MESS is back at The Substation with the sixth iteration of their Sonorous multi-channel commissions. In this concert, MESS features two extraordinary artists who have both developed and refined unique sonic palettes across decades of dedication to their respective crafts.
Camilla Hannan’s active listening practice tunes her into the sonic universe wherever she finds herself. A sonic cormorant, she collects and reconfigures the world in sound.
Warren Burt is knitted into the very fabric of Australian experimental and electronic music. His arrival in 1975 to be part of the first teaching cohort at the newly minted La Trobe University Music Department was a seismic event in the development of the form in this country.
Camilla Hannan is an Australian sound artist who works primarily with field recordings. She processes these recordings into abstract representations of place and experience. She investigates the construction of urban and natural environments sonically, and spatially, morphing these elements into new sound worlds. Camilla’s work is centred on a deep fascination with the way in which we listen to our environment and how this listening impacts upon our micro and macro worlds.
For Sonorous VI, Camilla will conjure a sonic world, one in which we inhabit both individually and collectively – a reflection of this place in time and the soundtrack to our internal manifestos.
Warren Burt was born in Baltimore Maryland in 1949. He was raised in northern New York State and studied at the State University of New York at Albany from 1967-71 (with Joel Chadabe) and at the University of California, San Diego from 1971-75 (with Kenneth Gaburo and Robert Erickson). He moved to Australia in 1975 and was involved in setting up the Music Department at La Trobe University from 1975 to 1981. He is a composer, performer, writer, instrument builder, video artist and more. Among recent performances was Darshan with a Pelican, an 8 channel acousmatic composition, which was performed at the GRM Paris concert series.
Warren's new work for MESS will be an 8-channel live mix using many different sound sources and tuning systems. The use of chaotic equations as both sound and pattern sources will be part of the piece. He hopes to, in the words of his friend Dary John Mizelle, pile pattern on pattern until chaos results.
The seating provided for this performance will be bean bags on the floor. There will be some standard seats provided.
Filming and photography will take place during performances and personal photography/videography is not permitted.
Presented by The Substation and MESS.
MESS and its programs and projects are supported by:
MESS is back at The Substation with the fifth edition of the Sonorous octophonic commissions concerts. Once again, MESS presents two extraordinary artists who have been invited into the MESS Studio to engage with the incredible MESS collection of instruments and work their sonic harvests into beautiful multi-channel compositions.
For this iteration, MESS is thrilled to present eves (aka Edwina Stevens), an amazing artist and researcher exploring space and the possibilities of conversation and improvisation as de-colonial practice. Their new work, Sounds of thin places, is an expansive, drone-based work taking the listener on a liminal journey, blending environmental recordings with synthesised response – resonating, reverberating and echoing a subconscious place between immediate realities and a sense of timeless, slow wanderings in shifting semi-industrial zones.
Sounds of thin places explores multiple instruments and the "anomalies and interruptions in old circuits, where the machine appears to break through and speak for itself" from the MESS collection, including the Yamaha CS-80, Steiner Parker, ARP 2600, Roland 100M system, Synthi VC3 mkII and Ondes Musicales to create intense drones, crackling signals, wavering harmonics and emerging melodies. Within the octophonic sound system, tones and textures overlap and intersect, slowly morphing and oscillating to create an immersive, cinematic listening experience, along with a performative element engaging with the wavering, noise-drone characteristics of the EMS VCS3 Putney and Synthi MKII.
Alongside this new work, MESS will be moving the iconic Serge Paperface synthesiser into the venue where the incredible Benjamin Carey will share the fruits of two residencies with the machine blending recordings with live performance. An immersive articulation of the sonic possibilities of this colossal instrument, the performance is a live rendering of a forthcoming release Metastability (Hospital Hill, 2022).
eves is the solo project of Edwina Stevens, an audiovisual artist and researcher based in Naarm listening and making on unceded Wurundjeri-Woiwurrung land. eves works in improvisation and the incidental, considering temporal, material and experiential connections through wanderings, chance encounters, tangential processes and unanticipated outcomes via environmental sound, responsive synthesis and found acoustic possibilities. eves has recently released an album on local label Music Company titled Looking for Glass (2020).
