In a three part series on legendary German pioneers Kraftwerk, we go deep into why they are named one of the most influential acts in the history of modern music. In Part 1, we explore the context their history as a reaction to the post-WWII Germany they grew up in:
Facing runaway success as a label and management group, it is Future Classics eye to what’s next (not what has been) that keeps them one step ahead of trend, a trait that’s followed them throughout their nine-year history. We chat with the label to get the lowdown on how they play to celebrate as part of Vivid LIVE 2013.
The journey of Scott Walker follows a man who went from 60s golden boy to 70s obscurity, to off-the-radar artist into a 2000s avant-garde superstar. In essence, his career dots along a scattered line that completely makes sense in not making any sense at all.
Vangelis’ sonic response to the 1984 cult classic Blade Runner is considered a landmark moment not just in film, but in music, composition, technology and cultural expansion. It is one of a few cases of a soundtrack being just as, if not more influential then the film it was created for – sparking interest and study almost 30 years since its original release. We go behind the creation of the multi-media masterpiece and its genius creator, Vangelis.
Vivid LIVE invited Goodgod! back in 2012 to bring the ruckus, shaking up the landmark stage the only way they know how: with excessive flair. We spoke with Jimmy Sing, crown prince of the Chinatown danceteria and Levins, head chef at The Dip, who assured us the attitude that created Vivid’s most rambunctious party has not gone astray:
In an introduction for Sydney street press The Brag, Fergus Linehan – Director of the Sydney Opera House – gave his top picks for Vivid LIVE 2013, shedding light on the depth of a lineup created almost specifically for the iconic stage.
Sydney Touring and Management group Astral Peopleintroduced us to their neon aesthetic just weeks ago, ahead of their debut Vivid LIVE studio party featuring Detroit’s Omar-S, UK’s Jon Convex, Africa Hitech, Dro Carey and more. As words can leave much to the imagination, we’ve been provided an exclusive one hour live mix from resident Astral DJ and creator of exceptional dancefloors Ben Fester.
Recorded in his studio over a sunny morning, the mix (created exclusively for Vivid LIVE) explores Astral’s futuristic take on a global underground. Featuring tracks from Chicago’s Ralphi Rosario, Detroit’s Kyle Hall & 3 Chairs, Berlins finest Shed, NYC riser Anthony Naples, Japan’s Takuya Matsumoto, Sydney’s Cassius Select & Cliques and the Templar Sound released DJ Vague, feel free to take a ride around the world before feeling it in the flesh at the Sydney Opera House.
Just so you know, this mix is REALLY REALLY GOOD.
Astral People bring Omar S, Africa Hitech, Jon Convex and more to Vivid LIVE on Sat 1st June. For more info & tickets click here
Takuya Matsumoto -Drafting Under The Stars [Iero] Dj Nature – Everyone [Golf Channel Recorings] Theo Parrish – Urban Elements [Filth Records] Vedagor – Untitled I [Burek] Shed – Keep Time [Ostgut Ton] Tim “Love” Lee – The Tortoise (Sex Tags Mania NYC Mix) [Acido Records] 3 Chairs – Demigods [Three Chairs] Cassius Select – Jamo [Hunter Gatherer] Anthony Naples – I Don’t See Them [Rubabdub] Gerd – Time & Space [Clone Basement Series] Ralphi Rosario – Ee-Ah Song [D.J. World Records] Mazzomba – Be Yourself (Greymatter Remix) [Pusic Records] 1Der& – Ray’s House (Kamikaze Space Programme Remix) [Processed Sounds] Kyle Hall – Flemmenup [Wild Oats] Omar S – Unitarian [Scion Aduio/Visual] Motor City Drum Ensemble – The Stranger [MCDE] Alba – Knokke (Cliques Remix) [Plastic World] Freddie Norwood – How Low Can You Go [Untzz] Disco D – (123 BPM) [Alleviated Records DJ Vague - Porsche Trax 1 Kyle Hall - Crushed [Wild Oats] Omar S – Its Money In The D [FHXE Records] Africa Hitech – Please Don’t Fight It [Warp Records]
In the lead up to the Australian premiere of Sounds of the South at Vivid LIVE, we’ve called upon the supergroup’s members, including Fight the Big Bull, Frazey Ford and Megafaun, to select their most pivotal moments from the unrivaled cultural archive.
In 2013, the Sydney Opera House will present the world premiere of Gurrumul – His Life and Music - a biographic tour-de-force of Gurrumul’s life through song, film and narrative elements created exclusively for Vivid LIVE. Over two evenings, these exclusive performances will feature never before heard nor performed material from his long-awaited third studio album, alongside re-arranged and re-interpreted music from his two chart-topping releases. Over two years in the making, the show has evolved into a multi-media exploration of what is fast becoming Australia’s most engaging musical biography. We spoke to Michael Hohnen, show director and close friend of Gurrumul, to get an insight into this absolute festival highlight.
“The audience milling in the Enmore lobby has a different complexion from the audience that would gather here for, say, Nick Cave or Will Anderson. At a guess, the kids are here because their parents want them to witness what will likely be their first ever experience of a headlining black Australian artist, whilst the other folk see in Gurrumul a vindication of their long-standing belief in the genius of the Indigenous people” (Gurrumul: His Life & Music by Robert Hillman/ABC Books).
Matthew E. White was born a barefoot child between the US and the Philippines whose first steps and words played second fiddle to his first guitar riff or basketball hoop. However by a young age he’d already felt as though time had passed him by: The era of Alan Lomax, King Tubby and Muddy Waters had passed, whilst Jimmy Cliff and Caetano Veloso were fleeting memories to the world of popular music.
In our last segment, we noted how The Heritage Orchestra rejected what was thought to be possible in the dissonance between classical composition and modern sounds, then made it their own. From re-arranging techno maestro Amon Tobin to working with Grime superstars JME, Skepta and Tinchy Stryder; the orchestra progressed from London small clubs to global stages in the space of months, becoming the ‘go-to band’ for the likes of Jamie Cullum, DJ Yoda, Aphex Twin (as the ‘Remote Orchestra’) Tim Minchin, Mike Patton, Dizzee Rascal, Spiritualized and SBTRKT (this list goes on & on & on…)
However, on the other side of London, composer, visual artist and “Techno-Data Agitator” Robin Rimbaud AKA Scanner had been exhibiting his avant-garde works for years within galleries from New York’s MOMA, Paris’ Le Pompidou and London’s Tate Modern. An electronic audio and visual artist since the early 1980s, his collaborations (with the likes of Steve McQueen, Nike, The Royal Ballet, Radiohead and Laurie Anderson) moved to shows on London’s public transport system and Parisian Public-Announcement speakers, whilst curating for the likes of The Natural History Museum, TATE Modern (for their first ever sound-exhibit) and an infamous performance of 16 Concerts in a single night (via various lookalikes around the globe).
Born in Katherine, WA – C.W Stoneking’s ancestry is just as incomprehensible as his sound. His grandfather on one side was Appalachian photographer Robert Lindsay Robey. The other – Charles Sylvester, quarter blood Iroquois. His parents split shortly after birth and he was raised by his father – Australian/American playwright, filmmaker and poet Bill Marshall Stoneking. Moving to Balmain, VIC in the late 80s and then Melbourne in the mid-90s, Stoneking honed his eccentricity whilst recording one of the country’s most uniquely authentic voices.
“I used to think that white men couldn’t sing the blues. But one night I walked into a bar and could hear music playing. It was a song of Robert Johnson (famous Delta Blues musician who died in the 1930s) and I figured it was a record. I know that music really well. And then I came around the corner and it was this young white guy playing. And my jaw hit the floor” – J. Walker of Machine Translations
Stoneking’s first self-titled release came out in 1998, to joint confusion and adulation. Following several blues projects and national tours, it wasn’t until 2006′s King Hokum that C.W gained a face as Australia’s answer to American-led blues music and one of the countries most exciting acts:
“He sounds as if someone set up a microphone in a back room around 1927 and recorded direct to wax the songs of an itinerant blues man – one who does amusing party pieces with friends as well as mournful turns, who does New Orleans swing (check the clarinet and brass, brother) and plantation work songs, who plays his guitar and banjo as if they are as much a part of him as his hooch-roughened vocal cords” – Sydney Morning Herald
An avid collector of old time blues, southern hymns and western rhythms, in 2008 Stoneking went on a global search for archives in Trinidad, West Africa and New Orleans to explore further roots of his sound.
