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PETER KNIGHT & AUSTRALIAN ART ORCHESTRA

«Crossed & Recrossed»
AAO RECORDINGS/HOSPITAL HILL

«Crossed & Recrossed» offers two exceptional compositions by the artistic director of the Australian Art Orchestra, trumpeter-electronics player Peter Knight, both were inspired by mappings of imagined places and both explore meeting points between literature, modern jazz and minimalist music.

The first composition, «The Plains», was inspired by iconic Australian author Gerald Murnane’s best-known novel by the same name (1982), about an unnamed filmmaker who travels to «inner Australia», where he endeavors to film the plains under the patronage of wealthy landowners. This composition was premiered at the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw, Poland, during the 2018 edition of the Jazztopad Festival. This composition, performed by a nonet, was premiered at the Melbourne Recital Centre during the Metropolis New Music Festival in 2016. This composition suggests a determined and Sisyphean journey in endless, wide-open sceneries, «crossed and recrossed» as described in the novel «The Plains» and delivered by the suggestive vocals of Georgie Darvidis; sceneries where the senses of time and space are blurred and deconstructed into a series of organically-evolved musical mirages.

The second composition, «Diomira», was inspired by Italian writer Italo Calvino’s masterpiece «Invisible Cities» (1972), a fabled city «with sixty silver domes, bronze statues of all the gods, streets paved with lead, a golden cock that crows each morning on a tower». This composition, performed by an ensemble of 15 musicians (plus three more that were overdubbed, was recorded live at Metropolis New Music Festival in Melbourne in May 2016. «Diomira» offers an urgent and dramatic, sensual dimension to the cinematic-minimalist once-in-a-lifetime tour in the labyrinthine streets of the fabled city, stressed by the dreamy vocals of Gian Slater. This composition hints that this city as well as its imaginative surroundings are about to face their demise and disappear into oblivion. «The special quality of this city for the man who arrives there on a September evening, when days are growing shorter and the multicolored lamps are lighted all at once at the doors of the food stalls and from a terrace a woman’s voice cries ooh!, is that he feels envy toward those who now believe they have once before lived an evening identical to this and who think they were happy, that time», Calvino wrote, and «Diomira» yearns to that kind of elusive happiness.

Eyal Hareuveni  

Georgie Darvidis (v), Andrea Keller (p, Nord keys), Peter Knight (tp, elec), Aviva Endean (bcl), Lizzy Welsh (vio), James Macaulay (tb), Tilman Robinson (elec), Jacques Emery (b), Simon Barker (dr), Gian Slater (v), Tristram Williams (tp), Tony Hicks (bcl), Erkki Veltheim (vio), Steve Raegele (g), Adrian Sherriff (btb), Mary Rapp (c), Nicole Lizée (turntables), Vanessa Tomlinson (vib), Joe Talia (Revox B77 reel-to-reel tape machine), Sam Pankhurst (b), Jem Savage (audio systems design, live sound), Tamara Saulwick (pre-recorded whispered v). Remix overdubs: Katherine Philp (c), Jacques Emery (b), Dan Sheehan (Fender Rhodes)

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