This month we’ve brought together a number of compositions that relate to jazz or world music in varying degrees, sometimes not in the most direct or obvious way. Where are the boundaries between contemporary classical and jazz styles? What are different ways composers look to wider folk and world musics for inspiration? Many composers featured this month effortlessly weave in and out of jazz/improvisatory and classical practice, creating fascinating and eclectic bodies of work. We hear in some of the works a focus on melody and harmony, with folk tunes or a chart-based approach. Several works for sax ensembles or big band are of the toe-tapping variety while others have an adventurous contemporary flavour. Yet other works are scored for small colouristic bands or chamber ensembles. We hope you enjoy this ride through a diverse collection of sounds.
Brian Eno was quoted to have once said:
“Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.”
This month we bring you a beautiful mix of atmospheric, electronic and instrumental works that are hardly ignorable and strikingly ambient. Each composition bravely explores few musical ideas, spaces and concepts, often influenced by landscape and the universe. They invite us as listeners to sit and really listen, to savour, to challenge, to entrance, to entice for as little as 6 minutes to 18 minutes. We encourage you to listen for slow unfolding patterns and harmony, repetition, explorations of colour and fluctuations of texture and density we float away with this stimulating hour of ambience.
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!
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!
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
Thank you for joining us on a second amazing year of Making Waves: listening, enjoying and sharing the newest music of Australian composers and performers. It’s been such a wonderful journey of discovery each month! This is a credit to the amazing quality and breadth of composing and music-making occurring in the Australian new-music scene, from the undergraduate study level, to some of our most loved mentors.
This year, we’ve been very excited to build on the core Making Waves playlist offering, making a foray into podcast production. A successful Pozible crowdfunding campaign in May 2016, with support from Creative Partnerships Australia, has led to the Making Conversation: Australian Composers Podcast. Currently in production, we’ve sent a fabulous team of emerging music journalists out to record interviews with composers all over Australia, and some overseas, and the finished series will be launched in the first half of 2017.
Later in the year we released a small line of merchandise – with the plush Making Waves tote bags now for sale in 5 designs. Our most popular bag is also the one dearest to our hearts, featuring the entire list of Australian composers featured in our playlists through 2015-2016.
We also released the first instalment of our Favourite Things collection: essential resources for serious composers and musicians. By checking out the collection you can also lend your support to our endeavours, and in particular support the excellent work of our local colleagues at CutCommon and Rehearsal Magazine in releasing some beautiful manuscript and music business resource. Use our promo code: MAKENEWMUSIC to receive your special Making Waves community discount.
We’re really proud of all the new collaborations and conversations we’ve this year in order to share new and hard-to-find compositions and interviews on radio and into podcasts. We hope listeners will find them just as inspiring as we have! In June we released our first international special edition playlist, Canadian Waves, curated by Elizabeth Knudson, and are thrilled to discover the work of some northern hemisphere counterparts. Not long after, we invited another guest curator, Leah Barclay, to assemble a playlist based on the Sonic Environments conference in Brisbane in July. Hats off to you, Leah, this playlist saw the most website traffic out of any during 2016…!
Lisa & Peggy could not have managed all of this without the support of some wonderful Interns: many, many thanks to Angus Baxter and his successor Marlene Radice for joining us for part of the Making Waves journey. We absolutely appreciate all your input, ideas and instinct and all the Skype chats!
Now, back to the music: again in 2016, we’re delighted to bring the year’s music together in one marathon playlist for the holiday season, 2016 Waves. This year we share 8 Vimeo videos (c. 1.25 hours), 12 YouTube videos (c. 1.5 hours), and 71 tracks from Soundcloud (c. 9.5 hours), for over 12 hours of music! 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!
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.
Lisa & Peggy
This month we’ve brought together a number of compositions revolving around text, especially spoken word. The composers have employed a range of approaches, including word play, sampled recordings, or the setting of hypothetical speeches. As a result, this playlist ranges from whimsical to contemplative to highly political.
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.
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.
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
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
Cello and answering machine, ukulele miniatures related to a picture book, sampling, remixing and processing, an orchestral soundscape, an ‘oral score’ transmitted verbally from composer to performers in the way that the work’s epic poetry theme would have been; this month’s playlist is dominated by acoustic and electronic musical interactions with an experimental and highly conceptual spirit. Some of these works are literary, historical or political, and all of them are highly evocative of the extra-musical world. Let this amazing playlist challenge your preconceived notions of what it means to compose ‘contemporary’ music.