“One afternoon, back in Port of Spain, Trinidad, I met four scientists in a bar, they were on their way to West Africa to study a type of parasitic worm that attacks the eyeballs of human beings and turns them into blind men… so they invited me to come on their boat with them. And we spent a couple of weeks sailing around until one of them managed to sink their boat off the coast of Gabon, in West Africa.”
First of all, apparently shipwrecks still happen in this era (?). Secondly, you have an artist who is wise enough to know that it has to happen for a reason, and translates that into 2010’s Jungle Blues, a watershed of tribal grunge with as much international flavour as authenticity. The breakthrough success of this album transported Stoneking from small clubs to international appearances including a live set on Later With Jools Holland.
The majority of reviews regarding C.W Stoneking cannot get past the fact that his work was recorded any time after 1940, such is his knowledge and propensity to reject new formats. He now plays with his Primitive Horn Orchestra, a rag-tag selection of brass instrumentalists that bounce off Stoneking as if they’d spent their entire lives together (most likely somewhere in Mississippi). Today, he and his wife Kirsty Fraser record together and have two sons; named Atticus and Ishmael (we’ll leave you to figure out the novel inspiration).
Playing as part of VividLIVE 2013, the old-time walls of the Opera House will get just a little bit older as Stoneking does what he’s known to do – transport the listener to another time frame, another genre or another world with all the bleeding-sepia of the original. With over 20 years experience on stage and a legendary status as a songwriter and storyteller, C.W Stoneking is the human time machine you really don’t want to miss.
Performing at the Opera House as part of a closing weekend spectacular of Australian music, Blue Mountains heroes Cloud Control will be providing a world premiere of their new album, Dream Cave - the follow up to their wildly popular debut, ‘Bliss Release’. Vocalist Heidi Lenffer took the time to explain the process of creating their new album (recorded in Kent, UK) with a personable honesty that can only make you love them more:
Written by Heidi Lenffer:
“I remember driving down the M4 with the band, one afternoon in 2006, finalising lyrics on way to the Opera House to record our first demos. As I recall we were interrogating the merits of “Green Love” as a metaphor for young love. We’d only been a band for a matter of months and I’m not even sure that the recording was officially sanctioned, but we knew a guy who’s brother worked at the Opera House and had arranged for us to record vocals in a miniature mixing booth perched on top of one of the performance halls. This recording of our first four songs became the burnt cd that we handed to Dan Zilber at FBi Radio and opened the doors to the Sydney gig scene. We haven’t seen the sound engineer, Tim Austin, since; maybe he still works there, I wouldn’t know, but he and his brother Richard were the first of many to generously volunteer their time to help our band get places.
We gave ourselves a year to write the second record. Of the twelve tracks, four of the songs came out of a memorable month spent on the French island Il De Re, and the remainder were written in the rain and rhythm of east London home life. In song-writing world you’re always sitting somewhere along the frustrated/inspired spectrum and every band needs to figure out for itself what conditions invite ideas and what drowns them out. We found it hard to write on tour. I can’t speak for the others but I found I needed the mundanity of home life to filter the noise and let the ideas rise naturally to the surface rather than wringing them out forcibly. After several months of slow progress in our dank rehearsal bunker, we rediscovered the value of natural light and started jamming acoustically in our lounge-rooms. You can’t hide anything when there’s just vocals and guitar- the honesty is brutal and it forced us to make the songs really solid in their barest form, which made us confident that studio production would compliment rather than compensate.
As I write this we are in the final signing-off phase of the recording process; marking the end of 7 weeks hibernation in a house in Kent. With a roof of pigeons, and our producer’s dad living permanently downstairs, the setting was somewhat of an English equivalent to our Blue Mountains home recording process for Bliss Release. Except where our first album was made in bits and pieces of night-work over 9 months, this time around the allotment worked out to about a song every 3 days. It was tight. Days started at noon but extended past midnight. Hour to hour would vacillate between the mundane and the Best Time Ever. We were prepared, but could we have done more pre-production? Who can say. It’s impossible to know when some songs end up with five versions, and others you find it impossible to conceive in any other form. You start to anthropomorphize the songs and wonder about their needs and what they want to sound like. Time has frustratingly little correlation with progress- a minute of jamming a new direction can negate months of laboring under the wrong vibe. Sometimes you believe you’ve just written the best piece of music in the world, and the next day positive self-talk is more relevant. Alister was right to call it a manic process. The psychological battle sits readily alongside the creative one. We’re on the verge of release now. The four of us are really proud of what we’ve made in this album called Dream Cave, and I’d love to invite you to hear us play it for the first time live at VividLIVE.”
Taken under the wing of the ‘King of Soul’ Sam Cooke, Bobby broke out of the Womack Brothers as a ‘60s hit machine for the greats, then became a ‘70s R ‘n’ B icon with ‘Across 110th Street’ and a string of chart-topping hits,
When Astral People started there were no set plans of where we wanted to take it. For years there’s been people doing some great stuff around Sydney but the community was very much one that was divided. It’s natural for people to stick to what they’re familiar with and so we set out to change that mentality…
Gathering the finest collectives, selectors and underground heroes of Sydney nightlife, Vivid LIVE throws open the Opera House west-end once again for a four-night Studio celebration of the cult and classic born and bred for the dancefloor set. Inviting both low-end purveyors from international stages and local heroes at the forefront of Australian electronica, the fifth edition of the Vivid LIVE Studio Series shimmers in with a few familiar faces and new underground heroes!
Over the coming weeks we’ll be inviting the beauty and brains behind each of the studio nights to give us a full rundown of what to expect, with the return of a few sneaky Vivid LIVE mixes for good measure…
Without further ado, please welcome to the festival family… Read More »
Proving his electric guitar chops and song-writing salt as a ‘60s hit machine, Bobby broke out from The Valentinos and rocketed into the ‘70s to become soul’s biggest star. Before Frank Ocean. Before Miguel. Before hip-hop… Bobby was there.
Whilst on the brink of launching Underworld’s Opening Ceremony soundtrack for the London Olympic Games, Karl Hyde rediscovered the darkness on the edge of town: from Essex to London… the dance floor to dawn… this is where Edgeland was born.
Before Bobby Womack was immortalised in the soul-R ‘n’ B cosmos, he was born and bred in the old school tradition of writing, performing and learning from the best in the business. Under the guidance of his hero and mentor Sam Cooke, The Womack Brothers signed to Sar Records, toured the gospel circuit as The Valentinos, and then sparked an astounding string of collaborations as Womack became a hit-maker for pop’s biggest artists. Read More »
Arguably two of our biggest and most radically different artists have joined together for ‘A Baru In New York’, showcasing Gurrumul’s angelic voice in a new bed of heavenly electronica courtesy of beat-bursting wonder-producer Flume.
Following his runaway remix success with Hermitude, New Navy and now his breakthrough eponymous debut, the Sydney-based producer now presents Gurrumul as you’ve never heard him before, taking the house music bed of Yolanda Be Cool’s original and giving it an epic new re-work – check out the difference below…
A surprise release that reaffirms Gurrumul as a voice that transcends boundaries, the singer-songwriter is now set to stage his biggest shows yet in a world premiere collaboration with the Sydney Symphony. Having already performed for the Queen and Barrack Obama whilst counting the likes of Elton John, Björk and Sting as fans, the eternally shy songwriter now invites Vivid LIVE deep into his magical world – giving audiences the rare opportunity to soak up his songs and spirit in this most blissful of orchestral debuts.
