Composer and guitarist Michelle Nelson Isolation Suite on his new album The flowers are still blooming, touches me (puns, as always, absolutely wanted) – written during Melbourne’s first lockdown, this still feels like a proper soundtrack for our sixth. Quietude, featured on this month’s playlists has a sweet, warm melancholy about it expertly performed by Nelson herself. Hurly burly by Matthew Orlovich quickly pulls us out of our introversion, however keeping HD Duo on his toes with quick, rhythmic and appropriately named movements, catchy.
For a longer listening experience I would recommend Thermocline by Vazesh, a perfectly fluid improvisation named after the layer of fluid in which the temperature changes the most drastically. Investing the time to sink into this room reveals the great depths of each player’s talent as the texture continually changes to highlight each musician in turn. Another piece that revels in impressive nuances, controlled transition, and stunning performers is that of Bree van Reyk. sneaking among the endless nets – a room I highly recommend with headphones, a cup of tea and the Melbourne winter rain. Van Reyk evokes an immediate sense of space and awakens the ears to the slightest movements and words of harpist Marshall McGuire and recorder Genevieve Lacey.
Another piece that requires listening to include We too, roar by Reuben Lewis, Tariro Mavondo and Peter Knight – the layers of electronic and acoustic sounds seemingly elicited by Mavondo’s storytelling are awe-inspiring and live up to the power of his text.
Emma Jayakumar’s Bell birds starting from delicate nothings before becoming vital gestures expertly articulated by the Darlington Quartet. Likewise, Ross Edwards String Quartet No.4 ‘Ridley Gold’ receives a heartfelt performance from the Australian String Quartet reminding me of propellers as each melodic line or chord coils on itself and merges.
Other favorites include new tracks from Katia Beaugeais’ new album. Breath by breath: Straumur by Rosalind Page, and the title track by Beaugeais itself – both present the expressive potential of the saxophone in different ways. Halcyon has published its Waves II EP on Spotify and with it the glorious King Ludwig’s swans written by Dan Walker and performed by Sirens. And finally, there is a wonderful sweetness in Vanessa Perica Spaccanapoli to which I keep coming back, every time it makes you breathe deeply and smile.
Hope you enjoy listening to Aussie Art Music playlist this month, you should definitely dig deeper into the different artists, composers and albums featured here! But, if you’re looking more to listen, the entire Australian Art Music Archive has also been updated on Spotify (now over 75 hours of music!).
Join me next month to explore analog and digital.