Terra Australis Incognita. The smallest continent. The largest island. The land down under. The lucky country. The fatal shore. The population of metropolitan New York spread around the edges of a land mass larger than the continental United States. Locus of the world's oldest surviving culture and the youngest.
I believe this recording paints, perhaps for the first time, a portrait of an important new generation of Australian composers. They are forging a tradition of experimental music long present elsewhere but only now emerging in Australia, though latent in the work of Percy Grainger (1882-1961) and perhaps a few others. They eschew traditional European instrumental and vocal resources and techniques, and they work principally outside academic institutions. Their music derives, for the most part, from direct experience with and response to their physical surroundings. Some of the sound material is drawn directly from the environment. Much of the music is based on drones or slowly shifting tonal content which suggest something of the vast drama of the land ("Journeys" and "Cello Chi"), though some is extremely active ("Fantasie"). Settings move from the pastoral ("Three Inverse Genera", recorded in a barn in rural Victoria) to the urban ("Genesis", recorded in a Melbourne parking structure).
While each piece is imbued with a strong individual personality, these composers as a group speak with a definite Australian character, a national stamp, an "Austral Voice".
Reviews"Never less than fascinating and most of the time quite magically lovely." - The Wire