Gurrumul performs with musicians of the Sydney Symphony on 28 & 29 May. Find out more about Gurrumul’s event.
The Blues Rolls On With Frazey Ford, Justin Vernon, Megafaun & Fight the Big Bull
It’s hard to think of another singer who suggests Dolly Parton, Ann Peebles and Feist… Frazey Ford and her band have figured out a cumulative average of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” and Neil Young’s “Harvest” – The New York Times
A veteran of delicate harmonies and a startlingly rustic approach to folk storytelling, Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Frazey Ford has garnered a devoted following with cult Canadian acoustic trio The Be Good Tanyas, leading the group for over ten years around the world alongside features on popular TV series Breaking Bad, The L Word and Weeds… Read More »
Bob Dylan – ‘Alan was the one who unlocked the secrets… if we’ve got anybody to thank, it’s Alan’
Brian Eno – ‘He turned his intelligent attentions to music from many parts of the world, securing for them a dignity and status they had not previously been accorded’
Pete Seger – ‘Alan Lomax and his father wanted the American people to once again sing the wonderful old songs of this country which they never heard on the radio… and they’ll live again’
Moby – ‘The music that Alan Lomax chronicled is invaluable and deserves to be given the respect for which the American Folk Center is legendary’
Affectionately known as ‘that old bugger Lomax’ to Mississippi blues legend Son House, the late great folklorist Alan Lomax embarked upon his first expedition with his father 80 years ago… beginning a lifelong saga of worldly adventures that has culminated in The Alan Lomax Collection; Read More »
The program for Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House 2013 was announced today as part of the 5th annual Vivid Sydney festival of light, music and ideas. From May 24 – June 2, Sydney Opera House will welcome some of the most ambitious and innovative local and international artists for a ten-day celebration of music on the nation’s most famous stages.
Sitting alongside Vivid Ideas and Vivid Light, Vivid LIVE is a key component of Vivid Sydney, the city’s premier winter creative industries and cultural event, owned and managed by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency. Vivid LIVE invites the world’s leading artists, creative collectives, promoters and digital animators to raise the roof of Sydney Opera House’s theatres, rehearsal spaces, recording studios and most famously, its iconic sails. Read More »
Strobes blind the audience, flickering between bursts of sound from the strings, brass, choir and single guitar onstage. The sounds pulse, hypnotising. Music for – or from – the cosmos, descending straight down into Sydney Opera House’s Opera Theatre for Vivid LIVE 2011.
Spiritualized is the project of J. Spaceman (Jason Pierce, to his friends), the band’s soul and single dedicated member. The group has had over twenty members shifting around, on keyboards, guitar, bass, drums and even saxophone. Yet the original Spaceman stays firm.
Inspired by disease, bad drugs and his own live performances, Pierce brings his latest, most uplifting release Sweet Heart Sweet Light to the Concert Hall this December.
Stepping back from the noise and experimentation of his past work, Pierce tried writing songs to carry him through the tortures of chemotherapy and a debilitating liver disease.
“I thought that would make it easy on myself, that pop music would be easier…but it wasn’t,” he told Fuse TV. “All records are hard to make.”
Having recently hidden behind hospital doors and an IV drip, Pierce is now back out in the public, confident about his new music. He’s had a lively history down under too … A performance that stays with us is Spiritualized’s appearance at the Australian leg of All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2009, curated by Aussie icon NickCave. Taking refuge in the windy cliffs and chilly warehouses of Cockatoo Island, Spiritualized made a whole lot of loud, emotional noise alongside Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Silver Apples, The Saints, Fuck Buttons, Dead Meadow, and The Necks.
For last year’s Vivid LIVE appearance, Spiritualized performed the entire 1997 record Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space – a proposal conceived whilst half-way up a mountainside, high from the altitude. (This album was a phenomenal success. To get the gist, the record claimed NME’s Album of the Year, overtaking Radiohead favourite, OK Computer.) This performance came more than a decade after the album’s creation, but still sounded like the sounds of the near future.
Playing the entire record live inspired him. To Pierce, there was something different about performing all his songs from start to finish on the Opera Theatre stage, instead of the studio recording. Maybe it was the audience reaction, the orchestra and choir surrounding him, or the strobes? From his performances at Vivid LIVE, the melodies and rhythms of Sweet Heart, Sweet Lightbegan to take form.
The Sweet Heart, Sweet Light record was originally called Huh? to reflect Pierce’s state of mind after disease left his body wrecked with experimental pharmaceuticals. The album cover a neat hexagon surrounding letter on a clean white background. It took over three years, and he kept away from the studio in the safety of his home.
“I didn’t tell the studio engineer. When I fell asleep or just disappeared for two days, he must’ve thought that’s just how it was working with me,” he told Fuse.
Yet ‘Sweet Heart Sweet Light’ is Spiritualized’s most intimate work yet, featuring vocals written by his own daughter, who was nine at the time.
“She just started singing. You can say things at that age, which are at one turn childish.”
“But by being like that they’re so honest.”
During an interview with BBC Radio 6, he admired the contribution by his daughter. “It just sounded amazing when she started to do it,” he said.
“She put it together in one fifteen minute walk, but it kind of made sense. When you hear it, it’s not something I could’ve written.”
British musician, composer and DJ Nitin Sawhney will make his Sydney Opera House Concert Hall debut this September. Steph Harmon caught up with him recently to find out about his recent work and plans for his Sydney show.Read More »
Firstly, congratulations to Vivid Sydney for such a fantastic and memorable 2012 season, breathing light and life into Sydney like no other time of year with its illuminating program – lights are still on until Monday, so you’ve still got the weekend to take them all in.
Big shout out to Vivid Ideas and the ever enlightening Jess Scully, whose dynamic program still continues – do make sure you go check it out whilst it’s on!
Thank you to all of our partners, whose contribution supported the amazing outcomes of Vivid LIVE 2012.
Of course, a standing ovation and thunderous round of applause must go to all of the artists who dedicated their music and talent to Vivid LIVE 2012; who entertained, challenged and delighted Sydney Opera House with their energy and charisma.
Nicky Da B by Prudence Upton
Bryce Nico and Sufjan's 'Planetarium' by Daniel Boud
And finally. An enormous thanks must go to our esteemed Festival Director, guru and musical mastermind Fergus Linehanfor putting together such a brilliant program. It all begins with the love of music, and coupled with Fergus’ experience and wisdom, Vivid LIVE flourished into 2012′s full blown feast of a festival. Thank you!
Whilst Vivid LIVE wraps up for this year, it’s not yet time to put your dancing shoes away; because gearing up is Sydney Opera House’s Spring Dance season, curated by the fabulous Rafael Bonachela!
Brazilian-born citizen-of-the-world, Amon Tobin blew everyones’ ears and minds during his two renditions of his ISAM Beyond 3D on Saturday night. With warnings around the foyers about how loud the show was and ushers offering ear plugs to punters, the gut shuddering bass still managed to cause fainting spells and an occasional vommer amongst those present at Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall.
And even for those watching from their screen of choice online, exclamations of awe and disbelief accompanied every tweet, facebook status update and picture shared. The best moments probably came amidst the flashes of industrial and graphic brilliance, when Amon himself was revealed within the carefully constructed illusion of cubes within cubes in Matrix, post-Oracle-style Neo-drama.
We sat down with Amon and he explained how he transformed ISAM from a studio album to a next level experiential live stage performance.
With his halo of whitish-grey hair, thick black spectacles framing his face and an SLR slung across his tightly dotted shirt, KK Barrett speaks with the quiet gravity of a creative heavy weight. Simultaneously high brow yet utterly Hollywood, KK Barrett is straight forward and present, if a little imposing; given the nature of his works. His resume name drops directors Spike Jonze and Sofia Coppola as his preferred collaborators and includes some of the most memorable and sometimes slightly controversial Hollywood films in recent times, like: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011), Where the Wild Things Are (2009), Marie Antoinette (2006), I ♥ Huckabees (2004), Lost in Translation (2003), Adaptation. (2002) and Being John Malkovich (1999).
