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Canberra Today 21°/24° | Tuesday, February 27, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Sonic innovation celebrated at the 15th SoundOut festival

Finale, Soundout 2024. Photo: Helen Musa

Music / 15th SoundOut festival, ANU Drill Hall Gallery. Reviewed by HELEN MUSA.

Music requiring acute listening and contemplation was centre-stage over the weekend at the 15th SoundOut festival, held at the ANU Drill Hall Gallery.

Directed by Canberra sax and clarinet player, Richard Johnson, the festival involved over 26 artists from Australia, France and China performing more than 22 sets. It attracted packed out audiences on Saturday night, and workshop participants on weekend mornings.

I attended the final sessions of the event on Sunday, also well-patronised.

First up, I caught the final moments of a subtle, dark work involving Gwennaëlle Roulleau, Guylaine Cosseron, Jodie Rottle, Maria Moles and Melanie-Louise Eden, a Sydney percussionist.

Next, Lawrence Pike took to the stage. Appearing as a walking musical instrument draped in percussive objects, Pike performed a dramatic but nonetheless light-hearted piece in which he used all parts of his drum-kit, as well as rattles, bells and a sound box, to create a mischievously teasing work with a sense of excitement.

Next up was a complete change of mood. We saw a strong musical interplay between acoustic guitarist, Jamie Lambert from Canberra, and French electric guitarist, Francois Mathers, while pianist Elizabeth Jigalin and percussionist-vocalist, Bonnie Stewart, reached inside the piano to produce their effects, Jigalin sprinkling the keyboard with sound-producing detritus, bashing the right pedal and at one point ripping duct tape off the much-put-upon Beckstein. This dramatic work rose to  an explosive conclusion, blended by electronics  from Diemo Schwarz from France.

The cleverly-planned finale saw bassist Marl Cauvin from Portland NSW exploiting every aspect of his instrument, eliciting low, bowed subterranean grunts and whines, often seeming to talk to his bass but at other times attacking it. Sometimes he accompanied the bass with a solo tape recording. Once, he nearly tricked the audience with a very long pause.

Suddenly, Cauvin’s music was punctuated by the sounds of doors and chairs being slammed by planted members of the audience, who started to take over the stage, one throwing something  like carrots at the player.

Undeterred, he weathered the onslaught until the stage was full of what turned out to be the promised SoundOut Collective ensemble, which brought another successful SoundOut to its conclusion.

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Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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