Contribution to the Common Madness - Alex Arsov's new album


My colleague Alex Arsov, from Soundbytes Magazine (soundbytesmag.net) has just released an album under the name of “Unhappy,” called “Contribution to the Common Madness.”  It started out, I think, as a straight pop album, and then, because of the massive exposure to all the new technology pouring forth in an endless wave, which all of us at Soundbytes are exposed to, it got weird.  And colourful, and gorgeous.  I hear each track of the album as consisting of two layers – one is the straight pop underlay, which varies in style, mood and tempo from track to track; and then there is overlay, which consists of all sorts of electronic and acoustic (mostly percussive) sounds, some of which may or may not be synced to the beat.  The result is a very rich soundscape that rewards listening on several levels.  Listened to closely, all sorts of details in the arranging are evident – this album was put together with infinite patience, it seems, and a great ear for timbral balances.  The mixing is transparent, and luscious.  On his website (http://unhappy-music.net/), Alex says that he was inspired by the loose and colourful arrangements of early prog rock.  For myself, I hear some of that influence, but I hear more of the influence of, as said above, that onslaught of the latest technology we’re all subjected to from the software industry.  With all those new tools available, and all the interesting sounds they make, it becomes near impossible to resist the temptation to use them.  In Alex’s case, he uses them beautifully.  Have a listen on YouTube: https://youtu.be/RlAupS9YHz0 and if you like what you hear, go to his website and buy the CD for 10 Euro.  Alex, with his new performing moniker of Unhappy, reflects the angst so many of us are feeling at the current political situation.  But in making his “Contribution to the Common Madness,” he has actually produced a music of quite uncommon beauty.


Percy Grainger's Free Music - a 15 year old paper made more easily available

Way back in 2004, I wrote a paper on the Free Music experiments of Percy Grainger and Burnett Cross.  There has been renewed interest in this work of Grainger's recently, and some friends pointed out that my paper was pretty much unavailable.  So I'm now making it available - click HERE to download it: http://www.warrenburt.com/storage/Grainger_ACMA_2004_Complete.pdf.

In the paper. I refer to a compilation I made of what were the  Free Music recordings available to me at the time.  I have a copy of this compilation still, and if any one is interested in seeing this collection, just write to me c/o this website, and I'll endeavour to make the collection available to you.


IN-Formalism at the Casula Powerhouse, Sydney 18 May - 30 June

My piece "Blue Bill: Five Movements in NJNET Tunings for Strings and Others in Memoriam John Dunn" is part of a rather large survey show being put on by SNO (Sydney Non-Objective) at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, 1 Powerhouse Road, Casula, NSW 2171 from now until 30 June.  Here's the poster, which contains the cast list - a who's who of people who occasionally exhibit abstractivist tendencies in Australia.

So if you're in Sydney before the end of June, check it out.  It looks like a nice collection of folks. 


Decibel plays WB at MRC!

On Friday, May 3, 2019, as part of the Metropolis New Music Festival, at the Melbourne Recital Centre, the new music group Decibel gave a concert of music they've commissioned from Victorian composers over the past 10 years.  https://www.melbournerecital.com.au/events/2019/10-from-10-melbourne-edition/ As part of this event, they played my piece from 2009, "Another Noisy Lullaby," for instruments and prerecorded soundtracks.  ABC Classic FM was there, and recorded it, and you can hear the whole concert at https://www.abc.net.au/classic/evenings/11059534?fbclid.  My piece is the first on the program, but you should listen to the whole thing, which also includes pieces by Sam Dunscombe, Brigid Burke, Cat Hope, Marco Fusinato, James Rushford, Carmen Chan Schoenborn, and Thembi Soddell.  Many thanks to Cat Hope, Lindsay Vickery, Louise Devenish, Stuart James, Aaron Wyatt and Tristen Parr for a wonderful performance and for, in fact, reviving the work all these years later.  I enjoyed hearing the work again, after all this time.


Two new reviews in Soundbytes, and an article in Xenharmonikon

Kraig Grady and Terumi Narushima are reviving Xenharmonikon, an informal journal of microtonality, now on the web.  I have an article in it, which describes Antonio Tuzzi's and Andrew Belt's modules for making microtonal control possible in the free VCV Rack environment.  You can download the article HERE. https://www.xenharmonikon.org/2019/04/28/virtual-analog-microtonality-in-vcv-rack/

Also, in the current issue of soundbytesmag.net, I have 2 articles, reviewing three new softwares.

First, in Music for Tablets, there is a review of Beatformer, a sound-shaping program, and Fingerlab's SK-51, an emulation of the old Casio SK1 and SK5 microsamplers from the 80s.


Then there's a review of Pendle Poucher's new amazing sample set, Cloud Viola 2.  The central portion of this instrument is the sound of a viola bowed by 10 meters of green garden twine.  Quite a wonderfully rough sound, that is further roughened by granulation and extensive reverberation.  It has to be heard to be believed.  Here's my review: