Aotearoa Audio Arts 2019 – a festival of electronic music and sound art – was a fabulous success. 2 days of sold-out concerts, a jam-packed exhibition opening, wonderful musicians and artists, and super-engaged audiences. Thanks to Myriam Bleau, Nicolas Bernier, Richard Chartier, Anne La Berge and David Dramm for travelling to our side of the globe and, along with a host of high-end local talent, making the event such a pleasure to be part of! Organisers Mo Zareei, Jim Murphy and myself are already listening around corners for the 2019 iteration. Here’s a mux of the aaa concerts…
The “New Music, New Zealand” Themendossier (thematic dossier) on experimental and electronic music in Aotearoa-NZ, which I edited, is online. The Themendossier provides context around Hanno Leichtmann‘s Goethe Institute artist residency, and features contributions from Sam Longmore, Daniel Beban, Amy Jean Barnett, Erica Sklenars, Martyn William Pepperell and Miles Buckingham. There are also podcasts by Rob Thorne – on taonga puoro – and myself, on electronic music in NZ.
A new piece for guitar and electronics, commissioned and premiered by Matthew Marshall in November 2017 (Marama Hall, Dunedin). A Single Hurt Colour borrows its title from a Gertrude Stein poem but is really about the idea, the sound-image, of a single hurt colour – the refractions of the simple minor motif that opens the piece.
A summary of new music in Australasia and Oceania, in 5000 characters… So much to say, so little space! In any case, it’s now published in the Lexikon neue Musik [Encyclopedia of New Music], edited by Prof. Dr. Jörn Peter Hiekel and Prof. Dr. Christian Utz (Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler Verlag, 2016).
This Storm Is Called Progress (2016), a dual-screen audio-visual installation created in collaboration with filmmaker Grayson Cooke, was recently shortlisted for the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize. The work was highly commended by the judging panel and will be exhibited at the South Australian Museum in Adelaide, 10 June – 31 July 2016.
The project articulates the temporal and spatial disjunctions that underpin the Anthropocene, through juxtaposition of the “deep time” of ancient geological formations (the Naracoorte Caves in South Australia) with the technologically translated time of the anthropogenic present (Landsat images of Antarctic ice shelves).
The role of sound and music in the installation is to affectively charge and temporally vectorise its non-human, non-sentient subjects. This renders the non-human in humanly accessible form, affording the installation’s audience immediate access to ecological phenomena – hyperobjects – that otherwise exceed and elude human ken. This is a vital social-ecological contribution that art can make in response to the multiple environmental crises that define our contemporary era.
Anthroposcenes (1, 2), for voice and electronics, was commissioned by IEM and premiered by the wonderful counter-tenor Kai Wessel in IEM’s Signale series back in March. The concert featured works by Trevor Wishart and Karlheinz Essl – fabulous to be in such outstanding company! The piece itself is an ongoing exploration of the body-environment metaphors, in multiple languages, which underpinned Let x =, created while composer-in-residence at IEM in 2014-15.
Lost Oscillations, a collaboration between myself, Jim Murphy, and Mo H. Zareei, is a sound installation that requires the human touch – literally – of its audience in reactivating and feeling through the layered sonic archeology of Christchurch, the city’s contemporary and historic soundscapes and ever-shifting spatial character.
In Lost Oscillations the immediacy of listening and touch embed the participant in a field of phantom sound that their touch draws forth from the city, sonically and emotionally colouring the cityscape surrounding the installation.
The installation was commissioned by the 2015 Audacious Festival of Sonic Art. Jim and I were interviewed about the project by Eva Radich on Radio NZ Concert’s Upbeat show. You can listen to the interview here.