KK’s own vision helped give each of these feature films their context and place; to not only be the eccentric, beautiful, moving and occasionally disturbing works that they are, but to also help them connect and resonate with new generations of film lovers in a deep, yet undeniably pop-tastic and modern way.
To help part the myths and metaphors that drape themselves so dramatically a-top Karen O’s masterpiece Stop The Virgens, in a special Surprise & Delight for Sydney Opera House Insiders, KK Barrett took some time out of soundcheck and prep on Saturday night to give the lucky Insiders a sneak peak at the show he co-created and how it came to be at Sydney Opera House. Here are some photos below – check the full facebook gallery HERE.
by Matt Lennon
by Matt Lennon
by Matt Lennon
by Matt Lennon
by Matt Lennon
A thrilling half hour to listen and speak to a creative such as KK Barrett, particularly in the light of information that a little bird chirped at us; that KK had told some Sydney acquaintances that he wasn’t even in town! That’s how inside Sydney Opera House Insiders are for ya.
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most beloved and internationally recognised images of Australia. An iconic building woven into the landscape of both the harbour and our history. At the centre of this is a performing arts business that has to remain viable, whilst balancing responsibilities of being a community participant and educator. We need it to still be around for years to come – the building, the people and the place.
For these many reasons, Sydney Opera House isn’t just talking about sustainability, it is actively pursuing it. They have found a willing ally in energy partner and Vivid LIVE Festival sponsor Origin energy.
Sustainability and in particular carbon impact is still a controversial topic in Australia and generates passionate discussion. So lets put aside the monstrous topic of sustainability and carbon management for Australia and instead shine an (energy-efficient) light on the Sydney Opera House alone.
Getting the green tick is a growing trend for business. But again, this is the Sydney Opera House. Which means you can’t just fix some solar panels to the top of the sails, add a little sapling to your corporate logo and pat yourself on the back with a job well done. Every design decision for achieving their goals takes into consideration the Sydney Opera House’s iconic status and since 2008, its place on the UNESCO World heritage list. Where some might see conflicting priorities, the Sydney Opera House team look for opportunities, continuing a heritage of elegant and creative design decisions to solve complex issues.
So what are their goals?
1. To reduce energy use towards a low carbon future.
2. To embed environmental sustainability in everything we do.
3. To engage and inspire.
Origin is enabling the Vivid LIVE festival to be a carbon neutral event by supplying 10% green energy and sponsoring carbon off setting initiatives overseas.
For last year’s festival, Origin assisted by developing a detailed carbon footprint calculator to track the sources of wastage and highlight areas to tackle. Unsurprisingly, number 1 was flights for the many artists and collaborators. More surprisingly at number 2 was catering. Yes, keeping people fed and watered had a larger carbon impact than a fortnight of festival performances. Not because the bands were asking for obscure albino moose burgers with old growth forest paper napkins (at least I don’t think so, rider lists were not included in my tour) but because of the absolute truckloads of water that go into processing our everyday food and its packaging. To tackle this and engage visiting performers, this year they’ve encouraged locally sourced, in-season food and replaced bottled water with refillable bottles.
But beyond the fortnight’s festival are larger on going initiatives. This is a building that was built with a brief of being workable for 250 years. The constant stream of maintenance activity presents the opportunity to implement better solutions whilst being true to the original design. Replacing worn out light bulbs and equipment with modern, energy efficient alternatives. It needs to be done, so lets do it in a way that’s viable.
The saying goes what gets measured gets done. One of their key goals is to reduce electricity use by 15% by June 2013 and thanks to the work of the team and everyone involved with the Sydney Opera House, they are on track to meet this target.
There is this interesting phenomenon that those who visit our fair city often experience more of it than its inhabitants. This weekend I’m addressing this imbalance – shedding the familiar domestic routines to don the rose-tinted glasses of a camera-wielding tourist and observe the city in an alternative light. No better time than during the Vivid Festival when there are over 50 of these alternative lights dotted around Circular Quay. But more on that later. My ‘staycation’, if you will, is thanks to Sydney Opera House and Origin Energy, who are supplying the Vivid LIVE entertainment and swish city digs for the weekend. So, I grab my bestest gig buddy and embark on a Winter city break.
Sydney Opera House marked the last night of the Vivid LIVE festival with a trip to the movies. In partnership with Sydney Film Festival, they screened the Australian premiere of Shut Up and Play The Hits, a documentary marking the farewell concert of New York rockers LCD Soundsytem.
The band played their swan song to a capacity 18,000 crowd at Madison Square Gardens in April 2011. The film follows the band’s lynchpin, James Murphy during the week leading up to this finale, to the epic four hour show itself and the aftermath of the following day. Read More »
We venture over to Sydney Opera House just before midnight. The Vivid lights on the sails are fading down but below in the Western Foyer the GoodGod crew have the party in full Danceteria mode. To the left of the ‘Bennelong Bowlo’ (the temporary astro-turfed festival bar) there is some serious head banging going on as a motley crew move along to the charged garage rock of the Straight Arrows. Never ones to turn down a synchronised bang of the head, we join the foray and quickly shed the chill of the night. Along with any lingering thoughts of trying to get to bed on time.
The Temper Trap are back on Aussie soil after spending nearly 2 years away impressing UK and European audiences. Like all good mates returning home from a stint abroad, they’ve brought us back a little trinket – a shiny new self-titled album. In fact it’s so shiny and so well received that we’ve cleared a prime spot for it at the top of the ARIA Album chart. They played two sold out shows for Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House, a venue well suited for their particular brand of Australian rock.
But before we get to that, a quick shout out to their opening act Chet Faker and his crew who played their sweet 16th gig tonight and made me smile with their slow-groove cover of Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’. I was not expecting that from my Sydney Opera House experience.
Onto the headliners. The Melbourne lads filed out to pulsating red strobe lights and wasted no time launching into ‘London Burning’, a loud punchy opener to get us started and serving to quickly fill the high ceilings of the chamber. Read More »
When two paths intersect and cause worlds to collide, whole new universes can be born from that single moment. And Janelle Monae‘s Sydney Opera House take over was a huge moment in itself; but sometimes, a collision occurs generating a sound so loud that it in fact (paradoxically) deafens, leaving everyone unaware that anything actually just happened.
Somewhat like the Music of the Spheres of Bryce, Nico and Sufjan‘s Planetariumwas inaudibly divine until they played it to the ears of their eager fans. So whilst Janelle was in the midst of crowd surfing like the queen she is, little did we all know that her shooting star was headed straight for another star. When they crossed paths, a sonic boom was emitted that was so loud none could hear it, nor did anyone even realise it had taken place…
UNTIL WE RECEIVED PICTORIAL EVIDENCE:
When Janelle Monae met Gotye ("Where's Wally?" - Fergus Linehan)
< BOOM > ! Gotye aka Wally De Backer attended Janelle’s concert last Saturday, and as he is also part of the Sydney Opera House alumni, it was fitting that he was present to welcome Janelle into the fold. Were you there too?
An eager and rather well dressed audience filed into the darkened Opera Theatre, to the awaiting echoes of a deep reverberating chant. A lone dark figure keeps vigil on stage, in front of a sheer screen of ghostly skeletal trees. We have entered Karen O’s Stop The Virgens, a ‘psycho’ rock opera seven years in the making and marking its Australian debut at Vivid LIVE.
The screen slowly rises to reveal our hostess for the night, Karen O, wielding a golden horn microphone, dressed in banshee-esque fur and seemingly giving birth to a litter of new ‘virgens’. There are pounding drums, the combined voices of the 28-strong ‘Virgen’ acolyte chorus and a sea of blonde crop wigs. Read More »
Amidst the buzz of Vivid LIVE and Vivid Festival, last night was not only a particularly exciting time for Karen O and Yeah Yeah Yeahs fans; but also for lovers of art, music and creative expression. All of them flocked to Sydney Opera House to witness the perhaps never to be seen again spectacle of Karen O and KK Barrett‘s psycho opera, Stop The Virgens.
