info I contact
editorial schedule
join the realtime email list
become a friend of realtime on facebook
follow realtime on twitter

magazine  archive  features  rt profiler  realtimedance  mediaartarchive


sound/music CD reviews

 Da Contents H2

May 1 2013
Jon Rose

April 3 2013
zephyr quartet
a rain from the shadows

July 17 2012
the wired lab
wired open day 2009

May 22 2012
ros bandt, johannes s sistermanns

March 20 2012
new weird australia editions: thomas williams vs scissor lock, spartak
jewelz & nippon

October 25 2011
avantwhatever label collection
gulbenkoglu gorfinkel; ben byrne; alex white; ivan lysiak

May 24 2011
disintegration: mutation

May 10 2011
blip (jim denley, mike majkowksi)

listen to the weather

March 22 2011
difference engine

November 22 2010
artefacts of australian experimental music volume II 1974-1983

September 20 2010
clocked out
the wide alley

September 7 2010
clocked out
foreign objects

August 23 2010
matt chaumont

July 26 2010
sky needle
time hammer

May 10 2010
mike majkowski
ink on paper

November 6 2009
new weird australia vols 1 & 2

October 26 2009
clare cooper & chris abrahams
germ studies

July 17 2009
erdem helvacioglu
wounded breath

rice corpse
mrs rice

April 28 2009
james rushford

joel stern
objects, masks, props

January 22 2009
loren chasse
the footpath

mark cauvin

December 12 2007
the splinter orchestra

October 24 2007
artefacts of australian experimental music 1930-1973

August 28 2007
akathistos fragments


various artists produced by le tuan hung; dindy vaughan
on the wings of a butterfly: cross-cultural music by australian composers; up the creek

May 1 2006
ai yamamoto

camilla hannan
more songs about factories

found: quantity of sheep

philip brophy

rod cooper

December 1 2005
anthony pateras
mutant theatre

December 1 2005
charlie charlie & will guthrie
la respiration des saintes & building blocks

dj olive

new belief system

jodi rose & guest artists
singing bridges: vibrations/variations

lawrence english

lawrence english
ghost towns

michael j schumacher
room pieces

robin fox
backscatter dvd


the necks
mosquito/see through

tim o'dwyer
multiple repeat

guns, cars & guitars

warp: various artists
warp vision: the videos 1989-2004

zane trow
for those who hear actual voices


clocked out

the wide alley


In March 2009 I was entranced by an Utzon Series concert at Sydney Opera House’s The Studio in which Brisbane duo Clocked Out (Erik Griswold and Vanessa Tomlinson) realised a collaboration developed over 10 years with Chinese composer Zou Xiangping and performed with leading Australian and Chinese musicians.

The concert was an entertaining and nuanced exemplar of cross-cultural collaboration. I immediately longed to hear it again, so it was a pleasant surprise to recently receive a fine studio version recorded in Sydney only days after the concert.

The performances lose none of the spontaneity on CD that is requisite for conveying works drawing on and inspired by the traditional street music, opera percussion and folksong of the oldest neighbourhood of Chengdu in China's Sichuan province, melded here with Clocked Out and their ensemble’s Western jazz and avant-garde roots.

As I wrote in my online review of the concert, “Tuning the inner ear,” April-May 2009, “Clocked Out's approach displays a meeting of forms across cultures and musical languages but also allows the musics of Sichuan enough time-space to stand on their own: in the presentation of traditional works, in re-framings of native classics and in wilder experimental fusions where traditional instrumentalists reveal how they can transplant their virtuosity to new terrains.”

My first-hearing responses to the compositions can be read in the concert review. What the CD confirms is just how engaging every composition is and that the performances are uniformly excellent. Soprano Tian Linping not only excels in the soaring vocal style of Chinese opera, but in “Picking Begonias” displays a local style Griswold describes as “a mix of high art with flutter tongue.” As I wrote then, “The effect is of a lilting, gargling trilling complete with astonishing glissandi in a composition replete with passages where flute and erhu (Zhou Yu) intricately entwine.”

Shi Lei’s bamboo flute playing in “Happy Meeting” is magical, the range of notes and effects (astonishingly bird-like in “At Huang Si’s House”) suggest a more sophisticated, much less humble instrument. Zhou Yu’s erhu playing evokes an eloquent, plangent singer in “Two Springs reflect the Moon.” Peter Knight (trumpet), Adrian Sherriff (trombone) and Robert Davidson (bass) provide not only choral propulsion throughout but also moments of reflective lyricism in these democratic compositions.

Griswold’s characterfully spare, incisive piano and Tomlinson’s rich percussion partnering with Zou Xiangping and Zhong Kaizhi collectively provide supple textures and new spaces—the sheer musicality and detail of the percussion is finely captured in the recording of “Sichuan Opera Overture.” As I wrote of the concert version, “Built around gong and cymbals the work engenders rich textures from seemingly limited means, adding timber percussion, then skins, erhu and flute, long bass notes, a call and reply passage and an epic march to the end. The beat is catchy but elusive; as Griswold declares, "the rhythms are unbelievably complex." Wide Alley was a wonderful concert; now it’s an excellent CD, a tribute to a successful cross cultural collaboration and adventurous composers.
Keith Gallasch

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

Back to top