New Audio Release IWTOTH

Improvising With The Other Than Human. IWTOTH. An experimental invitation to listen to music/sounds as if you were listening to sounds in a forrest ecology. Expect the sounds to be diffractive / multiplicitous / an example of turbulent flow. Is it possible to turn off your rational music critic brain which may well hear the combination of sounds as out of time, messy, weird? Can we inhabit the spaces in between. Sit within the forrest and observe & respond without judgement, wanting to measure, control or critique? Find out more at the website. The works arose out of We Will Dance With Mountains course/festival 2021/22, with Bayo Akomolafe.

Solo Piano Album Released

I recently embarked on a sonic filing exercise in order to rediscover music recordings which were gathering dust in failing hard drives. My aim was to make them available to friends, who have been using recordings in their film projects. I stumbled across a surprising amount of interesting solo piano works and decided to release them as a little album. A number of the pieces were inspired by the philosophy and art of Wassily Kandinsky and Egyptian Baladi music. Buy it on Bandcamp for the price of shouting me a coffee in your favourite cafe.

Frame Drumming on the West Australian coast.

A clip Sacha Fawkes shot on our trip down the Western Australian coastline 2012. I am almost finished my first year of the Master of Teaching course I am completing. More news on recordings, performances and workshops soon!

‘Fragments’ : Performance at the National Gallery of Australia

I am dancing, drumming, singing and performing my new piano piece ‘Kandinsky’ at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra this week. The seeds first appeared in May last year through working with dancer Suraya Hilal. It has since been further developed on my own and then with dancer Sarah Hamilton. I am excited to show it and excited by the prospect of working with a bigger musical ensemble to bring it to life down the track.

Kandinsky, Dusseldorf, Hilal Dance

Oscillations with Suraya Hilal, Sarah Hamilton and I at Casula Powerhouse went well. It was a good audience and we further developed existing pieces as well as discovered a new piano piece for Suraya Hilal and I.

Her brief was ” something modern…. abstract…. like Kandinsky… ” Which has got to be one of the most wonderful briefs I have ever had. We improvised it the first day of rehearsals dancer and musician working together, delving into the unknown ….beat by step by move by melodic structure. We then spent the rest of the rehearsal period trying to recapture it and create a loose structure which could guide us through our improvisations : Create a syntax and variety of dynamic shifts.

It was kinda scary but in the end the most fun of the program. We also did a totally improvised frame drum piece. The GREAT news is I have now been invited to drum for the workshops in Dusseldorf, Germany in July. I AM GOING! I feel i can not possibly say no. Exciting!! My drum mentor Egyptian drum master Ibrahim el Minyawi will be there as well as dancers from all over Europe. Fantastic!

Creative Collaboration

I recently wrote a song about the beauty and compelling nature of musical improvisation and creative collaboration. Inspired in part by late night jams at the Illawarra Folk Festival and generally by the often confusing nature of love, music, creativity, passion, eternity, spirit, matter, energy, sexuality………. MUSIC.

Here are some of the lyrics

devour me, i’ll devour you
together we will cease
through the beats between the beats and the notes between the notes
2 as 1, 1 as 1, all as all, all as all
from nothing to nothing
what is it we fear
eternity is split in half when we’re apart

if its love that loves through me
then why is it looking through your eyes
through your mind
through the dance of your fingers
through you

Markus Kuchenbuch

Last month met a wonderful musician/flute player/performer/dancer/choreographer Markus Kuchenbuch. A chance meeting at a friends house alerted us to the fact that we have similar creative interests : Improvisation combining rhythm, drums, singing, movement, dance and melodic instruments : Improvisation which draws on everything and nothing we have ever heard or imagined: Improvisation which frees the mind from the inanity and insanity of day to day existence and places the musician and the willing listener within eternity – where somehow the only reality is the relationship between melodic phrases and rhythmic beats – total absorption in communication through sound patterns. He lives in Berlin and so 2 weeks after we met he returned to the winter of his Berlin. Fortunately before he left we managed a recording session where we captured some of the potential of our collaboration. He has invited me to Berlin for some recording and performing which, funds permitting, will happen sometime over the next 12 months. Here is a snippet from our recordings : mmweb

Dancing Fingers

IMAGO is definitely the most demanding live show I have attempted. I am in training mode with piano, accordian, frame drum, Egyptian tabla and just incase i thought that was too easy I am dancing a complex group choreography as well! This is me working on a new section of the piano piece. See post below for more info on IMAGO – to be performed 6th of December 2008.
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Some days I think I must be mad to attempt all of it, but then I remember that the integration of dance /music/sound/form/movement is infact what has always driven and inspired me. Training in the dance means I understand the choreography and movement language and can better respond to them as a musician. It also means I am fitter than I have been for decades! Most “traditional” cultures have art/music/dance/ritual/theatre as vital components of their existence and they all by and large do not make the same divisions between where one thing starts and the other begins.

It is in the intersection of these things that the complex patterns of the universe become more fully realised. See info on the Mandelbrot Set and I just found this wild video of mandelbrot set imagery.

All of the live music pieces are a combination of quite complex repeatable/composed structures and improvisational interludes. It requires an enormous amount of focus to move between modes. The transitions between sections are in turn prompted by dancer or musician or a little of both. I think this is one of the valuable things about the work we are doing. It necessitates a presence of mind which engages both hemispheres of the brain in an integrated and balanced way. Positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes this state as FLOW.