As showgoers are flooding the internet today with awestruck and bewildered praise for the epic drama and heartbreaking depth of Karen O’s magnum opus, we collected a few little Instagram snapshots to share with you!
“Stop The Virgens by #KarenO! #vividsydney” - Instagram from @abryegene
“Stop The Virgens! #vividlive #kareno” - Instagram from @modularpeople
“Close up of the crazy #KarenO” - Instagram from @oystermagazine
“#stopthevirgens Karen O” - Instagram from @raw_salmon
"Opening Night of Stop The Virgens at Sydney Opera House done with success" - Instagram from @mbrown_beauty
And in case you missed it earlier this week, Karen, bandmate Nick Zinner and Jason Grisell stopped by Triple j to chat a little bit about the show and did a live rendition of ‘Duets’, the second song out the gates during the performance. Amazing.
And #HellYes #KarenO bonus:
“How KILLER is Karen O's self-designed jacket?” - Instagram from @triple_j
P.S. You should also go follow us on Instagram (with the same handle on twitter too) @VividLIVE
From the yells of recognition of the Power Rangers‘ Red Samurai Power Ranger to murmurs of the Karate Kid‘s ‘wax on wax off’ mantra, youtube has been abuzz with The Temper Trap’s new video for ‘Need Your Love’. Garnering nearly a million views in around a week, this video is for the lead single from their self-titled sophomore album, and takes heavy inspiration from everyone’s favourite teen flicks.
It has everything from the video star’s past as the actual Red Samurai Power Ranger, to Michael J Fox stylings circa Back To The Future and Teen Wolf, to fleeting glimpses of what looks like Grease‘s (and a great many other films located here besides) LA River canal. It’s melodramatic, not a little bit ridiculous and utterly familiar for any fans of 80s coming-of-age flicks.
Tonight, the band will be gracing Vivid LIVE with a showcase of their new album, The Temper Trap. Their two Opera House shows are sold out, but for all you fans who couldn’t get tickets or aren’t in town, this is one of the shows that we’ll be interactively livestreaming!
Get involved, and get watching, shooting and sharing from the FRONT ROW, at 9.50PM Australian Eastern Standard Time:
P.S. To help all our international viewers, here’s a link to a Time Zone converter for you, to check what time it’ll be in your city so you can be ready when we’re online and interactively livestreaming at 9.50PM Australian Eastern Standard Time:
This trinity of uber talented musicians have together created their own Music of the Spheres with Planetarium. This ancient philosophical idea was about the perfection in the mathematical movements of the celestial bodies; and the inaudibly divine music that this produced. Inaudible at least, for human ears to hear.
Major sponsors of the Vivid festival Origin Energy play more than just a name on the poster role, working together with Sydney Opera House to improve the overall sustainability of the entire festival.
While the Opera House all ready has its own sustainability goals and achievements, the Vivid festival specifically has been targeting areas highlighted as problem areas in previous years.
This year, mic packs have been powered by rechargeable batteries, all artists have been provided with a shiny new drink bottle to reduce the use of bottled water and fluorescent lights have been replaced with low energy LED lights where possible.
The festival as a whole is powered with 10% green energy as supplied by Origin which saves up to 4 tonnes of greenhouse gas for the duration of Vivid alone, let alone in a year of operations at the Opera House.
Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, Sydney Opera House have had their carbon footprint calculated with the help of Origin, both at last year’s Vivid festival and this year’s, as well as a number of other major events, allowing for the effective total offset of all emissions created as a result of the event. This not only means that the current festival’s carbon footprint has been neutralised from the goodness of Origin’s heart, but that new target areas can be more easily identified, and improvements can be measured.
Moving forward, Sydney Opera House is investigating the capture of rainwater of the sails, heading towards their goal of reducing electricity use by 15% by 2013 (having all ready reached 13%!) and attempting to reuse or recycle 70% of waste by 2013 through the introduction of a new recycling system and donation to projects such as Reverse Garbage.
The ongoing partnership between Origin and Sydney Opera House and its festivals is sure to produce even greater results in the future. With the goals of the Sydney Opera House Sustainability project in mind (Reduce Energy, Embed sustainability into everything that they do and to Engage and Inspire), Origin’s ongoing support through Green Energy and the Carbon Footprint calculation system is invaluable to achieving further success as an environmentally aware venue and festival.
Arriving for the first time in Sydney on Friday afternoon, the weekend that followed has been a whirlwind introduction to the city that I’ll never forget.
Rushing through check in to make it to the Opera House, there wasn’t a second to take in the spectacular views of the harbour and the bridge! Meeting with Sally at Stage Door I was then lucky enough to be briefed in the Green Room where I saw Florence Welch pass by with an entourage, leaving me totally star struck. Read More »
Having never seen this trio perform live before, the Opera Theatre was an ideal location for this experience.
Showcasing for the first half of the set new tracks that feature an 8-piece string section, Seekae allow their music to speak for them, giving minimal introductions and quiet thanks for the crowd’s appreciation.
When listening to a band like Seekae, in the context of the Vivid festival, it becomes more obvious that their music, while expressed very differently, could almost be considered orchestral in its own right. It relies on the ability of the music to create a connection with the listener, rather than voice and words. The capacity to express emotions and movements through music in such a way that people can identify some link between how they feel when they hear it and how they felt during some other moment in their life is a fascinating concept to ponder. It makes the experience a different one for every person and potentially could have meaning far from what the artist was expressing, but gives a sense of reflection in that the emotions or memories that the music evokes are not guided by lyrical content. Granted, much of this is probably subconscious!
Further to this, the concentration required by all on stage also limited the visual cues given by the performers, as they had their heads down at almost all times, and quite understandably so, considering the array of buttons and the irregular drum patterns that bring together a Seekae show. With the addition of the string section for the first half of the set, the audience was given a demonstration of the versatility of Seekae (if it needed to be further pointed out). Approximately midway through the set, the strings were complete and Seekae performed in their usual configuration, still playing new material but also incorporating some of their less recent stuff. Of course the set was not completely devoid of vocals, with all three members contributing at one point or another. The choice of sample sounds and other effects (which I am not educated enough to name or even pretend to understand) are utilised to set the Seekae sound even further apart from the pack.
Combined with a tasteful yet interesting lighting scheme, Seekae’s return to Sydney and the Opera House was nothing short of triumphant.
Q: “Have you ever been in a certain mood and reached for a song you’d hoped would ‘fit’ but couldn’t find anything?”
If you, as we suspect, answer yes to Imogen Heap‘s question, then we’re just letting you know that she’d really love to hear what you’ve got to say. So much so in fact, that the High Priestess of melodic electronica has even invented her very own Listening Chair to gather your thoughts on this epic query. Slated for appearances in London and Edinburgh, the Listening Chair is also stopping in to listen to people at our own Vivid LIVE festival and is fact, already in the country just last week!
In August this year, Imogen plans to write the last track for her album inspired by these contributions via the Listening Chair’s website. She’s revealed that the track will be an acapella on the album that will be recorded in an as yet to be disclosed, super special location.
Guided by Imogen’s own voice piped through the speakers, the Listening Chair is an eggy shaped sort of cocoon that literally asks people the huge question of “What is the song that still needs to be written?” So if you’re coming to see Imogen’s Opera House recital, then you’ll be able to have a play with the Chair, take a listen to what others have contributed to it, and maybe even make a contribution of your own.
Taking place in party central of Vivid festival, the Modular night in the Studio was a much more loose affair than the events of the main theatres.
Opener Jonathan Boulet has been making a reappearance on the scene in recent months, after a somewhat quiet 2 years of beard growing. Also writing some new songs when not grooming, Jonathan Boulet has created a very recognisable sound for himself, with trademark throbbing drums and chanting singing from all band members. Playing new tracks ‘This Song is Called Ragged’ and ‘You are a Animal’ as well as old hit ‘A Community Service Announcement’ amongst others, this set of up-tempo pop songs warmed up the crowd for the party that was to come.
