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23 Jun 2017 – 25 Jun 2017
| GOMA | Cinema A, Cinema B
The Australian Cinémathèque presents the first in a new series of live projects featuring some of the most compelling artists and composers working with electronic and electroacoustic music. Each program offers two intimate live performances, combining projection, lighting and spatialised sound.
Program 1 features Grouper (United States) and Alessandro Cortini (Italy/United States) Program 2 features
Klara Lewis (Sweden) and Sarah Davachi (Canada) Program 3 features Lawrence English (Australia) and Elysia Crampton (United States)
I felt like the music was at its barest just a grouping of sounds, and I was just the grouper.
Grouper is the recording and performance project for Portland-based artist and musician Liz Harris. Using guitar and piano layered with ethereal vocals and cassette tape loops, Harris makes ambient pop songs, acoustic recordings and sound collages. Grouper’s breakthrough album Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill 2008 was distinguished for its combination of folk traditions, psychedelia and early electronic experimentalism. Harris recorded her latest album Ruins 2014 with a portable 4-track and upright piano during an artist residency in Portugal and has described this elegiac work as a document of ‘living in the remains of love’. Grouper’s live shows are characterised by their intimacy and arresting beauty, conjuring memories shrouded in mist or floating above the clouds.
I believe that I have a message to convey, and depending on the instrument I use, the language to spread the message is different.
Alessandro Cortini is an Italian musician best known for his expansive and hypnotic compositions made using analog and modular synthesisers. He continues to work as a touring and recording musician for Nine Inch Nails, while also acting as the lead singer for his band SONOIO. Cortini’s acclaimed Forse 2013-15 trilogy was composed with the pioneering Buchla Music Easel, while recent recordings such Risveglio 2016 use early Roland syntherisers, which were key to the development of house music. His music uses hinging melodies amidst great washes of drone to hold listeners in place, while sonic intensity grows and recedes. Cortini’s live performances are a mix of vivid projection and hazy soundscapes that have hypnotised audiences around the world.
I hear something in a sound and it makes me feel something. Then I try to capture that emotion.
Klara Lewis is a Swedish composer who creates vast, enveloping tapestries of field recordings and electro-acoustic sampling. Her debut album Ett 2014 was acclaimed for its complex processing and layering of sounds – creating tones and textures that land with a resounding impression. Lewis's latest album, Too 2016, offers an even more dense and evocative experience, fluidly weaving together drone and rhythmic dynamism. Klara’s live shows are immersive aural and visual events, carefully designed to wrap around the spatial dynamics of a venue and featuring stunning video projections made in collaboration with Hampus Högberg. She recently performed a newly commissioned live score for the silent film Berlin: Symphony of a City 1927 at the Centre Pompidou, in collaboration with Simon Fisher Turner and Rainier Lericolais.
Sound is as much a physical response for me as it is a mental or psychological one. I think of music as this sort of architectural pursuit; it's an encompassing environment that takes the listener inward into some kind of space.
Sarah Davachi is a Canadian composer who makes drone-based music and extended-duration harmonic studies. Her work is concerned with the mixing of analog synthesisers and acoustic sources – often defamiliarising the latter through heavy processing – to reveal the forgotten sonics of a bygone era. Her 2016 album Vergers was made using an EMS Synthi 100 synthesiser along with violin and voice, while her haunting new release All My Circles Run 2017 alters different acoustic sound sources from strings, piano and voice. Sarah continues to work at the National Music Centre in Canada where she researches and preserves their collection of acoustic and electronic keyboard instruments.
It’s important to recognise that our body is also an ear; it just listens differently to acoustic stimulus.
Lawrence English is an Australian composer, artist and curator whose work explores notions of space and perception, as well as the ability of sounds to occupy the body. He is director of the imprint Room40, a platform dedicated to the presentation of experimental orchestral, electronic and ambient music. English’s most recent album Cruel Optimism 2016 borrows its title from the seminal text by American critical theorist Lauren Berlant and is a probing and profound study of power. Sonic waves break over the listener, reflecting the shifting state of the world and the disorder that these changes have wrought. Lawrence’s performance of this work uses intense volume and lighting to emphasise the overwhelming, affective capacity that sound can generate.
I stand for an unrepresented history of musicians and writers of colour, female authors, queer artists… I stand for these histories coiled at event horizon, on the brink of a new universe or total disintegration, braided with nothingness.
The work of Elysia Crampton is a confluence of personal politics and the fusing of multiple underrepresented histories, musical genres and cultural signifiers. Born and raised outside Los Angeles, Crampton moved nomadically around the United States and Mexico before settling in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Her debut EP American Drift drew upon Virginia’s violent colonial past and sought to make a spiritual excavation of race and otherness. Her latest work, Elysia Crampton presents: Demon City 2016 was written as an epic poem about the indigenous Aymara people, and features contributions from producers Chino Amobi, Rabit, Why Be, and Lexxi. The album’s accompanying live performance, bridges Aymara oral history traditions with Elysia’s own disruption of gender, ethnicity, and even species.