Sideband began as a recording project, but it has now evolved into a fully-fledged composer-performer ensemble. This album, entitled Sideband, is the collective’s first and features chamber works from founding members Tristan Coelho, Brad Gill and Peter McNamara, as well as composers Chris Williams and Bozidar Kos.The core Sideband ensemble featured in many of these tracks (alongside others) is Alicia Crossley (recorder), Nicole Thomson (soprano) and founding member Brad Gill (percussion). The tracks draw on an array of inspiration sources, from Japanese Haiku poetry to dust storms and electronic music.
In Modulations (Kos, 1974) the flute is manipulated through live electronics (in this rendition Max/MSP is used in place of live electronics). Duncan’s performance is hauntingly beautiful as the work explores the overtone series of her instrument.
McNamara’s Voltage (2010), written for a small percussion setup, incorporates influences of electronic music, particularly complex cross rhythms and forces a high level of virtuosity. Even with a limited number of percussion instruments at her disposal, Claire Edwardes performance draws the listener in as it becomes more complex and nuanced.
Crossley’s performance in As the Dust Settles by Coelho demonstrates why she is one of Australia’s leading recorder players as she superbly transverses the bass recorder, coaxing a vast range of tone colours from the instrument.
Pushing the limits
In Cadenza II McNamara pushes the cellist’s technical limits, writing independent parts for both hands, often bowing vs pizzicato, creating the effect of two performers. A particularly gratifying work to listen to, the gradual build in intensity drives the performer and with them the audience, to the conclusion. This recording is intense, interesting and extremely enjoyable, worthy of any contemporary classical music collection.