Ensemble Offspring Premiere @ Future Retro

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Sydney-based Ensemble Offspring are celebrating their 20th year in 2015 and the group put on a wonderful celebration on October 25 consisting of two concerts in one marathon event. The first, entitled Retro, featured early-mid career Australian composers and the Retro concert presented groundbreaking works from Ligeti, Grisey and Andriessen.

My work read/write error was premiered by Offspring in the Future concert. The piece pulls together a few interests of mine including glitch ideas, ‘brokenness’ and jazz/rock influences. Here’s the program note:

read/write error, is a glitchy, beat-driven work that draws upon ideas surrounding the digital, data-driven world we find ourselves in. I imagined three types of music being like data scattered across a failing hard drive. Bits of information are strewn here and there with interspersed contrasts brought about by ‘hard cuts’ between ideas (almost like video editing techniques), the fragments of which are then assembled in various ways.

These thoughts were informed by a general interest of mine in exploring a kind of ‘brokenness’ in music — a beauty brought about through roughness and imperfection. I extended this further by considering the actual sounds emitted by technology as it goes haywire or malfunctions. What I like about this is that these sounds are not supposed to be made but still come across highly expressive to me. Imagine the warbling tune of a fridge or the crunchy explosions of a gearbox or the gritty strains of a tired old printer.

With this in mind I had a long hard listen to a variety of broken technology and started analysing and dissecting a few recordings of a stuttering hard drive losing its mind. I found here a rich array of musical ideas which helped me shape the work.

Lamorna Nightingale – alto flute
Jason Noble – bass clarinet
Elizabeth Welsh – violin
Geoffrey Gartner – cello
Claire Edwardes – percussion
Zubin Kanga – piano

Recording courtesy of ABC Classic FM

Future Retro

Check out the ABC podcast of the Future concert here.

Sydney Morning Herald concert write-up/review.