Open Frame 2019 and Marginal Consort | Media Release 15 Apr 2019

Carriageworks and Room40 have announced that the line-up for the 2019 Open Frame festival over two nights, Friday 28 and Saturday 29 June, will feature Japan’s Merzbow, celebrating 40 years of transgressive noise. The program also includes Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley; Canadian minimalist maestro Loscil, performing in Australia for the first time; Vanessa Tomlinson of Clocked Out Duo; ambient master Rafael Anton Irisarri; Brisbane interdiscipilanry artist Sandra Selig; Japan/AU duo Eiko Ishibashi and Joe Talia; and Melbourne electronic artist Fia Fiell.

Legendary Japanese free music unit Marginal Consort will play one night only on Friday 14 June.

Marginal Consort is a legendary Japanese improvisation quartet Kazuo Imai, Kei Shii, Masami Tada and Tomonao Koshikawa. Building on the experimental music traditions of Japan, they create enormous and evolving musical environments during three-hour performances. Their concerts and are entirely site-specific, are held only once a year, and their instruments are purpose-built. Across the three hours Marginal Consort perform the audience can move freely and find their own journey through the sound world created by each of the four performers.

Room40 founder Lawrence English said “To finally have Marginal Consort in Australia is a moment of great pride and anticipation. Their work, which sits right at the nexus of sound, space and improvisation is some of the most compelling and profound exploratory music currently being performed in the world. There’s a special sense of freedom in their performances; a freedom from the constraints of the audience/performer divide and it’s this that allows us, as audience to make out own entirely unique version of their performance. It’s an utterly unique experience each time they perform.”

On Open Frame, English commented that, “Open Frame this year is a project of contrast, aural spectra and dynamics. Merzbow, who this year marks 40 years of pure sonic intensity, is our guest of honour. Working at the peak of his sonic powers his performance promises to completely consume the audience. Likewise, Stephen O’Malley, creates deeply physical drone music that is without compare. Vanessa Tomlinson will be presenting the amazing work from composer Harold Budd titled Lirio, an extended piece for gong and blue light. Sandra Selig also explores minimal audio visual spaces with a new work Two Moons. Joining them are ambient masters Rafael Anton Irisarri, Eiko Ishibashi and Joe Talia, Loscil and Fia Fiell.”

In 2019 Open Frame will welcome some of the world’s most provocative and immersive sound makers:

  • Merzbow (JAPAN) is a Japanese noise project started in 1979 by Masami Akita. Merzbow is best known for a style of harsh, confrontational noise as exemplified on the 1996 release Pulse Demon. Since 1980, Akita has released over 400 recordings and has collaborated with various artists.
  • Stephen O Malley (USA) is a founding member of several groups including Thorr’s Hammer (1993), Burning Witch (1995), Sunn O))) (1998), Khanate (2000), KTL (2005), Nazoranai (2011), ÄÄNIPÄÄ (2011) and others. Wildly prolific, O’Malley’s oeuvre is defined by its remarkable breadth, complexity and multidisciplinary interests. It includes collaborations with a wide range of experimental and «outsider» musicians, artists and composers in various formations, in projects inside and out of concert, exhibition, gallery and studio settings. He was also part of the formative teams which created the Southern Lord (1998) and Ajna Offensive (1995) record labels, and has worked as the art director for the Misanthropy records label (1997-2000) and others. In 2011 he created the Ideologic Organ record label in collaboration with Peter Rehberg / Editions Mego.
  • Vanessa Tomlinson (AUSTRALIA) is an improviser, artist, musician, composer, sound artist and educator, she studied improvisation under the guidance of innovative improvisor George Lewis. She is known for her work in the duo Clocked Out Duo.
  • Sandra Selig (AUSTRALIA) Since her first solo exhibition in Brisbane in 1999, Sandra Selig’s artworks have been a poetic evocation of ideas and phenomena at both quantum and cosmic levels of existence. Her works are often made with commonplace materials such as string, paper, salt, stones, book pages or electric light and sound and has more recently involved elemental forces such as the wind or gravity. Also recently, Sandra’s practice has moved into live sound performance. Often, her minimal use of materials emphasises what is absent. The balance between materials and space is carefully tuned so that what might be ordinarily perceived as emptiness is charged with a curiously calm but tensile energy.
  • Rafael Anton Irisarri (USA) is a New York-based multi-instrumentalist, record producer, mastering engineer and curator. Described by Drowned In Sound (UK) as “one of contemporary ambient music’s most celebrated practitioners,” Irisarri’s music often has a mournful, elegiac quality where ostinato phrases tap into minimalist ideals while atmospheric layers of effects suggests a more cinematic approach. In all, his compositions are deeply emotive and epic, like a symphony recording that’s been rescued from attic entombment after half a century. Irisarri’s works are widely published internationally, made available through respected and influential labels like Ghostly (USA), Morr Music (DE), Room40 (AU), and Umor Rex (MX), among dozen others. His recorded output heavily utilize bowed guitars, piano, strings, synths, field recordings, voices, and electronic instruments, creating dense clouds of blurry, hypnotic sound.
  • Loscil (CANADA) is the electronic/ambient music project of Scott Morgan, from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The name Loscil is taken from the “looping oscillator” function in Csound. Scott Morgan was also the drummer for the Vancouver indie band Destroyer.
  • Fia Fiell (AUSTRALIA) Melbourne electronic musician FIA FIELL, aka CAROLYN SCHOFIELD, combines her profound practical and theoretical chops as a pianist and composer with a most modern and perceptive ear for stretching out the orbit of millennial electronic music constructs. As a live performer, Carolyn plays and processes multiple synths in real time to create hauntingly ethereal, unsettling and other-worldly soundscapes, a sound which formed the basis of her first release, “A Hair, A Heap” on Melbourne label Nice Music in 2016.
  • Eiko Ishibashi & Joe Talia are a Tokyo based electro-acoustic duo performing with flute, piano, analog tape, synthesizers and percussion. Eiko Ishibashi is a Japanese multi-instrumentalist whose work ranges from acclaimed singer-songwriter albums to film scores and improvised music settings. Joe Talia is an Australian drummer/percussionist and electronic musician working in the realm of electro-acoustic composition and performance. Together their work creates a dense harmonic sound world that exists somewhere between avant-garde improvisation and electronic exploration.

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