Friday, March 23, 2012

Shifting already!

Well, after just two posts, this blog is already shifting. So if you've made bookmarks and sent out links to all your friends and family and colleagues and neighbours and business partners and life partners, you're now going to have to tell them that the Sound Barrier blog is now being moved to the show's program page on the PBS website, which would have made so much more sense had I thought of it in the first instant! So here it is - the new website for The Sound Barrier program and blog.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Live music this week on The Sound Barrier sampler!

If you like your music to be local, you can't get much more local than a performer live in the studio. And this weekend, on the sampler edition of The Sound Barrier, we have not one but two of them. Together, Julian Day and Luke Jaaniste are LOUD+SOFT, and it is a tremendous treat to have each of these very talented and original Australian composers performing some of their own work at PBS, live on The Sound Barrier.

Julian's work makes amazing use of ambient drones - music that grabs and intensifies the unique sounds of different harmonies and tonalities. It's a kind of maximalist minimalism - music that takes a little and turns it into a lot. His sound installations have been produced around the world, some drawing on the sounds of large numbers of single instruments - such as works for multiple keyboards, or for a choir of flutes, while others draw out the multiple layers of just a few notes, a few chords, a few clusters of sound, from a baby keyboard.

Luke's work does fascinating things through exploring the inner language and logic of music - whether it be the deconstruction of a Monteverdi opera, or the reconstruction of different beats and rhythms that are phased in and out of one another and transformed into new things. He pulls things apart, shows you what they're made of, and makes you part of their structure. It's like experiencing music from the inside.

Both Julian and Luke will be performing solo works live in this very special preview of The Sound Barrier, which I will be presenting this weekend on New Noise: the PBS FM time-slot devoted to new program ideas. You can hear the show 2 AM - 6 AM on Sunday morning, 25 March (Melbourne time), either on 106.7 FM if you are listening locally, or on the PBS website, no matter where you are.  

Julian and Luke will be performing during the first half hour of the show.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The countdown begins

Melbourne's phenomenally good community radio station - 3 PBS FM (106.7 on the local FM dial, or you can also always listen on-line, either live or later to the archives, no matter where you are) - provides a unique means for people everywhere to listen to music that none of the commercial stations take an interest in. It's music presented entirely by volunteers who love what they do, for audiences who love to listen to it.

So naturally I have been thrilled to have been offered the opportunity to present a new regular show on PBS, commencing 9 April 2012, focussing on new and experimental music. The show will be called The Sound Barrier and it will go live to air fortnightly on Monday mornings, 2 AM - 6 AM Melbourne time. It will follow immediately on from The Art of Bleep, a program that focusses particularly on electronic and experimental music, presented midnight - 2 AM, every Monday morning on PBS.

My idea at this stage is to present music over four different, but obviously overlapping, categories:
  • The icons of innovation: music of the great musical experimenters, such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Edgard Varèse and Iannis Xenakis
  • Melbourne's musical underbelly: works from contemporary musicians and sound artists who are part of the rich, fertile experimental music scene in Melbourne - Paul Kidney Experience, Monolith, Undecisive God, Ernie Althoff are just some of the wealth of artists you can expect to hear
  • Music deconstructed and reconstructed: musicians everywhere who do interesting and innovative things in redefining how we understand and listen to music. William Basinski to Merzbow, and everything in between.
  • Genre benders: musicians who grab a genre and take it to new places, bending its boundaries and creating something new. Expect to hear anything from John Zorn to Dissecting Table.

It would be more than just a little ironic if, in presenting a show of music that breaks conventional sound barriers, I was to create new ones by even beginning to pretend that new and experimental music can fit neatly into any of these categories. They will merge and expand and contract all the time. But hopefully this list gives you a bit of an idea of the enormous range of music you can expect to hear on The Sound Barrier.

Where possible, the show may even include, from time to time, the occasional live performance in the studio.

I will be presenting a special sampler of The Sound Barrier on PBS's regular slot for new program ideas, New Noise, this coming Sunday morning, 25 March 2012, from 2AM - 6AM (Melbourne time). If you have a chance to listen in, it will give you a bit of an idea of what I have in mind for the new show and what you can expect to hear when it commences on 9 April.

This blog is a place where I - and hopefully you, too - will discuss the music that is presented on The Sound Barrier. It will provide information about the music, the artists, the composers. Importantly, it will provide you with an opportunity to be involved in the shaping of the show, through providing comments and feedback and ideas here on the blog.

I hope you will follow the blog, listen to The Sound Barrier and join in!