a few of our Favourite Things page. Not to mention our brand new tote bags and discounts on fabulous manuscript and business e-books!

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Keyboard Waves (November 2016)

Here at Making Waves, we’ve been wanting to collate a “Piano Waves” playlist for over a year now.  This staple instrument attracts so much solo repertoire that it can be hard for performers and listeners to know where to start.  There is of course the burden of tradition, of a solid canon of classical piano repertoire, but also the instrument’s versatility in playing a huge role in jazz and popular musics.  In this month’s playlist we broadened our definition to “Keyboard” to include not only acoustic works, but some amazing tracks in which the piano meets technology: via live electronic manipulation, the use of electric instruments and MIDI, input via audience mobile phones, and even a robotic piano named RHEA.  We’ve also split the playlist into a Soundcloud segment (c.50min) and a YouTube segment (c.20min) in order to include a wide array of works. Listen, enjoy and share!

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Minimalist Waves (October 2016)

This month’s playlist brings together a number of tracks that recall aspects of minimalism and post-minimalism: repetitive grooves, a degree of space, restraint, economy of musical material, long lines, drones and monolithic gestures,  self-similarity and fractals. We love the breadth of  approaches stylistically and thematically within this hour of works. Note the familiar inspiration sources of nature and landscapes in some of these compositions – snow, cities, outdoor scenes – alongside works referencing ideas about communication and thought – dreams, rhetoric, monologue.

We, the Making Waves team, continue to be excited and inspired by the quality and diversity of Australia’s new music scene and hope our enthusiasm is infectious! To learn more about each featured work and composer in this listening-journey we recommend that you click through to each of the featured profile below. Enjoy!

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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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Sonic Environment Waves (July 2016)

This month we’re delighted to have Dr. Leah Barclay, Co-Chair of Sonic Environments, and President of the Australian Forum for Acoustic Ecology , guest-curate this playlist: Sonic Environment Waves.  About the playlist, Leah writes:

This playlist features composers who are working in innovative ways with place, environmental sound and new technologies. It has been curated to coincide with the Sonic Environments conference, hosted by the Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane, July 10-11 2016.

Drawing inspiration from contemporary acoustic ecology, Sonic Environments invites composers, performers, academics, field recordists, acoustic ecologists and technologists to present research and creative works exploring the ecological, social and cultural contexts of our sonic environments. This conference aims to expand our current understandings of acoustic ecology and the role of sound and technology in understanding rapidly changing environments across the world.

This collection of compositions showcases composers experimenting with found sounds, environmental field recordings, mixed media and immersive performance. This playlist traverses the inherently interdisciplinary nature of sound and aims to explore aural awareness in a diversity of sonic environments across the world with composers who are all connected to Australia.

We hope you enjoy this rich and thoughtful selection of works and we thank Leah Barclay for agreeing to curate this playlist.

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Canadian Waves (Special Edition June 2016)

We’re delighted to hand over to guest curator Elizabeth Knudson for a Special Edition Playlist, our very first international one! Many thanks Elizabeth, for taking the time to bring together these wonderful composers and their works. We’ll be putting the spotlight on these composers and their works over the next week, in the lead-up to July 1st, which happens to be Canada Day.

I’d like to thank Lisa and Peggy for asking me to be guest curator of the first all-Canadian edition of “Making Waves”. I’ve done my best to include some composers I really respect, and whose music I enjoy listening to. The common thread here – which I think is representative of Canadian society and culture – is the fact that its beauty lies in its diversity. In the next hour, you will hear everything from a work for solo electric guitar, to a chamber choir with solo cello, to an orchestral piece inspired by traditional Balkan music. Each composer’s work offers something unique to explore. I hope this serves as an enticing introduction to some of the wonderful contemporary music being created here in Canada. In addition to the composers’ website links (which are definitely worth checking out), another excellent resource to learn more about Canadian composers and their music is the Canadian Music Centre. Best wishes from Vancouver, Canada – and enjoy the music! – Elizabeth Knudson

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Moving Waves (June 2016)

Welcome to our June Playlist, Moving Waves!  In this month’s audiovisual playlist we explore various physical, musical and visual forms of movement as well as ‘moving’ in a more emotional sense. From mesmerising dance-like percussion, to the moving parts of a prepared piano, to dance, to soundtrack for silent film, to Nathalie Latham’s emotive footage of local women in Tamil Nadu in South India accompanied by the music of Iain Grandage, we promise you that this is a musical journey worth exploration. Join us as we showcase exciting, innovative and moving works by seven wonderful Australian composers. Continue reading