Cut Paste Play – new musical territories in low-stakes spaces

by | Mar 26, 2024 | Ambassador thoughts, Festivals, Premiere

Cut Paste Play Festival

23-24 March 2024, presented by the music box project, Church Street Studios, Camperdown, 

Sydney audiences were treated to an mind-bending weekend of new music in the Cut Paste Play festival at Church Street Studios presented by the music box project. With sheer commitment, passion and energy, the festival paid homage to the greats while celebrating the totally new, in an atmosphere of play and unleashed creativity. 

The music box project is a collective of musicians presenting creative, community driven and collaborative musical experiences. Working together for nine years they consist of Elizabeth Jigalin, Jane Aubourg, Joseph Lisk, Naomi Johnson and Peter Leung. 

1 festival orchestra sebastian schmid

In 2020, the music box project was awarded the APRA AMCOS/AMC Art Music Award for ‘Excellence in Experimental Music’ for their project Shallow Listening (2019) deemed by panelists as ‘a concert experience demonstrating ability to facilitate, curate and perform experimental music at the highest level.’ This energetic, two-day festival featured a heterogeneous lineup of musicians and artists from across Australia and abroad. 

On entering Church Street Studios audiences were immersed in another world – invited to wear headphones and 3D glasses and leave the street behind. In an installation by Isabella Rahme, they were encouraged to recalibrate their vision and their hearing, two essential ingredients for the festival upstairs

Nine years ago the music box project created In 4 a reflection of In C by Terry Riley. At Cut Paste Play the piece, made up of 40 cells of music from 40 composers around the world, was played by a Festival Orchestra made up of artists performing over the weekend. That same Festival Orchestra performed STICKY, made up of notes of music contributed by audience members over the weekend.  

The music box project collective likes to create ‘low-stakes spaces’ for people to listen to music that explores new territory.

They pride themselves on the values of play, collaboration, community and exploration. Cut Paste Play festival exemplified that philosophy and took it into an exciting new dimension.

The festival encouraged myriad forms of sound exploration – the gap in between sounds, the resonance of sounds, the way sounds interact with life, instruments old and new, instruments hand-made and made up.

Old tech and new tech combined, acoustic met electronic, improvisation met composition. Sounds could come from anywhere and be structured around any concept. Rice on a bass drum skin, an embroidery machine, an avocado squashed next to a microphone, piano strings, radios, humming, notes read aloud from the audience. Soundscapes mixed with intricate rhythms, pushing the boundaries of what ‘normal’ instruments can do.

6 clocks clouds cactuscan

Exuberant, energetic, and above all playful, the festival placed young emerging artists next to established masters of new music. 

An astonishing 13 concert performances were broken up by interludes, talks or small segments that made the entire single festival stage move smoothly from one piece to another. In the intimate setting of the quirky Church Street Studios the audience entered the game. At many points they were asked to contribute, most effectively in the Clocked Out performance that asked them to participate by crackling and popping pieces of bubble wrap. 

Several premiere works were featured, including Anna Koch premiering a new work by Australian, Austrian-based composer Tamara Friebel alongside works by Dylan Lardelli (NZ), Petra Stump-Linshalm (AUT) and a work by Anna herself.

Day one highlight was Hinano Fujisaki, Eora/Sydney based saxophonist, improviser and composer who performed from her debut EP, Home Is, drawing inspiration from a wide range of music, from Japanese folk songs to Hermeto Pascoal to the Miles Davis album ‘Live-Evil’.⁠

Day two highlight was the legendary Clocked Out, who for 20 years have created and produced innovative music, interarts, and intercultural events that extend experimental traditions in engaging and thought-provoking ways. Drawing on a wide variety of influences from experimental, jazz, and world music, Clocked Out is a delight to experience live. Erik Griswold and Vanessa Tomlinson crafted their trademark ‘warped grooves and evocative soundscapes’ using prepared piano, percussion, found objects, organic objects and recent COVID-induced additions of electronics. 

Along the way the impressive festival line up included Sumn Conduit (Ben Carey & Sonya Holowell), Clocks and Clouds (Kraig Grady and Terumi Narushima), Laura Chislett and Satsuki Odamura, Anna Koch, Hamed Sadeghi, Amanda Cole, Anita Johnson, Ossicle Duo (Benjamin Anderson and Hamish Upton). 

Cut Paste Play celebrated what music can be, the open horizons it can take you to, and some indications of where it is headed into the future. There’s talk of it being bi-annual – one for the diary in 2026.

 

Calendar of Events

M Mon

T Tue

W Wed

T Thu

F Fri

S Sat

S Sun

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1 event,

1 event,

1 event,

1 event,

1 event,

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Utzon Music | JACK Quartet

5 events,

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Reuben Tsang | in recital

1 event,

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Reuben Tsang | in recital

0 events,

1 event,

2 events,

3 events,

3 events,

5 events,

1 event,

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Ensemble 642 | The Lyre of Orpheus

3 events,

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Mostly Mozart | Glass Harmonica

1 event,

2 events,

6 events,

10 events,

12 events,

Featured -

Apeiron Baroque | Shipwrecked

1 event,

0 events,

1 event,

0 events,

2 events,

4 events,

Featured -

Ensemble Offspring | Avant Gardens I

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Choristry | Renaissance Gems

5 events,

Featured -

Ensemble Offspring | Avant Gardens I

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

2 events,

2 events,

Featured -

Salut! Baroque | The Influencers

3 events,

6 events,

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Salut! Baroque | The Influencers

About The Author

Lliane Clarke

Lliane is a writer, editor, publisher, director/producer and communications professional with a passion for the creative arts. She created and has directed the writing and performance project Voices of Women Incorporated since 2018. Currently Communications Executive at NIDA, she has also been the General Manager of the New Music Network, Communications Manager for regional choral and creative organisation Moorambilla Voices, and President of award-winning choir Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, where she continues to enjoy singing as a Soprano.

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