In May, Brisbane will be treated to a one of a kind crossover event involving orchestras, electronic music and beatboxing with the inaugural launch of QSOCurrent.
Featuring the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO), the two-day event will shine a spotlight on contemporary music and Australian composers. QSOCurrent will be the launching grounds for four premiere events. One such premiere will be a collaboration between local composer and songwriter Ryan Walsh and acclaimed electronic producer, Tim Shiel. Ryan's credits include the soundtrack for 'Polly Borland Polymorphous' which was nominated for an APRA/ AGSC Award for Best Documentary Soundtrack. Tim Shiel, aside from hosting Double J's 'Something More', has also collaborated with Grammy Award Winner Gotye. Ryan and Tim will be performing a rendition of the electronic soundtrack to bestselling mobile game 'Duet'.
When asked what motivated him to get involved in this project, Ryan explains, “I think anyone would jump at the chance to work with the QSO because they're such a great orchestra. Being a composer, these opportunities to work with orchestras like that aren't too common these days. On top of that, there was the opportunity to work with Tim who's a really great musician and does a lot of great stuff in the way he works with technology. In terms of working here in Australia, it's kind of one of those dream projects.”
When it comes to explaining the origins of wanting to re-work a mobile game soundtrack, Ryan says, “I had been talking to the producer of this festival and when we were talking about the digital side of things, I mentioned that I'd been playing 'Duet', it was about the end of 2013/ 14 and it was really popular. The soundtrack was great, it was a really cool way of meshing good music with a great visual concept. We started talking about doing something with Tim and then that evolved into having him play with the orchestra.”
For the visual elements of the performance, Ryan and Tim have been working with local artist Janus Loveday. “He does a lot of really amazing stuff here in Brisbane in terms of the way people capture images and manipulate them. He's an amazing effects guy and designer and a technology boffin,” states Ryan. “He's going to be taking the duel element of 'Duet', that has a very distinct aesthetic, and blowing that up into a big wide-screen production. We're trying to get it bigger, more wide-screen and more cinematic sounding, and he's going to be doing that with the actual visuals from the game as well so there's a lot of cool stuff going on around us visually.”
Given that the event relies on the fusion of a lot of different styles of music, Ryan is hopeful that this will be a great opportunity for people to get outside their musical comfort zone and experience some genres and approaches that they normally wouldn't be exposed to. “I don't know how much of a crossover there's going to be in terms of people who would have an opera subscription to be going to something like this, you'd hope they might.
“It's weird, having worked on projects like this and working in film etc., it's become less of an issue. It's something that people might have talked about maybe 15-20 years ago. There's a whole lot of composers around now that have a real crossover career. A lot of those lines are being re-drawn or erased completely. It might be cool if somebody's a real gaming fan and they come to the concert and they've never heard a string section before, but the concert is going to be an in and of itself production. It's not bringing a classical feel to a soundtrack or bringing electronic music to a classical score or a film score, it's kind of it's own thing, which is turning out to be something really cool and unique.”
The event will also include a premiere of Phillip Glass's orchestration of Aphex Twin's ' ICCT Hedral', Brisbane jazz trio Trichotomy playing with the QSO, and a collaboration between composer Gordon Hamilton and award-winning beatboxer Tom Thum. “ They've done a really good job of getting something for everybody. If you're into jazz, there will be something for you to plug into this festival. If you're into video games and electronic music, there will be something to cater to your interests and also a chance to get into the rest of it. It's a really well curated weekend of some cool music.”
'Duet' plays The Edge, Stanley Place, 15 May. QSOCurrent plays multiple venues across Brisbane, 15-16 May.