You Are Here is a festival that celebrates local experimental artists and the Canberran underground creative culture as a whole. Over the span of a week, various artists present their work in non-traditional venues and city spaces around town.
During the festival, the EMS performed at Everything at Once and All Together, in Varity Lane, Civic (15 April). Inspired by John Cage’s, Musicircus, it featured performances, music, and installations from over 30 artists, including us. Our set featured video projections accompanied by spoken word, synthesisers, acoustic and electric instruments, as well as toy instruments.
On 16 April, the EMS jumped over to O’Connor to perform in somebody’s home as a part of Let’s Stay In Tonight. For our set, At Home, we performed in the kitchen and living room (simultaneously), making music with an assortment of household objects.
A new electronic work of mine, Just One Sentence, was also premiered at the festival (17 April) as a part of Pieces For Cars, Tunnel, and Hexagonal Vents (this event was the brainchild of friend and colleague, Ben Drury). The audience experienced the compositions from above (heard through hexagonal air vents), as the electronic pieces were played from car stereos in the tunnel beneath them.
On 24 March, the newly formed ANU Prepared Piano Ensemble performed a set on (or should I say, ‘in’) the grand piano installation in the unique Nishi Grand Stair (Canberra). We explored interesting sounds and complex textures by collectively playing both the inside and outside of the piano. Aside from playing the keys, the inside of the piano was struck with various sticks and mallets, bowed (using rosined ribbon), plucked, and prepared with various objects including, but not limited to, cymbals, glass bottles, stones, bolts, and beads.
Composer and WAAPA lecturer, Lindsay Vickery, visited and worked with the Experimental Music Studio from 4-5 March. Vickery’s works explore the use of field recordings as a structural resource, new forms of notation (including the use of an iPad scrolling score app, designed by himself and his colleagues), and performance through the synthesis of instruments, electronics, and video. On 5 March, the EMS performed, alongside Vickery, a concert of his works.
On 2 March, the ANU Experimental Music Studio premiered Alexander Hunter’s 40-minute work, Grasping Things At The Root. It consisted of experimental and improvised music where we reacted and interacted with live video projections. Using an assortment of both acoustic and electric instruments, we surrounded the audience, immersing them in an all-encompassing sonic and visual experience.
Subsequence, hosted by Michael Norris and Reuben Ingall, is a radio show that airs on 2XX 98.3FM. It plays a range of experimental music from both international and national artists, though with a self-confessed bias toward Australian music, and with a focus on new releases.
I was lucky enough to have one of my pieces played on air (Broken Boxes, for tape), and it is also being released on a compilation CD.
Last week I attended the Musicological Society of Australia Conference in Sydney. What’s a composer like me doing at a musicology conference? Well, spreading the word about the EMS Toy Ensemble, that’s what! I learnt so much in such a short time; it was a great experience. I am very proud of the fact that I am probably the first person ever to ‘fart a whoopee cushion’ at a conference.
The ‘Feminine Endings’ concert, hosted by the ANU New Music Ensemble, was a huge success! It featured works from national and international women composers such as Alison Knowles (USA), Pauline Oliveros (USA), Cat Hope (AUS), Amanda Schoofs (USA) and Lauren Redhead (UK). I was lucky enough to make the programme alongside these fantastic women composers and have my piece, Modified Mobile, premiered on the night.