The first piece then is given the temporary title 02/01/13#A, the title referring to the date that the identity of the musicians will be revealed. The track seems to consist of a piano, played both inside and outside, along with some kind of non-instrumental scratching and crackling recorded very well in a resonant space. Initially we hear flurries of rough and raw activity as the piano strings are rubbed and brushed quickly. The strange disembodied, but carefully picked out crackling and scratching then appears as the piano slips into a dreamily melodic meander somewhere in the background as metal and wooden objects seem to be struck, caressed and hollowed out to create the sounds here. Whenever I hear improvised or electronic piano I inevitably think of John Tilbury, but here it is only really for a few briefs moments when things slip into a subdued space that the playing really point me this way. The track builds gradually to an AMMesque crescendo as the piano is thundered at and is joined by a series of crashing, smashing sounds, as if many glass bottles are being smashed then the remnants kicked about in a small space. The piano and these glass sounds work very well together, building the music up in a fine way that brings drama and a sense of angry tension to the work before slipping away into quieter areas again. Its a slow one to build on you, but a fine, well thought through piece.
The Now Now festival presents music composed outside the square, writes Matthew Westwood
Contemporary music, like other forms of experimental art, tends to take root and flourish where there is a culture to support it, and wither where there is not. Vienna, for example, was the centre of innovation in Western music – it was where Mozart, Beethoven and Schoenberg made their careers – before the Nazis stopped the avant-garde in its tracks. Manon-Liu Winter, an experimental pianist and teacher from Austria who is in Sydney this week, says the musical conservatism imposed by the Third Reich lingered in Vienna until the 1980s.
Economic forces can threaten innovation, too. Prohibitive rents have closed venues for experimental performance in Manhattan, for example, and pushed musicians over the bridge into Brooklyn, says Jaime Fennelly, who works with acoustic and electronic instruments. Brooklyn-based Fennelly, another musician in Sydney to take part in the Now Now festival of experimental music, says performers like him are now likely to be found amid the borough’s lofts and warehouses.
complete as PDF australian.pdf | Original