Benjamin Carey is a Sydney-based composer, improviser and educator. He makes electronic music using the modular synthesiser, develops interactive music software and creates audio-visual works.
Ben’s research and practice is concerned with musical interactivity, generativity and the delicate dance between human and machine agencies in composition and performance.
Ben has released several albums, including Hypertelic (2021) and ANTIMATTER (2019), and has collaborated with a variety of artists including JACK Quartet, Sydney Chamber Opera, ELISION ensemble and others. His work has been performed internationally at the Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music (UK), IRCAM Live at La Gaiteì Lyrique (France) and elsewhere.
Ben is a Lecturer in Composition and Music Technology at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney. In recognition of his research, Ben was recently awarded the University's SOAR Prize for 2022/23.
Filming and photography will take place during performances.
The seating provided for this performance will be bean bags on the floor.
Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS) returns to The Substation for the next iteration of their octaphonic commissions. Pull up a bean bag and bathe in glistening new sound works from some of the finest sonic minds. Each year this commission program gives selected artists full access to the MESS collection of instruments with the provocation to create an immersive electroacoustic sound composition. For Sonorous IV, MESS are thrilled to present new works by the incomparable Joe Talia and Amias Hanley. Joe has recently returned from extended stints in Europe and Japan. One of Australia’s best drummers, his compositions straddle the electronic and acoustic domains with a seemingly effortless dexterity. Amias Hanley is a sound artist engaging in speculative and site-responsive approaches with a focus on audition as an affective practice. Their work interrogates the “possibilities of sound and technology to support and alter the sonic expressions of humans and more-than-humans.” As always these two new works will be interspersed with a diffusion from the Australian electronic music archive.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Joe Talia is an improviser and composer who works with percussion, tape and electronics. Focussing on the use of Revox tape machine and analogue synthesizers in combination with instruments and field recordings, Talia’s electronic works patiently build up sparkling, detail-rich sound worlds of gliding tones, skittering percussion and burbling location atmospherics. In live situations, Talia often uses tape and effects to process and warp his own and others’ playing into uncanny chains of echoes and spectral smears of sound.
A virtuoso drummer, as a percussionist Talia emerges from the traditions of jazz and free improvisation and has developed a unique personal language of shifting accents, subtle virtuosity and discreet extended technique that he welds equally ably in jazz, rock, new music and improvisational contexts. Like his electronic works, his drumming often demonstrates a keen attention to long-form structures, dynamic development and group interactions.
An important member of Tokyo’s vibrant improvised music scene and internationally active as a performer, Talia performs and records regularly with Oren Ambarchi, Eiko Ishibashi, Jim O’Rourke, James Rushford and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. In addition to these regular collaborations, he has also been involved in projects with Keiji Haino, Chris Abrahams, Tetuzi Akiyama, Akira Sakata, John Duncan, Richard Pinhas and many others. His work has been published by international labels such as Black Truffle, Bocian, Kye and Touch.
This new work will make use of analog and digital instruments from all corners of the MESS collection to form a composition of dense electronic textures, presented in a sculpture-like multichannel diffusion. Alongside the generated tonal, textural and rhythmic elements, the instruments will also process and ingest field recordings of familiar environments and transform them into dynamic yet unidentifiable spaces for the electronic sounds to inhabit.
Using ultra sensitive contact microphones intended for measuring seismic vibrations, artist Amias Hanley has recorded the acoustic energy that travels through and articulates The Substation’s architecture and surrounding infrastructure, capturing a haunting auditory impression of the landscape and the building’s spectral expression.
Through this performance the building’s sonic character and surroundings are brought into conversation with selected synthesisers and electronic instruments from MESS’ historic collection, notably the Ondes Martenot. Items from the collection have been chosen for their expressive qualities and timbral synergy with the source material, and are used to voice and accentuate themes of transition and hauntology that unfold in the work.
Distant rhythms of the adjacent railway, soft resonance of air flow through the ventilation ducts and the illusory melodies of the oil pipeline contouring the east-facing wall, will be diffused across eight discrete channels conjuring an impression of the environment to emerge through the architecture – inviting audiences to listen across time, to attune to the building's multi-purpose existence, through shifting climates and the making of social relations.
