Guitar Waves (December 2018)

In our final playlist for 2018, Making Waves celebrates the expansive and engaging exploration of the guitar in Australian new music!

The guitar, in its various guises and combinations, offers composers a smorgasbord of sounds and techniques. Whether it is the quirky and emotive combination of guitar, trumpet and trombone in Andrew Batterham’s or the raw power of the electric guitar when it meets it maker – a set of pliers in Sam Harvey’s Bloodlines – you might just have your curiosity ‘plucked.’

We hope you enjoy this month’s playlist, and maybe even consider giving your local guitar teacher a call afterward…

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Human Waves (October 2018)

The concept for this playlist came from the idea of the human relationships that underpin all creative practices. How we interact with one another is the foundation of live performance and inherent to the process of creating new music. This month’s playlist was curated by Making Waves team member Marlēné Claudine Radice.

The pieces featured in this month’s playlist explicitly highlight what it means to relate to ones humanity through music. Whether it be through the physical body such as Caerwen Martin’s exploration of the relationship between mother and child or Mark Holdsworth’s musical depictions of Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits.

A fundamental part of human relationships and identity stems from our ability to act and think autonomously. The notion of what it means to be an autonomous individual is examined by Rishin Singh and Sophie Van Dijk. Both pieces by these composers explore how individuals react to one another in various situations, how the human and an individual can shape and mould their performance. Individual and collective responses to ritual are explored in James Hazel’s work, in which performers are encouraged to consider ritualised performance practices. These works encourage individual thought and require performers to decide for themselves how they will respond to each score.

Aaron Pelle and Antonia Zappia’s works depict a subtler aspect of the humanity inherent to music composition, the ideas expressed though emotion and how these ideas form, reform and collapse into each other. These ideas are extended further in Joseph Tabua’s work as he depicts our relationship between what it means to be human and how we as humans relate to the idea of consciousness within our creations.

Take some time to delve into adventure, art, the self and robots.

Enjoy!

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Stillness Waves (September 2018)

This month we hand over the curatorship to our graduating intern Ethan Connor McAlister. After mulling over various concepts for a playlist, he landed on a prominent influence in his own music, stillness.

In what seems to be a common thread for many composers, stillness appears in many guises. Typically associated with composers such as the Japanese Toru Takemitsu, Estonian Arvo Pärt or the British Max Richter, this playlist will instead feature five contemporary Australian pieces.

In this playlist you can find stillness in the study of space, both sonic and physical; in the structured silences of Kezia Yap, the improvisations of Josten Myburgh’s The waves which have kept me from reaching you, and in the use prepared piano, double bass and bus engine sound recordings in Millie Watsons’ Pools of Fir. You may also find stillness in the stretching of time in Alice Chance’s D I L A T E and finally, in the analysis of light in the first piece of our playlist, Kirsten Milenko’s stunning Ex Aere.

Making Waves hopes you can find a time to sit back with a cuppa* and, for just a moment, (hopefully) find stillness.

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Polish Waves (Special Edition August 2018)

Interacting with composers across the globe fosters supportive relationships and collaboration throughout the international new music community. This is why we’re excited to presented our guest curator, Polish composer Andrzej Karałow and our August playlist, Polish Waves. As you listen to the 6 pieces in this month’s playlist, we are sure that you will be drawn-in and captivated (as we were) by the work of colleagues from across the globe in Poland! We’ll be putting the spotlight on these composers and their works on our social media throughout August, so stay tuned (or click on the composer profiles below) to learn more about the talent emerging from Poland. Our thanks warmest to Andrzej for introducing our audiences to these incredible works and composers originating from Poland.

A note from our guest curator, Andrzej Karałow:

I would like to thank Lisa for giving me the opportunity to contribute and develop the composers’ community by creating a playlist which includes works written by Polish composers. Polish Waves is focused on Warsaw-based composers and reveals young, emerging artists as well as already recognized professional creators, who are present on the local and international contemporary music scene. While trying to show as much musical diversity as possible, I wanted to introduce different inspirations and streams which Polish music is going through. The contemporary music scene is very diverse here: not only in modern composition but also through different musical streams which are infiltrating and connecting to each other. In the playlist we can discover works written for unusual setups (“Concert for electric guitar and string orchestra” by Wojciech Błażejczyk), works based on contemporary thought (“Hilathi” by Aleksander Kościów performed by world-renowned Kronos Quartet, “Morpheus” for saxophone quartet by Dariusz Przybylski or “Luxe, Calme Et Volupté” for orchestra by Aleksandra Chmielewska) as well as an electroacoustic piece (“Torrent” for alto saxophone, viola, accordion and live electronics by Żaneta Rydzewska) and improvisation-based electroacoustic work (“Fading towards the Sun” for piano, written by me).

