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.

Radiophonic Waves (March 2018)

This month we decided to tackle the spectrum of compositions that inhabit and explore radiophonic composition. Radiophonic music developed as an artistic practice focusing on the use of electronics, abstracting and manipulating sounds to create unique pieces often designed specifically for radio. This medium places you, the listener, at the centre of the experience, how you interpret the sounds as they are divorced from a traditional concert context.

The works in this playlist are designed to immerse you in the spectrum of radiophonic sounds. Sounds from what we know are abstracted in each of these tracks, from the raw, digitally manipulated samples of organic everyday household sounds utilised by Andrew Ball and Michelle Nguyen, to the visually evocative soundscapes evoked by Fiona Hill and  Jessica Wells. Electronics are used throughout this playlist to abstract how voices and conversations are heard. These range from the use of intimate recordings of family conversations by Martin K. Koszolko to Amber Hansen’s ambient mix of samples recorded in the island of Capri.

This playlist also features works by Amber Hansen and Marlene Radice which were specifically commissioned for radio play and as such have been composed the be heard via this medium, the live component of the composition being the listening act in and of itself.

All of these works are designed to be interpreted by the listener a multitude of different ways, they challenge how we listen to sounds and re-evaluate how we perceive music.

Enjoy!

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Vocal Waves (September 2017)

For some time we’ve been taking note when composers submit works to the Making Waves curation pool that feature the voice, text, singing, speech. In September 2016 we compiled the Spoken Waves playlist; we’re delighted to revisit a similar theme exactly 1 year later with the present playlist, Vocal Waves.  As always, we try to find works that fit the theme as well as challenge it, so the works range from children’s choir to rhythmic use of speech in the context of a percussion ensemble, showcasing the breadth of possibilities for the human voice. With several multi-part works, we also really enjoy the gravitation to song-form, both through shorter-form and multi-movement works here.

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