Amias Hanley is an artist currently living on Wurundjeri Country in Melbourne, Australia. Their practice uses sound and media to explore relations among queer ecologies, attunement, situatedness and speculative practices. Engaging forms of performance, installation and collaboration, Amias' work is interested in ways of listening and the possibilities of sound and technology to support and alter the sonic expressions of humans and more-than-humans.
Their work has been commissioned by MESS, Liquid Architecture, Next Wave, Trocadero Art Space, Brunswick Mechanics Institute, Speak Percussion, Avantwhatever Festival, Bogong Centre for Sound Culture, Mapping Melbourne and Crack Theatre Festival.
This event is wheelchair accessible and gender neutral accessible toilets are available.
Please note that the seating provided for this performance will be bean bags on the floor.
The Substation is committed to continually improving our services to ensure our events can be enjoyed by all. If you have specific access requirements (including seating requirements) please note this when booking or get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
Every year MESS commissions extraordinary Australian artists to create new works for an octaphonic electro-acoustic format. The artists work with the incredible MESS collection of instruments to explore new sonic worlds and push their work in new ways. This year we are thrilled to be working with Fia Fiell and Erkki Veltheim. Two outstanding artists whose distinctive sonic fingerprints are all over the Australian musical landscape in a myriad of forms. Come down, pull up a beanbag and take a deep sonic dive into the minds of these wonderful artists.
For this MESS commission, synth artist Fia Fiell (Carolyn Schofield) will be premiering a new, long-form synthesiser performance in quadraphonic sound, using an array of vintage and contemporary synths from the collection to create an intimate yet expansive full-volume experience. Known for her arresting live performances, Schofield will play and process multiple keyboard synthesisers in situ to create an evocative, delicate and yet densely textural work, built on amorphous melodic cycles and complex drones. Simultaneously macroscopic, nebulous, meditative and immersive, the performance will explore what it means to hold and then let go: of tension and rigidity, of conscious control, of emotional tumult and of unbridled energy. Using an elastic, improvisational approach to time, space and rhythm, Schofield will create music that flows, expands and contracts all around the listener, enfolding and cocooning audiences into a form of collective therapy.
‘Effigy’ is a new work for acoustic violin and electronics composed on MESS’s analogue synthesisers. The synthesisers stretch and splinter the violin, reimagining it as a sacrificial object that is gradually immolated during the performance. This follows my line of interest in previous works combining the violin, as both a sonic and cultural object, with different forms of electronic prostheses: whether enacting an exorcism or a hallucinatory trance, they aim for some kind of ritual that challenges our perception in terms of the source, location and meaning of the sounds that we hear. I like the idea of harnessing the unpredictable, intractable qualities of analogue synthesisers in this work: In the attempt of utilising them to analyse and extend the violin’s sonic qualities, they will resist and retaliate, and in the process reconfigure it and consume it as a caricature of their own making.
The MESS Commissions will allow audiences to experience the expansive range of electronic sound that is created in Australia in an environment conducive to deep immersive listening. From engaging emerging artists to create new work to presenting pieces by established practitioners, through to bringing light to the vast and mostly unheard work created in this country since the late 1960s’, the MESS Commissions aims to support and expose the significant culture of electronic sound that exists in Australia.
Rosalind Hall’s spatial and expansive work explores the physicality of sound through the use of amplification, microtonal movement, beat frequencies and reverberation. Derived from acoustic and electronic sources, she seeks to extend these materials by sampling and processing to create pieces that evoke a sense of claustrophobic infinity.
Since the early 1980s’ Steve Law has been walking a unique path through electronic sound. From renowned techno project Zen Paradox through to his reputation as an improviser and experimenter with live electronics, Law has quietly built a reputation as one of Australia’s great electronic sound artists. His career has seen him release many recordings and play countless shows here in Australia and overseas as well as receive significant recognition for his work. Law received the inaugural ABC Classic FM computer music award in 1996 and was named best live electronic act at the Australian Live Music Awards in 2000.
This project is supported by Creative Victoria through VicArts. MESS is supported by our members and donor supporters, Australia Council for the Arts, The City of Melbourne and Creative Spaces.