P.S. from Making Waves: For the sake of transparency, we insisted that Andrzej include one of his own works in the playlist, and goodness are we glad we did! Check it out below as you enjoy the full playlist!

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Fragile Waves (July 2018)

This month’s playlist theme explores the notion of fragility.  We have especially collected works into this playlist that could be described as sonically evolving towards and/or devolving away from something.  We loved savouring the beauty and experimentalism represented in the sounds and concepts behind them, in this months playlist. From ‘the protest and ode to the unique aesthetics and idiosyncrasies of the virtualised, digital hyperreality’ (what a description!) in the opening track by Kevin Atkins, to a work for 13 prepared ‘dollar store’ toy recorders by Pony Horseman and a game theory work for clarinet and dog by Solomon Frank, this playlist most certainly has it all and something more. We hope you enjoy!

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Concerto Waves (June 2018)

The concerto has a long and ingrained tradition in the world of classical music.  We’re excited to see how composers explore or depart from this tradition.  In this playlist we’ve given the past a nod, see especially Scott McIntyre’s work referencing Beethoven, but also included a work for jazz orchestra by Nadia Burgess, as a nod to the jazz convention of giving players solos, their moment in the spotlight.  In another vein, Kirsten Milenkos’ work addresses environmental themes.  We hope you enjoy this selection of “duels” or “conversations” between one and many.

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Place Waves (May 2018)

This month we’re delighted to hand over the curatorial reins to MW Intern Michelle Nguyen.  The playlist theme centres on the idea of our relationship and place within external environments, both ecological and social, and also our internal selves, looking at identity and memory. In this playlist, place is explored in its physical manifestations, as well as its changing and ephemeral nature.

The interactions we have with the natural environments we inhabit are explored through pieces by David Burraston, May Lyon, and Elissa Goodrich, while Josten Myburgh, Aviva Endean, and Gabrielle Cadenhead’s pieces inquire into our relationship with place in urban, social, and controlled environments. Electro Fractal Gamelan and Connect Four by two amazing members of the Making Waves team, Peggy Polias and Alexis Weaver, take a look inwards to nostalgia, memory, and places in time.

With an overarching soundscape of electronics, field recordings, extended techniques, and musique concrete, these pieces all explore an element of noise and uncertainty, which exposes a lot of our human qualities. In looking for perfection, the glitches, unintended sounds, and accidents have all contributed to our musical culture and the wide variety of sounds we enjoy.

This playlist includes a video of Hapnophobia by Aviva Endean, which is a site-specific work that encompasses the audio, visual, and tactile realms. The video functions as a score for the audience as they move throughout a specific location at the arts centre, and would ideally be watched or performed in location.

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New Zealand Waves (Special Edition 2018)

We believe in fostering supportive relationships and collaboration throughout our small international new music community. This is why we’re delighted to hand over to our guest curator, New Zealand composer Simon Eastwood for this Special Edition Playlist. It’s our very second international one! We offer our thanks to Simon for taking the time to put together an outstanding hour of music from our amazing colleagues ‘across the ditch’. We’re sure that as you listen to this fantastic playlist you’ll agree that this quality playlist highlights ten extremely talented composers, all of whom we encourage you to note, follow, support, program and collaborate with in ways that might be most meaningful to you. We’ll be putting the spotlight on these composers and their works on our social media over the next week, so stay tuned (or click on the composer profiles below) to learn more about the talent emerging from New Zealand.

