Experimental music competition hits new heights

Music / SoundOut Competition 2023. At Drill Corridor Gallery, January 27-29. Reviewed by ROB KENNEDY.

KICKING off the musical yr, SoundOut is again for 2023 and this time it seems to be prefer it’s the most important competition of experimental and improvised music ever.

First up have been Noisefloor, consisting of Jamie Gifford, bandoneon, Jamie Lambert, guitar, Rhys Butler, alto sax, Competition Director Richard Johnson, sax, Rory Villegas, trumpet and Tom Fell, saxophones.

A bowed electrical guitar could make the spookiest sound. Together with the saxes, trumpet and bandoneon, the eclectic, atmospheric mixture of pure and supernatural sounds have been created by manipulating their devices with all kinds of methods and particular person strategies.

Similar to jazz gamers, the performers know when to return in and take the lead and when to drop out, letting one other fill the area. Instinctively, they know when to hurry up, decelerate, and when to crescendo and fall away. 

This music was composed within the thoughts, by way of the ear of what’s occurring across the sonic caldron they created within the Drill Corridor Gallery. A tremendous opening set.

The duo Whistle Biter, consisting of Dave Brown, electrical guitar and Hermione Johnson, ready piano. Brown’s four-string wide-body guitar made a beautiful sound. Johnson’s ready piano and its virtually toy piano-like atmosphere created a haunting ethereal mixture of sounds that may have been at dwelling in a horror film; only. 

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However when the pair flew into motion with pounding clusters on the piano and the guitars screeching excessive, the expertise was overwhelming. The amount of sound earth-shattering. 

Khabat Abas from Iraq on cello, Jon Rose, violin, Mark Cauvin, double bass, and Nikki Heywood, a voice, textual content, efficiency artist obtained collectively on stage to provide a leaping, bouncy, free efficiency work the place every supplied a person assertion that blended effectively.

They broke this set into 4 elements the place one participant led and others responded, creating extremely unique content material. Abas had the final half, and her deep growling cello led an enchanting work with thrives of excessive violin from Rose, which happy immensely. All works have been held collectively by Heywood and her superb skill to mix spoken phrase, singing and whispers in a single phrase. 

Peter Knight, on trumpet, revox and electronics, gave a solo efficiency that nearly defied description. Starting by sitting among the many viewers and taking part in an virtually inaudible sound on his trumpet, so excessive even above harmonics, an odd, virtually silent whistle got here out earlier than he produced multi-phonic notes mixed with alternate breath articulations.

Then on to his electronics as he performed the trumpet, which he looped by way of his setup a number of instances on completely different notes, making an ambient wall of sound.

Carmen Chan Schoenborn, vibraphone, piano, Gemma Horbury, trumpet, Joe Talia, drums, Samuel Pankhurst on double bass adopted. The sound of a plastic bag being crinkled opened this set. This was half efficiency piece, with Horbury inserting flowers into the bell of her trumpet and later destroying the flowers, plus talking about what gave the impression to be the consequences of Australia Day on Aboriginal folks.

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It was surreal, by far essentially the most experimental work. It crossed a large mixture of tone colors, dynamics and rhythms as free improvisation took over. This was one thing to see and listen to.

The evening ended with Clinton Inexperienced, electronics, Dale Gorfinkel, invented devices, Brian McNamara, invented digital devices, and Peter Farrar electronics and objects.

This wonderful cross-section of artists and music proved that free improvisation, experimental music and free jazz are going sturdy in Australia and world wide.

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Ian Meikle, editor