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Sean Baxter set-up

Audio of the panel discussion from earlier this month is now available on the Archives page, along with audio of Alexander Garsden performance and video of Sean Baxter. Many thanks to Camilla Hannan for the audio recordings. A few photos from the night  have also been added to the 2014-15 gallery/slideshow here.

Alex Garsden is a composer, musician, improviser, and co-curator of the INLAND performance series. He will join us on Thursday night to consider the question What does it mean to be a composer in Australia today?

garsdenHere is a sample of one of his compositions – ‘Faculties (I)’ (2012) for Piano, Vioncello and Clarient (excerpt), performed by the Golden Fur Trio

Sean Baxter is an improvisor who has had a long engagement with avant-garde music in Australia, both as a performer and former curator of the Make It Up Club. Here are his thoughts on the state of Australian composition. See him talk about it live as part of our panel at the next More Talk – What does it mean to be a composer in Australia today?, where he will also give a solo performance.

Australian composer, Kate Neal, will be joining our panel on 13 August to ponder the question ‘What does it mean to be a composer in Australia today?’

Here is some of her work:

What Hath II – Trailer 1 from Troy Herion on Vimeo.

Trailer for What Hath II by composer Kate Neal. What Hath II is a fully notated percussion quartet which explores and abstracts encoded methods of communication. The ensemble uses sound, light, and movement to create patterns derived from binary code, morse code, and light coding. The aural, visual, and physical fuse together into a common language.

Performed by Mobius Percussion Quartet
Video Directed by Troy Herion

More Talk, Less Action is back for a free, one-off event at The Channel (on the side of the Arts Centre, next to Fattos overlooking the Yarra).

Join Clinton Green, Greg Wadley and three artists working closely with contemporary composition – Kate Neal, Sean Baxter and Alexander Garsden – as they explore the question: What does it mean to be a composer in Australia today? We’ll interpret this question on several levels: Philosophically – Where does composition stop and improvisation begin in an age of open-ended and graphical scores? Practically – How are software, new instruments and the Internet impacting how composition is done and what is composed? Career – What challenges do composers face, and what advice would our panel offer a young Australian contemplating life as a composer?

Thursday 13 August 2015 (7:30pm) – free entry
Kate Neal, Sean Baxter, Alexander Garsden
Venue: The Channel, Arts Centre, Melbourne.
Facebook event

Clinton and Greg are pleased to announce a one-off More Talk Less Action event to be held at The Channel, Arts Centre Melbourne, on Thursday 13th August 2015 from 7:30pm. We will be joined by three exciting Australian artists – Sean Baxter, Kate Neal and Alexander Garsden – to explore the question: What does it mean to be a composer in Australia today? The Channel is a community engagement program located at Hamer Hall, conveniently close to transport, Southbank and Fed Square, and right next door to Fattos bar, where we might continue the discussion. Stay tuned to and Facebook for details as the event approaches.Channel

With “Improvisation: How to Win” just round the corner, Clinton went on 3RRR with one of our panellists, noted improviser Adam Simmons, to speak with Jeff Sparrow about what you can expect when you join us at West Space gallery on Thursday 19th Feb 2015.

Due to unforeseeable circumstances, we’ve had to postpone the final More Talk, Less Action of 2014 (which was due to take place on 20 November).

The same event/theme will take place on Thursday 19 February, 2015 at West Space – Facebook event




Everyone who has played improvised music with other people has a story. Whether you have been trained in jazz improvisation, or you prefer to jam rock riffs in the garage with friends, there’s always the guy who plays too loud and blocks everyone out. Doesn’t leave any space for others, doesn’t listen.

Even if you’re a punter rather than a musician (Melbourne has opportunities to hear improvised music most nights of the week, from Bennett’s Lane to the Make It Up Club and everything in between), I bet you’ve got your stories as well about the trumpeter who wouldn’t shut up, the guitarist who soloed for twenty minutes…

Equally, there are the sublime improvisation experiences, where musicians commune wordlessly and create new and unrepeatable music. Both as improvisers and audiences, we are willing to sit through the bad sets, biding our time as we wait for the transcendent experience that may be next on the bill.

As a fan and (limited) improviser myself, I started wondering a few years ago about what makes ‘good’ and ‘bad’ improvisation, and often found my ideas blatantly contradicted by the preferences of others, as well as gigs I myself witnessed and adored, but couldn’t explain why. Last year, I started designing a game piece/structured improvisation called Good Improv/Bad Improv with the aim of exploring some of these so-called good/bad habits in a group improvisation context. I wanted to see what would happen if I forced one musician to play louder than everyone else, whilst another had to play her instrument in a completely new way, and a third had to play his instrument really badly.

Good Improv/Bad Improv assembles a trio of improvisers, who each draw one of a series of simple instructions from a hat before improvising together. The musicians only know their own instruction; they are not allowed to tell their fellow improvisers or the audience what it is until the improvisation is complete. Good Improv/Bad Improv debuted in May this year with six skilled and brave improvisers taking on the challenge, and the result was both entertaining and fascinating. Highlights included:

  • Evelyn Morris (Pikelet) playing jazz drums and nailing it (Attempt to play something you have never played before).
  • Adam Simmons curled up in a ball in the corner of the stage blurting away on sax (Play like you want the audience to go home)
  • Barnaby Oliver playing rock riffs (Play the opposite) as Clinton Green bit Barnaby’s guitar strings (Surprise the other members of the trio with what you play).

The next More Talk, Less Action will feature a slimmed-down version of Good Improv/Bad Improv, with our three panellists taking up the challenge. A couple of rounds each of the game piece will bookend a panel and audience discussion with the topic ‘Improvisation: How To Win’.

With panellists/performers –

Lloyd Honeybrook (Make It Up Club, Overground Festival, hate saxophonist)

Alice Hui-Sheng Chang (experimental vocalist, teacher/workshop facilitator)

Adam Simmons (Festival of Slow Music, teacher, saxophonist, reeds)



Improvisation: how to win

Thursday 19 February 2015 (7:30pm) – $10 entry

Facebook Event