A note from our guest curator, Simon Eastwood:

“I was fortunate to meet Lisa last year at the Melbourne Recital Centre. I’d come over for a rehearsal with Rubiks Collective and was telling her how impressed I was with the diversity and vitality of the Melbourne scene. Eventually during the conversation, however, I had to confess that I didn’t really know very many Australian composers beyond perhaps Peter Sculthorpe and Liza Lim, and, I suspected, nor did many of my colleagues in New Zealand. We remarked on that fact that, despite the close relationships between our countries, neither of us seemed to have much awareness of the music being made by out contemporaries across the ditch, and that when it came to discovering new music we both had a tendency to look towards Europe or the United States before we considered the music of our neighbours.
“Even though we live at the edge of the world, New Zealand nonetheless has a small but extremely enthusiastic New Music community in which almost everybody knows each other, and are generally on good terms, enjoying a strong sense of camaraderie. Much of this can be attributed to the work of SOUNZ, the Centre for New Zealand Music and CANZ, the Composers Association of New Zealand, who run the annual Nelson Composers Workshop.
“During my own time overseas, in between trying to explain 1) where New Zealand was and 2) that there was more to the country than the Lord of the Rings, Ruby, and Lorde, I began to notice a few of the strange quirks that define New Zealanders as a people. As I noticed these I began to wonder whether some similar attributes could be found in New Zealand music. So far the only thing which seems to be consistent in New Zealand music this music is its diversity. The composers in this collection come from a wide range of backgrounds and reflect a variety of interests. Many are currently living abroad and are making their way in the world at large. Others originate from other places but have nonetheless made important contributions to the local music scene. Naomi Weinroth, for instance, comes from the United States but has made New Zealand her home for the last four years.
“There are of course many more composers whom I would like to have included in this list, but I have tried to give as wide a representation as possible of the voices currently active in New Zealand music. I also decided that for this playlist I would focus on younger emerging voices for this playlist, even thought there are are of course many established New Zealand composers who have written incredible music. For an informative and humorous overview of the history of New Zealand composition take a look at Alex Taylor and Celeste Oram’s talk at Darmstadt in 2016 https://vimeo.com/179380397. My thanks to Lisa and Peggy for this opportunity bridge the divide between our nations, I look forward to hearing more Australian music in future playlists.”

P.S For sake of transparency, we insisted that Simon include one of his own works in the playlist, and goodness are we glad we did! Check it out below. Enjoy!

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Mythical Waves (April 2018)

This month we embark on an exploration of music centred around folklore, fairytales and mythology. To our delight many of the works in this playlist focus on the vibrant female heroines central to many mythological tales. Alice Chance’s Infernal Women and Evan Lawson’s Sirens, highlight the dark mysticism of the women of classical mythology who were both beautiful and a force to be feared.

Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom and War is explored by Aristea Mellos while Chris Williams describes the depth of the goddess Polyhymnia, a daughter of Zeus. Both goddesses are associated with sacred poetry and song and they inherent mysticism of music when entwined with wisdom and knowledge.

Ostara, the germanic Goddess of Spring and fertility is the central figure in Cassie To’s Ostara’s Equinox. The notions of rebirth in nature, equality and fertility that came with the coming of spring are explored through pagan mythology that has been subsequently lost as it has been absorbed by other practices.

Annie Pirotta and Holly Harrison explore the exciting nature of folk tales and how seemingly innocent tales associated with childhood harbour dark truths. Both composers focus on the writings of Lewis Carroll, building upon the evocative imagery evoked by this work.

To our opening track, Peter McNamara’s The Styx, a journey into the under world. A discussion of the end of life, the journey’s we take and an opportunity to reflect on the nature of life and the ways in which mysticism might answer the unanswerable questions.

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International Women’s Day 2018

The theme for International Women’s Day in 2018 is #PressforProgress.  Here at Making Waves, we think 13+ hours of music by mostly unpublished Australian composers who happen to be women is relatively progressive.  We hope you enjoy this collection, whether you stream intensively or bookmark it to savour in stages.

However, this is ongoing work: the more composers whose music we get to know, the wider our networks reach and the more new faces we discover.  We see you out there who haven’t gotten around to sending us a track or two! Today we especially encourage women and gender diverse composers to get in touch and submit your recordings to the Making Waves curation pool.  We have tried to make the criteria as open as possible with no restrictions on gender or age, and as wide a definition of “Australian” as possible, plus occasional special editions from off-shore locations (hint: there’s another international playlist coming soon!!).

What are some ways composers and musicians “pressing for progress” in terms of gender?

The Women in Sound Women on Sound reading list is a great starting point for wider reading on and by women working in sound with some useful data-driven search tools.  We are excited to watch how this evolves as more sources are added.

Music Theory Examples By Women is an excellent resource for music educators looking to diversify their notated teaching materials.  The website also links to some sizeable playlists on Spotify, YouTube, etc.

Throwback to GRID (Gender Research in Darmstart), Feminist Activism during the Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, 2016, and especially Ashley Fure’s reflections.