With DJ sets from Van She Tech and Purple Sneakers in the intervals, there was no room for calm all night.
When Kindness aka Adam Bainbridge took the stage they were greeted with enthusiasm, which only grew as their set progressed. Combining elements of pop song writing with disco, funk and an excellent groove, Kindness are a more than tight outfit of performers that clearly love what they do. The perfected 80s sound of the guitar as well as the awesomely over the top electronic drums create the Miami Vice feel, while eccentric dance moves from Bainbridge and powerful backing vocals add an individual flare to this group. And of course, the all-important bass brings the smooth sexual undertones that really get people moving. Tracks like ‘Gee Up’ excite the crowd, especially with the seamless incorporation of Womack & Womack’s ‘Teardrops’, while ‘That’s Alright’ allows the backing singers not only to showcase their vocal skills but also their mad gangsta moves. Finishing up with an all in on-stage crowd dance-off, Kindness really brought the party to the Studio.
Final act Tom Vek is different again from what has all ready transpired. Performing a set of tracks from across his career, his individual style of singing and clever song writing was a perfect close to the evening. Not quite rock, not quite pop, this hard to pigeon hole group provide totally danceable yet lyrically strong tunes. The even tone of Tom’s voice is totally endearing and really makes this band stand out from the crowd. Old favourites like ‘Nothing But Green Lights’, ‘C-C’ and ‘I Ain’t Saying My Goodbyes’ prove the commitment of his fans, while new material like ‘Aroused’ and ‘A.P.O.L.O.G.Y.’ push the crowd into a frenzy of jagged movements that I guess would be termed dancing. Tom’s hand gestures were slowly mimicked, probably unknowingly, by many of the mob (myself included). An incredibly solid set that left no room for rest, Tom Vek fans would have to be pretty happy with the performance they witnessed, which was fast paced, tight and demonstrated the authenticity of his talents.
The Studio is the perfect venue for such a party, with the visual aspects of the LED screen and added bonus of a bar. I have no doubt that the majority of the attendees were not heading home after such an invigorating set of performances!
A new comer to the Efterklang cult following, I was nevertheless excited to hear what the Danish group would offer as their fourth album, performed in full with a selection of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
While all ready a band who utilise the full spectrum of musical elements out there, Efterklang’s collaboration with composers Karsten Fundal and Missy Mazzoli has produced a set of songs that are a journey through the far north, ice and desolation included. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that this was a sad affair.
The sheer happiness that was displayed by each of the band members was endearing enough, let alone their talents. The grins and graciousness of this band coupled with their total humbleness in the face of an incredible orchestra and a theatre full of fans was more than enough to have me leaving yet another gig with sore cheeks from permanent smiling.
The performance signified the debut of the entire new album Piramida and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s disappointed that we have to wait until the end of the European summer to hear all this wonder again. Incorporating all the intricacies of their past three critically acclaimed albums but demonstrating a definite respect for the space and the sound of a symphony, the performance of these new songs was absolutely inspirational. The interaction between the swirling sounds of the symphony with the strength and piercing quality of singer Casper Clausen’s voice and the understated electronic aspects was completely harmonious.
Finishing the performance with ‘Monopolist’ from their album Tripper and ‘Modern Drift’ from Magic Chairs, Efterklang left the stage with a more than well-deserved standing ovation and accolades that continued long after their departure.
Vivid Live’s commitment to innovative performance and showcasing new material is exemplified and justified in their involvement with the new album and subsequent performances by Efterklang, whose own commitment to innovation has been evident throughout their career.
In short, a fantastic project that should be experienced by all lovers of contemporary music that is hard to categorise.
With a stage adorned in banners of leadlight windows, the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House set the perfect scene for a performance not to be forgotten by Florence Welch.
Floating on to stage like your favourite fairy tale princess, Florence was dressed as though she had just rolled out of the enchanted forest (where she is Queen, of course).
Gliding effortlessly through a set of reworked tracks from her hugely successful albums Lungs and Ceremonials, Florence was centre stage and as graceful as ever. A poised lass of delicate wrist flicks and obviously incredible talent, if it weren’t for her charming stage banter you may actually begin to believe that she was from another world.
The sheer power of Florence’s voice is highlighted so very effectively by the orchestral arrangements, which allow her to further prove her vocal chops. It is a testament to the strength of the songs that when adapted to fit to an orchestra, they still carry just as much punch, if not more. The raw emotions that have been conveyed in Florence’s works are complimented by the drama and tension that an orchestra can convey so well – layers upon layers of sound which, in a live setting, have such an impressive impact on the audience. The mere presence of the 40 plus member orchestra on stage is atmospheric enough, let alone the contribution of each and every one of them make to turn Florence’s pop ballads into somehow even more emotionally charged hymns of the twenty first century.
With an enthusiastic crowd that were more than willing to give numerous, well deserved, standing ovations, Florence + The Machine’s collaboration with The Ceremonial Orchestra was a simply magical experience.
Amongst the countless mindblowing things that are about to occur in our fair city, we are so excited to hear this amongst it:
But let’s bone up on Danny Brown before it gets crazy in his Studio gig tonight. The bros at Pitchfork tagged along with Danny back in February and filmed him whilst he was at home in Detroit with his family. The documentary, Detroit State of Mind sees him performing at Dilla Day and also chronicles Danny getting his hair did. Check it out, and as Pitchfork suggests, listen out for Danny doing Chief Keef’s signature ‘Bang Bang!’
BONUS: Earlier this week, fellow Detroit native and LA based House Shoes released a track from his new EP, The Time (which also features Danny Brown’s support act for tonight, M.E.D.), entitled ‘Sweet’, which sees Danny Brown unleash on the tripping beat and just steamroll over them horns.
Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner & Nico Muhly at the Barbican Hall - London, 9 April 2012 featuring New Trombone Collective and Navarra String Quartet – Photo by Mark Allan
In a menage a trois between internationally esteemed venues MuziekgebouwEindhoven, the BarbicanLondon and of course our own Sydney Opera House, a very special commission came about in the form of another incredible trio; with Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and Sufjan Stevens joining forces to create a song cycle with an orbit as epic as it gets.
Celebrating the solar system, the sun, moon and the planets, Planetariumis as beautiful and sublime as it’s premise suggests. Not surprising, considering that Bryce, Nico and Sufjan are in their own individual rights eminent in their respective fields.
Planetarium acts as a musical telescope into our corner of the universe, with Bryce, Nico and Sufjan the magnifying lenses. In the case of Sufjan, Planetarium draws some parallels with hisAge of Adz performance. And with Nico on the piano and keys whilst Bryce handles guitar, it’s some next level collaborational magic. Have a sneak peek and a listen to them zeroing in on ‘Jupiter’:
A little while back we gave you Seekae – Live in the Utzon Room Part 1, a very special video of Seekae’s sunrise session in the Opera House’s amazing Utzon Room. Today we’re giving you Part 2, with the band debuting another unheard cut entitled ‘Yech’, marking the live vocal debut of band member Alex Cameron!
And that beard is also called Jonathan Boulet! Last week Jon released a beautiful live rendition video for ‘This Song Is Called Ragged’, the second single taken from his lengthily named sophomore album, We Keep The Beat, Found The Sound, See The Need, Start The Heart.
And this week, just shy of the launch of Vivid LIVE, saw him release the official video for the single. Shot by pro-skater-turned vid director, Peanut the vid’s all sensual detail shots, focus shifts, agitated bugs and cinematic explosions in slow motion. See:
You can catch Boulet live alongside international bros Tom Vek and Kindness with DJ supports from Van She Tech and Purple Sneakers DJs at the Modular Night.
For whatever reason you can’t physically be at Vivid LIVE, you can watch Vivid LIVE on youtube in a brand new interactive front row music experience! Whether tickets are sold out, you’re out of town, you’re out of cash and out of luck (and perhaps your life sucks just a little bit), we’ve got your back! We’ve made sure you won’t miss out on some of our sold out and highly sought after shows.
