Perth-based composer, sound artist and singer Rachel Dease opens our playlist this month, blurring the lines between contemporary songwriting, theatrical soundscape and art music in its latest release I’m here. by Sia Ahmad Breather loop one takes that focus on movement and mood and creates a meditative space to really sharpen the audience’s ear – headphones are recommended for this one.
Everytime fuglar himins by Rosalind Page starts playing I’m convinced there’s a singer, but it’s more the expressive and virtuoso playing of the saxophonist (and composer) Katia Beaugeais. Page deftly uses the piano just enough to frame the saxophone without detracting from its long, expansive lines.
Another job that requires headphones is the incredibly immersive Supercluster, pt. II by Bree Van Reyk. Van Reyk has been on this playlist several times and has demonstrated his ability to weave intricate and vibrant sonic webs in a space. This title is a playground of colors, impetuous rhythms and ever-changing textures.
Luc Carbone and Alex Raineri start working on Elliott Gyger Crystal Liquid on their latest album of the same name. It’s hard work, but Carbon and Raineri’s connection and energy bring out the playful nature of Gyger’s music. A shocking (but amusing) juxtaposition is by Robert Davidson electronic work Turna looping piece that captures and showcases the percussive nature of piano and electronics.
Another new piano work is Lachlan Skipworth’s shingetsuinterpreted by the New Zealand pianist Liam Wood. Wooding’s phrasing and soft touch truly instill a sense of breath in the work, a common thread running through much of Skipworth’s output. The breath also seems to be the key to by Anne Cawrse new duo for Sharon and Slava Grigoryan, Based. This work resembles a dance between two equal partners, dodging weaving between each other’s lines in perfect balance.
Chez Zela Margossian Refuge shares this sinuous quality, the rise and fall of the different layers within the quintet give way to new melodic ideas and constantly groove, but Margossian’s musical voice brings them together in a contiguous, smooth and unified work. Rest with the Angels is also a work in progress. Written by Ella Macens and performed by Sydney Apex set, the piece is a meditation on the music of the Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks, with whom Macens shares his cultural heritage. She sets out to instill the feel of light conquering darkness, and I believe she succeeds, while showcasing her mastery of string writing.
Hopefully some tracks have caught your eye on the Aussie Art Music Playlist this month – be sure to see if there are any launch gigs to attend or albums to buy for these new releases. But, if you’re looking for more to listen to (including some older releases), the full archive of Australian art music has also been updated on Spotify (now with over 90 hours of music to discover!).