If you want to crunch the numbers closer to home on Australian content programmed by the Major Performing Arts Organisations, including attention to gender representation, catch Ian Whitney’s Australian Content in 2018, now an annual blogging tradition.

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Landscape Waves (February 2018)

Many composers find inspiration in their environment and surroundings, and we have hinted at this in several past playlists (Nature Waves, Sonic Environment Waves). This month’s playlist, Landscape Waves, brings together a selection of works for varied forces, all reflecting on aspects of the outdoor or natural world and sound: the sounds of people, animals and places, and especially the sounds of climate.  This progression from drought through to deluge is your soundtrack to another month of southern hemisphere summer.

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2017 Waves

It’s been a huge year for the Making Waves community: the extended team, composers and listeners.  Thank you so much for joining us in 2017 as we venture through monthly playlists and our first foray into podcasting.

We’ve been delighted to continue to put the spotlight on new faces this year.  Having featured over 150 composers in 3 years worth of playlists (time flies!), it sometimes feels like the more composers we get to know, the more there are to discover.  And that’s a good thing!  The new music community is so active, vibrant and dedicated, and it’s fantastic to see so much creativity taking place in sound around Australia, and continue to be introduced to new work.

Along with the playlists the Making Conversation: Australian Composers’ Podcast was released.  We are super proud to have brought this project to fruition, along with 10 interviewers, audio and podcast enthusiasts.  Massive thanks to the Making Conversation team and to the  composers interviewed for a total of 29 episodes in this season.  We hope to continue the series in the future, and we encourage you to check out the series if you haven’t already, with audio and video episodes available here on the website for streaming or via your favourite podcast services or YouTube.

We must give a massive Thank You also to the new faces who have joined the Making Waves team.  Project founders Lisa Cheney (VIC) and Peggy Polias (NSW) are so grateful to be joined on this voluntary project by Mark Wolf (QLD) and Marlene Radice (VIC), who have each completed 6 month internships in 2017 and are staying on to continue promoting composers and their music.  Meanwhile, in November 2017 we are delighted to welcome Alexis Weaver (NSW) and Michelle Nguyen (VIC) who have both commenced internships.  We look forward to showing them the ropes, culminating with a playlist each in 2018.

It’s also been great to extend the collaborative spirit into new ventures.  This year we invited David Chisholm to guest-curate the BIFEM Waves playlist in August, to coincide with the 2017 festival in Bendigo.  We were also commissioned to produce 4 special episodes for ABC Classic FM: New Waves Podcast, using excerpts from the Making Conversation Podcast series and putting the spotlight on 16 composers and a full work each.

If you like what Making Waves are doing, you can show your support by: liking, following and leaving comments and feedback at all our social channels and liking, following and leaving feedback at all the social channels of featured composers when you see new or familiar faces pop up in your feed.

We also have a growing line of merchandise.  We’ve updated the Featured Composer tote bag for 2015-17 and have also introduced a Making Conversation podcast logo tote bag.  You might like to show off your new music savvy around town by purchasing one of these:

Making Conversation Podcast Logo Tote Bag

A$35.00

2015-17 Featured Composers Tote Bag (White)

Black text on white bag.

A$35.00

2015-17 Featured composer tote bag (Black)

White text on black bag.

A$35.00

If tote bags aren’t your thing, we’ve added t-shirts, coffee mugs, notebooks and more to the mix over at our new RedBubble shop. We also recently updated the Favourite Things collection with some audio/tech picks.  A portion of all sales supports the running costs of the Making Waves project.  You can also leave a one-off or regular donation and read more about supporting the project here.

Now, for the end of year playlist.  In 2017 we featured 75 tracks on Soundcloud (totalling 8hrs 27min), 10 tracks on Spotify (1hr) and 6 tracks on YouTube (41min).  We’ve collected all of these here for your summer holiday listening until we release the first playlist for 2018 on 1 February at 9amAEST.  Whether you pick through your favourites, catch up on the year of composers, performers and works, or have a binge-listen on shuffle, we hope that you enjoy looking back on this year!

We encourage you to leave your thoughts, most-enjoyed playlists, listening experiences and listening suggestions for others in the comment section below. And if you haven’t already, you can subscribe to our email list, submit your own work, and share the project across your favourite social media channels with anyone you know who might like to open their ears to the new.

Seasons greetings,
Lisa & Peggy
Making Waves

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