Go watch, shoot and share photos of URBANSCREEN’s Lighting the Sails and three of our biggest events. With The Temper Trap (SOLD OUT), Imogen Heap (SOLD OUT) and Amon Tobin (SOLD OUT) you have the choice of the best seats in the whole of the Opera House – and you’ll be in control of how you view it. You can pan, zoom, apply lens filters and immediately share with your mates through Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
It’s some pimped out hi-tech stuff, but all too easy for you to watch from wherever you are, to shoot whichever frame you’d like and to share with whomever you damn well please. Watch at:
All y’all concerts streaming on the regular ain’t got nuthin’ on this. Just saying.
Now, for the logistics.
THE STREAMING SCHEDULE:
Friday 25 May – Lighting the Sails by URBANSCREEN 6pm – 12pm AEST
As the centrepiece to Vivid Sydney, each year a Vivid LIVE artist is invited to transform the sails of Sydney Opera House with digital mapping technology. In 2012, Vivid LIVE has commissioned multi-award winning German design collective, URBANSCREEN to create a new artwork that will explore both the iconic sculptural form of Sydney Opera House, as well as its place as a home for music, dance and drama.
Tuesday 29 May – Imogen Heap – 6pm – 7pm AEST
As part of her visit for the 2012 APRA Song Summit, Imogen Heap will perform an intimate recital for Vivid LIVE in the northern foyer of Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. Set to a spectacular harbour backdrop at dusk, Heap will perform a series of stripped back renditions of songs from her globetrotting, in-progress album – 6 songs in 60 minutes.
Thursday 31 May – The Temper Trap – 9.50pm – 11pm AEST
After a near-two-year absence from Sydney stages, The Temper Trap will perform for Vivid LIVE in the Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House in support of their highly anticipated self-titled second album. Having built a significant following over the past four years across Europe, UK and North America, the band’s long absence resulted in feverish excitement and expectation around the new album. The Temper Trap is the follow up to 2009’s critically-acclaimed platinum-selling debut Conditions and was recorded at the famed Sound Factory in Los Angeles, with producer Tony Hoffer, ( Beck, M83, Phoenix). The Temper Trap is out now through Liberation.
Saturday 2 June – Amon Tobin Live Beyond 3D ISAM – 9pm AEST
Following sold out tours across Europe and North America, Amon Tobin’saudiovisual spectacle ISAM Live comes to Sydney Opera House – a landmark development in concert presentation. Taking projection mapping, electronic performance and technological syncopation into more immersive territory, Amon Tobin’s reputation as an innovative artist has long been recognised by critics and peers alike; with ISAM Live, he has finally captured the imagination of the broader public worldwide.
Got that? So see you there!
P.S. Don’t be shy and socialise with us on a Social Media channel near you. Tag your posts #VividLIVE so we can see what you’ve got, because sharing is caring! We’re over at:
Our friends at Goodgod keep exclaiming ‘”Who woulda thought it? Goodgod at the Opera House!’” Well, you know what? WE THOUGHT IT! To warm you up for the party, they’ve whipped up a mix featuring all of the live guns in their artillery:
EYPTIAN LOVER (LA), NICKY DA B (NEW ORLEANS), PRINCE ZIMBOO (JAMAICA), GEOFFREY O’CONNOR, NO ZU, STRAIGHT ARROWS and DONNY BENET
That’s not to even mention their flotilla of killer DJs; Levins, Yo Grito!, Goodgod Sound Unlimited! We’re feeling crunk – CRUNK! – just thinking about it. Are you coming?
In perhaps one of the coolest funeral parties the contemporary music industry has ever known (probably because no one actually died – R.I.P. Robin Gibbs, Donna Summer and Whitney Houston of late), LCD Soundsystem were not only determined to go out on top, but to go out with a huge – and lingering – bang, the likes of which will echo on for years to come.
As Nick Millhiser of Holy Ghost! fame said of his label boss and fairy god uncle James’ retirement of LCD Soundsystem:
“He’d been talking about it for a long time and…as a fan of the band, I guess that was a little sad. I also thought it was really, I dunno, I also thought it was really cool. I’m a big fan of neat packages, if that makes sense. I thought it was very cool that he had the discipline to give the band a definitive beginning, middle and end and sort of, bow out gracefully while he was on top, having never made a bad record. Like as an aesthetic decision, I just thought it looked good. In every way.”
To be genuine is the new black. For Adam Bainbridge, it would seem that thoughtful and caring is the thing to be, in a completely non-ironic fashion – even down to his musical nom-de-plume of Kindness. And to the chagrin and delight of music critics and fans alike, Bainbridge is also ridiculously hip in the process, all the while being utterly, unapologetically self aware to boot. In this post hipster, po-po-po-mo world we live in, it can be a confusing stance to view; especially since Bainbridge is incredibly serious about his craft and will have no qualms in telling you, in equally serious terms, to Be Kind, and that World, You Need A Change Of Mind (the title of his debut album).
But really, his point is to just feel the music and have some good clean fun. It’s pop music after all. To directly address this is the latest in his series of rather brilliant videos, this one for the wistful and deliciously warm single of ‘House’, directed by Daniel Brereton.
To steal Bainbridge’s own phrase: now that’s not just cheery, it’s also very unorthodox. And we love it, unironically and wholeheartedly.
Electro-punk-pop wizard Tom Vek has the reputation of a man prone to mysterious hiatus. Since being signed to a record label since 2001, he has taken much sweet time in releasing music. And though it has suited him well to do so – it’s quality not quantity that we’re after – it left fans waiting five years before hearing a more sonically and also perhaps more spiritually evolved Vek on last year’s Leisure Seizure.
As you can see above, though Vek has just released another single from Leisure Seizure, entitled ‘You’ll Stay’ – remote control truck driven video included - it’s to 2011′s ‘Aroused’ that local legends Van She looked to remix in celebration of Vek’s first visit to Australia and appearance at Vivid LIVE alongside fellow Modular darlings, Kindness and Jonathan Boulet. Van She’s touch softens the angularity of the original but none of the spangle, and turns ‘Aroused’ into a smoother, house-tinged affair.
Most everyone has some kind of dream. For the majority of us, sitting on that dream makes it turn into part of the fat on our arses that accumulates from not getting up off it and doing something to make that dream happen. But for Karen O, sitting on something she loves so much for seven years without doing anything about it was a very difficult thing to do indeed.
With heavy bangs obscuring her eyes, Karen O sings into the mike during a rehearsal somewhere deep in Brooklyn, quite unaware of anything outside herself; yet she is as equally mesmerising as she is onstage commanding a crowd. The rehearsal is for her magnum opus and her most closely guarded secret – that was, until it was unleashed into the world for the first time in New York in October 2011 with the help of the Glam Team.
“It was the first time I’d made anything so euphoric and so free of suffering, frustration or pain,” she laughs ruefully. “It’s been the ace up my sleeve for the last seven years; and simultaneously, the albatross around my neck.”
Entitled Stop The Virgens, this intensely personal work was kept under lock and key, prior to it’s DUMBO debut late last year. Only a select few in Karen’s inner circle had been privy to it ’til then. It’s obvious from the way each person involved talks of it how fiercely proud and protective they are of this incredibly regarded work. “It was hard because I was so proud of it, and I wanted to get it out into the world, but I knew how precious it was to Karen,” says Sam Spiegel, Stop the Virgen’s co-music director.
It was only for the most special time and opportunity that everything was able to come together to finally be presented to the world at large. Lucky for Sydney this year, Karen O and her crew have deemed Vivid LIVE one such right opportunity, and with news that the New York crew arrived just yesterday led by Karen, the excitement is steadily mounting.
