Still a heartbeat in new music, says Devenish

FRESH of winning the WA category of the national 2016 Art Music Awards, Louise Devenish will be pairing up with sonic artist James Hullick at the State Theatre Centre on August 23.

The second instalment of Tura New Music’s Scale Variable chamber music series, Scattered Experiments is a double bill of experimental percussion, visual and electronic arts.

Devenish, who’s head of percussion at UWA, will be presenting new works by Hullick, Kate Moore and fellow Decibel New Music member Cat Hope.

It marks the third in a series of solo projects where Devenish has collaborated with Australian composers.

• Louise Devenish feels the beats at the last Scale Variable concert in June. Photo by Bohdan Warchomij

• Louise Devenish feels the beats at the last Scale Variable concert in June. Photo by Bohdan Warchomij

“Most traditional Western music is by established — and yes — usually dead, composers,” she says.

“I wanted to show that there’s really great work being made right now by composers here in WA.”

Devenish says collaborating with composers influences her own performance.

“[The] conversations are really fascinating and can really change how you read a piece. In percussion, the notation isn’t standardised like other music. When a piece is written for a violin, you know basically how it should sound. Whereas percussion could encompass all different kinds of instruments.”

Experimental percussion is right at the edges of percussive music, Devenish explains.

“It’s about seeing how far we can stretch it, going all the way to the edge to discover something new and exciting.”

Scattered Experiments is as much a visual performance as it is about music. Hullick’s piece Scatterman, described as a fusion of music theatre, electronics, voice and sonic art, is an exploration of a man in his 40s going through relationship break-up psychosis.

For his composition for Devenish, Hullick researched animation and video design.

“Research is a main part of the creative process in contemporary percussive music,” says Devenish.

“Without knowing the Australian roots of the art form, the journey, you won’t know what makes your piece different.”


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