1: ATEm mauricio kagel
Atem is about how we age, particularly the indignities and frustrations that may come from this. The trombonist, in this case, is going about his practice routine - ever searching for the perfect sound, yet constantly frustrated in his failure to achieve it.
Atem is scored for a solo wind musician - though Kagel requires them to play with a variety of instruments and mutes, decisions which are left entirely to the performer.
In this performance, Ossicle Duo have chosen to have a second performer cleaning a wind instrument live, which will be amplified for all the interesting and unusual sounds that makes. Other renditions of the piece use pre-recorded tapes to play back these sounds, but our decision sprung from the opportunity to have a visual and audible window into the secondary part of Benjamin’s character - the obsessive instrument cleaner who can never quite make their instrument as pristine as they might like. These sounds are picked up through overhead and contact microphones, so that they are amplified beyond their usual subtlety.
2: l’art Bruit mauricio kagel
‘The Art of Noises’ is a Solo for two. The percussionist (Hamish) conducts a series of sonic experiments, and is helped out by a slightly unruly, but very devoted assistant (Benjamin). The assistant’s role is to eliminate the usual hindrances to a solo percussion piece, at times performing the duties of instrument stands, instrument trays, sometimes music stand, as well as preparing the instruments for the percussionist to find around the space. Sometimes, Ben gets a bit distracted, but for the most part he is there to serve Hamish in all the tasks that usually fall in the way of a percussionist getting the job done.
Note from Hamish: Benjamin has gone above and beyond his role as ‘occasionally unruly assistant’ and built all of the wooden trays and several of the instruments for this performance. What a champ!
3: untitled three-part construction - michelle lou
Guest percussionist - Kaylie Melville
untitled three part construction calls for a series of unconventional instruments, alongside (usually) a piano accordion. Ossicle have substituted the accordion for a trombone, and Benjamin has arranged this version to replicate the different sounds called for by the composer. The score is graphic in nature, though some musical events require precise synchronisation.
The tape machines proved to be extremely difficult to find! We had to order them off eBay in the U.S.A, but when they arrived, they didn’t work properly. Fortunately we were able to find a repairer, Jorge Alvarez, who kindly did a rush job to get them back in working order in time.
Benjamin also purpose built the tabletop from floorboards, created the ratchet spinners, soldered the vibrating gadgets together, found dog training clickers, sourced the surface transducer speakers, and the guitar slides! Who says music doesn’t teach you life skills!
Ossicle duo would like to thank the following people and organisations for their contributions. you have made this concert possible and we are very grateful for your help!
Melbourne Recital Centre
PBS 106.7FM and Ian Parsons
3MBS 103.5FM and Tim Hannah