Fragmented Frequencies has been thinking about musical instruments of late. It seems there’s a whole bunch of them that have been invented over the years. They have been distributed widely and that’s what everyone uses to make their music. Of course there are subtle differences in how people do it, tending to follow along genre lines, yet blurring the edges to appear a little different from the next guy/girl/monkey, but ultimately you can’t deny a strong link between Steve Vai, Thurston Moore or even John Fahey. Fragmented Frequencies question is simple: When did the invention and innovation stop?
Many of us are waiting for this fully formed amazing and beautiful music to fall from the sky and tear our faces off, but how likely is this if everyone’s just using bass, guitar and drums with a lead singer with great tattoos that squeals occasionally?
To answer Fragmented Frequencies first Dorothy Dixer, the innovation hasn’t stopped, it’s been alive and well in experimental music for years. Of course experimental music has it’s own difficulties and limitations, mostly in terms of a form and structure that seem to be too rigorously adhered to, particularly in relation to improvised music. Yet it also appears to be the one place where something new, something earth shattering could appear, where market forces aren’t going to destroy something before it’s began.
Found Sound: The experimental instrument project is a series of musical and sound events curated to feature new experimental instruments designed and built by Australian artists and musicians. They’re up to their third performance, and video excerpts from the previous 2 can be seen at www.foundsoundproject.blogspot.com/ and they’re pretty damn interesting. March 18 sees Queensland based Ross Manning who does curious things with light, has created some kind of electronic Kalimba skipping rope and lists some of the tools of his trade as upside down cake, dinosaurs, junk assembly and repurposed old technology, teaming up for the first time with iconic Melbourne instrument builder and composer Rod Cooper. Cooper makes incredible instruments with stupid names that look terrifying and wonderful at the same time, like evil bbq’s on steroids or impossible and wonderful wind instruments. He’s also an incredibly accomplished improvisor. It’s on at Tape Projects 1/ 81 Bouverie St Carlton from 7.30pm on Wed 18th of March. Only $5.
The 15th of April sees Dylan Martorell and Nathan Gray teaming up with David Nelson in the same series. Martorell and Gray are better known as Snawklor, a local experimental duo who have continued to do strange and wonderful things with electronics for the last 10 odd years. Their music doesn’t conform to electronic music conventions, seemingly owing more to the natural world than the insides of a computer. It’s an approach that creates an incredibly immersive alien world that is sometimes terrifying yet also quite beguiling. It’s the type of music that you experience and then at the end have no idea how it was all done, like a massive trick has been played on your senses. They’ve just released a new download only album culled from live shows, including outdoor performances (last one was at the bat colony) and art shows (both are accomplished visual artists). Also they’ve elected to allow free downloads for two previous self released albums They Live/ Moths Dissolving, which they constructed via live processing in 2005 and Dived in a Microphone (2004), their last album constructed from samples. You can find all this goodness on their site at http://www.snawklor.blogspot.com/