Magnetic violinist Kyla Matsuura-Miller and her quartet kick off Series Six with American minimalist icon Steve Reich’s landmark work ‘Different Trains.’ Composed in 1988 for string quartet and tape, the piece uses recorded speech to create melodic lines, “The basic idea is that carefully chosen speech recordings generate the musical materials for musical instruments,” Reich writes. An extended meditation on the Holocaust, the piece came from the composer’s childhood memory of travelling on trains back and forth between LA and New York, and his adult reflection that had he been a child in Europe in the 1940s his fate may have been very different, “As a Jew, I would have had to ride on very different trains.”
Following ‘Different Trains’ the quartet skip back 900 years and dive into the otherworldly drone-based music of 12th Century German composer, philosopher and mystic Hildegard von Bingen. Born in 1098 Hildegard was educated at a local Benedictine monastery. From a young age she experienced visions, and was celebrated during her lifetime as a prophetess. She wrote widely—on topics including medicine and science—and was also a prolific poet and composer. Her musical legacy—which includes almost 80 works—is one of the largest of any medieval composer.
Steve Reich // Different Trains
Hildegard von Bingen // Instrumental Piece I
Hildegard von Bingen // Instrumental Dance II
Hildegard von Bingen // O Virtus Sapiente
Kyla Matsuura-Miller // Violin
Cameron Jamieson // Violin
Henry Justo // Viola
Steph Arnold // Cello
Babicka is an endearing term for grandmother in Czechslovakia, it’s also the name of one of Australia’s fondest selectors.
Bradley has experienced the whole gamut of the scene. From dancer to DJ, record store owner to record label curator and producer, as well as holding down a five year weekly residency at famed Australian nightspot, Sugar.
His musical style and knowledge traverses the unknown and unwanted to carefully considered and classic, which has resulted in slots at legendary venues such as Panorama Bar as well as integral warm-ups for myriad artists that many would consider a bucket-list to hear.
Babicka is a real gem of Australian dance music culture and well worth your body and time whenever you need it most.
In a first for Play On, classical percussionist Thea Rossen, collaborator Ben Opie, and her ensemble, the Ad Lib Collective, join forces with Melbourne dance music royalty Sleep D for a world premiere live improvised collaboration.
To begin, Rossen and her group present a program for mixed ensemble specially curated to take advantage of the unique concrete resonance and long natural reverb of the underground car park. Featuring works by Andy Akiho and the breathtaking ‘Ming Qi’ by beloved Melbourne composer Liza Lim, the program is unified by the haunting and fragile ‘Postludes’ for bowed vibraphone by contemporary American composer Elliot Cole.
Following this program, Sleep D join the group on stage for a 15-minute live improvised collaboration before taking over and going on a deep electronic journey, performing a 1.5hr dance set using sounds and ideas developed in and departed from the collaboration.
Elliot Cole // 'Postludes' Nos 5, 6, 7, and 8
Hildegard von Bingen // 'O Viridissima Virga'
Elliot Cole // 'Flowerpot music'
Liza Lim // 'Ming Qi'
Andy Akiho // 'Karakurenai'
Thea Rossen // Percussion and leader
Hamish Upton // Percussion
Jesse Deane // Saxophone/Percussion
Ben Opie (Guest) // Oboe/Percussion
Zela Papageorgiou (Guest) // Percussion
From the southern fringe of Melbourne, Sleep D are quickly establishing themselves as the axis of the Australian electronic subterranean. The duo send dancers around the bend with their weekly DJ sets and compelling live performances that have transposed riverside amphitheatres, Boiler Room, Berlin Atonal, Panorama Bar, Inner Varnika and Golden Plains Festival. Founding the coveted Butter Sessions imprint, the best bits of these cerebral showcases have been soldered down into multiple EPs, as well as an ambient album on Analogue Attic.
Not only a vehicle for their DIY productions, Sleep D also use the Butter Sessions platform to prop up their peers, releasing all quality tangents of outsider house, squelching funk, hard techno and smoked out dub from locals including Tuff Sherm, Booshank, Dan White and Cale Sexton. Teaming up with Sex Tags co-creator DJ Fett Burger and Vancouver’s Jayda G on the Velvet Vortex release, the label crew now extends continents. Always at the coalface of discovery, they’ve recently launched Domestic Documents in collaboration with Noise In My Head – a series of compilations surveying independent artists who are living and producing electronic abstractions in Australia
For this special program Chinese / Australian Guzheng player Mindy Meng Wang presents traditional Chinese folk songs and her own compositions and improvisations for Guzheng and electronics – celebrating Chinese classical music, and highlighting the versatility and beauty of her 2,500 year old instrument. Joined by the multi-talented Carolyn Schofield (aka Fia Fiell) on synthesisers, and the trumpeter, composer and sound artist Peter Knight, this is a bold new perspective on classical meets electronic at Play On.
The Guzheng—also known as the Chinese zither—is a plucked string instrument which originated in China. Meng Wang began her Guzheng studies with leading masters in China at the age of seven, and first performed in public at age 10. Today her musical practice is influenced by both Chinese classical music and Western contemporary music, and her compositions embody a rich and expressive sound world which bridges the ancient and the contemporary.
Mindy Meng Wang // Compositions and improvisations for Guzheng and electronics
Mindy Meng Wang // Guzheng
Peter Knight // Trumpet and electronics
Carolyn Schofield // Synthesisers
To close Series Six, Adriana steps up to the decks. As the host of PBS 106.7FM’s popular Opalakia show she is familiar with traversing both traditional and contemporary sounds from different parts of the world.
With an ear for the unexpected, and a passion for discovering new sounds and bringing them to the airwaves and weaving them into her DJ sets, Adriana’s set is guaranteed to create high octane dance floor magic. Exploring global sounds, boogie, disco and everything in between, Adriana feels every single beat she is playing. Come and see for yourself.