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online e-dition may 22, 2013

vivid vibrations

gail priest talks with new wave: sound curator andrew batt-rawden

Julian Day, Infinity Room Julian Day, Infinity Room
Since its incarnation in 2009, Vivid festival’s music program has concentrated on the big end of town—major international (and occasionally Australian) artists performing at the iconic pearl of the city (or more an oyster shell), the Sydney Opera House. However this year offers more diversification with activities of all kinds radiating out from the harbour, including the Seymour Centre hosting a series of Vivid events, one of which is the New Wave: Sound program.

Curated by Seymour Centre resident Andrew Batt-Rawden (Chronology Arts), Ndew Wave: Sound is a mini-festival of music that hovers above the genre boundaries of contemporary classical, electroacoustic, jazz, soundscape and even pop. I asked Batt-Rawden about the slipperiness of categorisations.

“It’s very difficult to pin it down to a particular genre because a lot of this music is genre-less, other than calling it art music or contemporary classical. It’s such a broad area that can include a whole plethora of moods, feelings, styles, rhythms, harmonic constructs—it’s really like a new world to explore. That’s why the title New Wave: Sound is relevant. Also it’s playing on the idea of vibrations—sound waves.”

Collarbones Collarbones
To set the context, the event opens with a forum around “what’s hot” in new music with guest commentators Ignatius Jones (Creative Advisor, Vivid), Marcus Whale (composer, member of Collarbones), Julian Day (composer, presenter on ABC Classic FM), Adam Lewis (host of Radiant on FBi Radio) Lyle Chan (composer, Creative Consultant) and Batt-Rawden. Following this audiences will have to make a difficult choice since the first two concerts are presented simultaneously.

Playing in the Sound Lounge is Italian jazz composer/pianist Kekko Fornarelli (with Giorgio Vendola, double bass and Dario Congedo, drums and percussion) performing laid back jazz meets classical lyricism. Those seeking more angular pleasures should try Abstraction & Pathology, a concert of works by virtuosic electroacoustic composer Anthony Pateras performing with Natasha Anderson (recorder and electronics) and Erkki Veltheim (viola). Pateras, who now lives in Brussels and whose work was recently profiled by Speak Percussion at Maerzmusik in Berlin (see review in RT115), certainly fulfils Batt-Rawden’s desire to program the “epitome of ‘awesomeness’ in electroacoustic music.”

frostbYte frostbYte
The second day consists of back-to-back performances, starting at midday. They include compositions for bass recorder commissioned and performed by Alicia Crossley; the drone minimalism of Julian Day’s Infinity Room project; a multichannel soundscape with visuals by frostbYte (aka Daniel Blinkhorn); string quartet The NOISE; and various group configurations featuring electric guitarist virtuoso Zane Banks, including Australia’s only guitar quartet, Ampere. The evening finishes up with pop-duo Collarbones (Marcus Whale and Travis Cook).
Batt-Rawden, in his previous role of Artistic Director of the 2012 Aurora Festival, introduced Western Sydney audiences to this eclectic combination of acts so I asked him what it was about these artists that so appealed to him.

“All of the artist who are being presented are people with get-up-and-go, who take the initiative whether that be creative initiative [in their compositions] or in producing fantastic programs…That risk-taking is reflected in the micro-detail of their compositions and performances, as well as the broader programming they have done in other concerts.”

Andrew Batt-Rawden certainly has his share of get-up-and-go and he’s not afraid to think big, asserting, “Although ‘entrepreneur’ can be a dirty word in artistic practice, I don’t think it should be.” While preparation for this year’s program had quite a compressed timeline, he is already planning next year’s event, which will see the relationship with SIMA (Sydney Improvised Music Association which is presenting Kekko Fornarelli this year) developed into a more comprehensive collaboration. Batt Rawden says, “There’s actually an interesting mix of jazz influences with classical training in next year’s program.” But first things first: ride the new wave this year and see where it takes you.

Vivid Sydney @ Seymour: New Wave: Sound, curator Andrew Batt-Rawden, Chronology Arts, Seymour Centre, June 7-8;

You can also check out some video clips of The NOISE , Frostbyte, Julian Day

RealTime issue #114 April-May 2013 pg. web

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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