Speak Percussion, led by Eugene Ughetti, will perform their latest fusion of visual art and music ‘Fluorophone’ at the Redland Performing Arts Centre.
Percussionist Eugene Ughetti has been playing to the beat of his own drum for most of his life.
“It wasn’t my choice to play drums; Santa Claus just decided,” Eugene jokes on his beginnings. But, it was all Eugene’s choice to continue pounding away, as he will be in his inventive performance piece ‘Fluorophone’. Eugene’s approach to music is a fusion of the influences of his parents.Image © LASALLE
“My dad is a drummer – he was my first teacher. And my mum is a visual artist. For all my life, dad has owned a music store, and mum has had a visual arts studio at home. So, I’ve been very much immersed in those two worlds: the world of musical instruments and the idea of being a practising artist.”
Many of Eugene’s performances have been a fusion of visual art and percussion that leads to exploring experiments in sound; from using ice and wind, or kitchen utensils to emulate the rhythms of food preparation. ‘Fluorophone’ is no different in its experimenting with percussive sounds, but adds a brighter visual element.Image © Robert McFadzean
“’Fluorophone’ is a title we gave the project when we realised that the work was about exploring the relationship between light and sound, and maybe even more specifically them being the same thing. So, in other words, when you generate light you’re getting sound at the same time, and vice-versa. So a little bit like one form of energy is split into sound and light simultaneously.”
The music in ‘Fluorophone’ has been composed by musicians from Australia, United Kingdom, and Denmark. The pieces will be performed by members of Eugene’s troupe Speak Percussion. Each piece uses a different light source to explore its percussive capabilities, including the flickering of a strobe and fluorescent lights, matches being struck, and a rig with custom-built LED discs, making for what Eugene describes as “a very engaging, intense audio-visual experience.”
There will also be a workshop to give the public a chance to learn more about the workings of the project. Using light to create music may seem far-fetched, but Eugene uses Danish musician Juliana Hodkinson’s piece for the show using matches to explain the show’s concept.Image © LASALLE
“When you strike a match against a matchbox it has this very iconic scratching sound with a short burst of flame igniting, and at the same time you’re seeing this light being created right before your eyes. It has a shape, a way in which it burns, it generates smoke and it moves in the air. It’s just like sound has its own characteristics that behave over time and interacts with space.”
Many of Eugene’s projects sees him exploring experimental territories in music, but it’s his own natural curiosity which drives his projects – a curiosity that leaves audiences astonished by his work.
“I never really thought of it as experimental; I just always thought of it as my curiosity leading me to exciting places. And whilst I’m trained as a musician, I think those artistic desires and skills are completely transferable across mediums. The same passion and interest I apply to music is very much there when it comes to food or visual art. That’s why our music isn’t afraid to step into different places.”
‘Fluorophone’ plays Redland Performing Arts Centre 18 March.