Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of hitting the the studio in Melbourne to record a bunch of new pieces I've been working on with some of my favourite Australian musicians: Jamie Oehlers (sax), Ollie McGill (piano) and Dave Beck (drums). The tunes each have a different conceptual framework - often with a focus on the rhythm structures and harmonic ambiguity - from which there is a lot of space for improvisation. This project is new territory for me in terms of composition as a lot of the heavy lifting had to be done conceptually before a note was sounded.
Ollie and I workshopped the tunes in September, had a couple of rehearsals with Dave before the session and Jamie rocked up to the studio without any prior rehearsals and they all killed it! It's currently getting mixed by my friend and long-term collaborator Magnus Lindberg over in Stockholm and Tina Stefanou is making artwork to accompany the album. I'm very fortunate to have support from the Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Initiative.
Still figuring out the release plans but it looks like we'll release it next year and play some shows too.
Having recently arrived back in Australia after being based in Paris this year, I thought I'd share a few highlights:
- performing an 11-hour structured improvisation at Salt Musuem in Istanbul, Turkey
- writing 'The Great Unrest' for Ensemble Nouveau
- participating in a one week improvisation course with American composer Mark Applebaum in Viitasaari, Finland as part of the Time Of Music festival in July
- attending Manifeste 2017 at IRCAM in Paris for two weeks in June
- taking a lesson [and hanging] with Dutch improvising double bassist Wilbert de Joode for an afternoon in whilst in Amsterdam
- attending analysis classes with French composer Jean-Luc Herve in Paris (which was also helpful for learning French)
- making soundtracks to accompany experimental short films made by Tina Stefanou
- seeing 'Mokumentary of a Contemporary Saviour' by Wim Vanderkeybus in Paris
- watching Hakon Thelin (double bassist from Oslo) perform in Finland with his trio Poing
- discovering that the double bass is my soul-mate
- learning to sail in Croatia
- alleviating myself of RSI (repetitive stress injury) after suffering for the better part of three years
Now I'll be based in Sydney for a while, doing some studies and working on a bunch of projects including recording an album in October with three of my favourite musicians.
For the last two weeks I had the privilege of writing a piece for 15 astounding musicians from around Australia who came together to tutor students who were attending Australian Youth Orchestra Music Camp in Adelaide. Myself and three other composers had daily mentor-ship with Australian composer Gerard Brophy. I had to write a 10 minute piece and have the score and parts ready for rehearsal within a week, so needless to say it was a pretty hectic! With Max McBride conducting musicians from the SSO, TSO, MSO, Orchestra Victoria, Malmö Opera and a bunch more, we were in great hands. It was premiered at Elder Hall in Adelaide on January 20th.
Here is a new tune that I wrote and produced alongside Tina Stefanou under the name 'Logos' (λόγος) that we wrote and recorded whilst living in Istanbul. The tracks includes the brilliant musicians Constantine Stefanou, Bünyamin Olguncan and Baran Volkan Kaya and was mixed/mastered by Magnus Lindberg .
Tomorrow I'm heading off to Istanbul to prepare for an 11-hour performance that will be taking place on December 22 at Salt Museum in Galata. It's an endurance piece with myself on bass and percussion and Tina Stefanou on vocals.
An interpretation exploring the nature of how intimacy and distance interact, how sound and music act as currencies, and how the medium of exchange between two improvisational actors replicates a long-term relationship.'
Here is some more info:
Next Saturday the 19th I'll be performing some new works with The Music Box Project at Eastside Arts in Paddington alongside a performance of Steve Reich's 'Drumming' by Splash Percussion.
Fortune by L O G O S is an album that features a collection of tracks recorded over the last several years from the post-Planet Love Sound era (a band I used to be in with Tina Stefanou and Cristo Kollias).
On July 16 'Blue House' featured a bunch of great artists and musicians including as Chris Horder, Samuel Shephard, Mia Lethbridge, Tina Stefanou, Asta Moon, Elizabeth Jigalin, and Ollie McGill. I performed an improvised set with Ollie and exhibited an electroacoustic work called 'All Things Must Fall Into Ruin'.
I created these 'miniatures' for the three pillars of Semi Permanent Creative Festival in Sydney.
Istanbul-based musician and darbuka virtuoso Raquy Danziger released her new album 'Monkey Mind'. I recorded, mixed and played bass on this really interesting project. It was recorded over a few sessions at the Darbuka Ofis in downtown Istanbul and mixed at my home studio in nearby Tophane. It features master Darbuka player, Bunyamin Olguncan as well some beautiful works on kemenche, baglama, kanun and oud.