Archive for the ‘Signal Art Ensemble’ Tag

One more project to go

One last project to prepare for before I go off on my one-week holiday to Sandy Point (no mobile phone coverage, no landline, no internet). This weekend is the third gathering of the Signal Art Ensemble, a project I am directing with funds from the City of Melbourne and musicians from the Australian Art Orchestra.

With this project we are going to compose music to accompany some extraordinary visual images by the film artist Louise Curham, taking some initial guidance for our music from the compositional overview of SOAK by Alister Spence (being performed by the Art Orchestra later this year). The images are hypnotic – Super 8 film that has been treated and manipulated with imposed animations/scratches (?) over it, and very vivid, rich colours. Also some interesting superimposing of typeface. I think the young people will enjoy working with this material. (There’s a great sample of her work on You Tube, below).

It’s my last project at the end of a very full period of projects and performances, but fortunately it is also far less structured than the others. The focus in very much on improvisation and the young people taking part are full of ideas. Musically we might start off with some grounding work in improvisation (in particular ‘finding endings’ in free improvisations, playing in 10/8, and building up some ideas using a range of percussion instruments I shall bring in with me that are all made of metal – some gongs I bought in Cambodia, silver shakers that my mother brought back from Ethiopia for me, and a range of beautifully pitched bells that I bought years ago in Bulgaria.

Signal Art Ensemble in the Jazz Festival

On Saturday the Signal Art Ensemble gave its first public performance, as part of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. We performed two pieces that the group had composed themselves, taking inspiration from the Australian Art Orchestra’s Miles Davis: Prince of Darkness concert. Here are  couple of photos from our rehearsals, on the day of the performance:

For one of the pieces we created, each person had to devise their own graphic score, organising their ideas according to time durations on a stopwatch, rather than bars and a conductor. Here are a couple of examples:

These are photos that I took with my little camera. However, the official photographer for the project was the young and talented Tarrant Kwok, and some of his images will be up later on the Australian Art Orchestra’s website, and on my website, once I get it going.