Co-created with KK Barrett (Being john Malkovich, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, Where The Wild Things Are), Stop The Virgens is the autobiographical and emotional evolution of Karen O. All the characters originate from outer space, including Karen and the thirty Virgens (locally harvested, watch out for some familiar faces), who can perhaps be interpreted as parts of Karen herself. Karen is the narrator of the Virgens’ story, the walls that they hit in life and the lessons that they learn; mainly from the Cosmic Nuns, who represent older womanhood.
Because when you’re young and wild, you don’t want to hear any of that. Which is really what the show is about more than anything.
Stop The Virgens’ director Adam Rapp describes it as, “An incredibly personal but not necessarily a connected narrative.. It’s an autobiographical, emotional journey for her. It’s very raw and she’s just putting it all out there…”
We already know that Karen O is brilliant. That’s a given. But if you want to take a deeper look at who she is and how she interacts with the world (ultimately a story that every person has a version of) Stop The Virgens is it; a dazzling expression of life magnified through Karen O’s vision.
Self described punk and operatically trained Shara Worden, also known as My Brightest Diamond, will be landing in Sydney in an excitingly short amount of time for her date with Vivid LIVE. Warden took a phone call from Radio National that was aired over the weekend to chat about her personal and musical history, and how she has one foot in the classical world and the other in da club (and other places besides).
The divine Janelle Monae graced the cover of Sydney Morning Herald’s Metro magazine today, with that wide eyed, yet unwavering gaze of hers. That searing vision has catapulted Monae into the equally searing spotlight; a spotlight which she not only manages to bask in – gracefully, mind you – but does so on her own terms. There are few female artists around (ahem, please see here for others) who have the drive, ambition and overwhelming talent to work in the way that Monae does; without caving to pressures of an industry that has built up, broken and re-shaped countless would-be artists into something other than what they originally intended.
Her showreel includes groundbreaking Grammy performances (as well as nominations), the honour of playing at the Nobel Peace Prize, collabos with Big Boi, Andre 3000 and… the stamp of approval from the First Lady of the USA herself, in the only way it should ever really matter. Because F.L.O.T.U.S. Mobama boogies to ‘Tightrope’.
Whatever you think of her husband’s politics or her sartorial taste, she gets down to Janelle – as will all of you fans out there coming to see her make her Australian debut with the Archandroid Orchestra. It’ll be dance or die, sportsfans. The music won’t give you any other choice.
Be afraid, Vivid LIVE, be afraid, the count down is on until Florence + the Machine arrives with the Ceremonial Orchestra!
Well, not that afraid. Whilst the flame haired vocal powerhouse has been gearing up to take over the Opera House in exactly seven days’ time, this week sees the video release for the song Flo penned for the soundtrack to the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman film. Entitled ’Breath of Life’, it is in fact, the first new music from Flo since Ceremonials. The track is slated to play out the film’s closing credits sequence with Florence’s usual epic style.
‘Breath of Life’ is written from the perspective of Snow White‘s Queen Ravena (played with menacing beauty by Charlize Theron), as she tries to acquire Snow White’s youth and beauty. Florence was fascinated in the queen’s character, who literally sucks the life out of young girls to keep her own bad self young and beautiful; and communicating that through an orchestra was an awesome and terrifying task for Florence. Peep the video for ‘Breath of Life’ below:
“It’s amazing to hear what you’ve done in a tiny studio just turned into this orchestral magnificence…I’ve never seen my music written out on sheets before… It’s completely beautiful – and terrifying.” But if anyone’s lungs could stand up next to the glory of a full orchestra, it’s Florence + the Machine’s. ”I think with the audience…I’d like them to be slightly afraid.” She laughed, talking through the process in the behind the scenes vid:
Which takes us back to our first point. If this is all anything to go by, be afraid, ladies and gents. And very very excited.
The length and breadth of the brilliance of Nico Muhly is astounding. If you’ll let us begin with some serious name dropping, Muhly’s list of collaborations reads like a roll call of some of the most well respected musicians currently working in the world: Philip Glass, Antony and the Johnsons, Grizzly Bear, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Bjork and Sigur Ros’ Jonsi have all created music with Muhly. But that’s just how Muhly rolls – in the heavyweight category of musical talent.
When the delightful Danes of Efterklang met the legendary Budgie (of Siouxsie & the Banshees and The Creatures drumming fame) earlier this month, the band hinted a little mysteriously at more to come, with a ‘to be continued’ accompanying their group-hug happy-snap.
Fast forward to just a couple of days ago, Budgie was announced as the drummer for Efterklang’s Vivid LIVE appearance, filling in for Toby Dammit who was called away to step in and help The Stooges with their tour!
“He is amazing and a very lovely fellow!” They exclaimed, and Budgie’s addition to Efterklang’s Piramida debut alongside the Sydney Symphony in a specially commissioned collaboration will definitely be amazing. They’ve already gotten a complaint from their neighbour in response to their Sunday sessions rehearsing for the Opera House concert. We, on the other hand, can’t wait to hear them. It didn’t stop Budgie jamming out a drum part for a new track either..!
Sydney based electronic trio Seekae first set foot at the Sydney Opera House as part of Graphic Festival 2011, a 2 day celebration of the graphic world’s most exciting popular culture, print, pixel and pop creators. Composing a new, original score for the Silent Comicsseries, Seekae performed behind a projection of Nathan Jurevicius’ cult comic Scarygirl in the Opera Theatre.
9 months later, 27 May 2012, Seekae will make their return to the Opera Theatre stage front and centre, this time gracing the House as part of Vivid LIVE. To celebrate the occasion, we invited the band to perform an intimate sunrise session of new, yet-to-be heard songs and old favourites in the Utzon Room.
A lesser known venue amongst its larger counterparts, the Utzon Room’s 9 month design and construction culminated in the sole remaining wholly designed space by the late Jørn Utzon – commemorating the return of the Opera House’s original architect. Now, Seekae have returned with performances of ‘Yech’ and +Dome‘s ’3′, each song featuring a picturesque backdrop of Utzon’s signature natural timbres, a sparkling waterfront and the odd passing boat.
Pre-order Seekae’s limited edition 12″ single for ’3′ with a b side remix by Locked Groove [UK] here.
Still want to check out sold out Vivid LIVE shows? How about the themed Studio parties led by some of Sydney’s leading tastemakers? Been thinking ‘you know Vivid LIVE is great and all, but I’m not sure about that blog they’ve got going…’?
If you think you can write and want to share your opinion and festival experience, line on up for the Origin Blogger Competition, entries close tomorrow! Just submit a review of a performance you have recently attended and tell us why you think energy efficiency is important to you and the live music scene.
‘Music no longer seems to belong to everybody’ – ‘I think we’ve lost in some way the vision of the whole community’ – ‘The hardest thing is to include everybody in your performance’ – ‘When everyone comes ready to give, that’s where the magic is’ – Shara Worden
Shara Worden with Sufjan Stevens, Bryce & Aaron Dessner
On last check Shara Worden, aka avant folk-pop chanteuse My Brightest Diamond, has counted Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, David Byrne, The National, Fatboy Slim, The Decemberists, Owen Pallett, Prefuse 73 and The Blind Boys of Alabama as collaborators on stage and in the studio.
It’s been a minute since our last STV instalment, we’ve been a little preoccupied taking up space with these announcements… Last time around we discussed Karen O’s evolution from NY Post-Punk chic to a latex-clad rock goddess, courtesy of old friend and collaborator Christian Joy.
This one is for the tech heads out there.
Nick Zinner, guitarist in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and co-musical director in Karen O’s STOP THE VIRGENS has forged a signature sound – part chiming harmonics, part dizzying squall that has resulted in a cross between revered Australian guitarist Rowland S. Howard (The Birthday Party, Crime & the City Solution, These Immortal Souls) and the pop noise smarts of Sonic Youth.
24 hour party people – we’ve just announced line-ups from Sydney dance collective Future Classic and tropical provocateurs Goodgod Small Club! We asked the boys themselves to give us a rundown of their choices… and what to expect when they take over the Opera House Studio and Western Foyers! Read More »
You deserve an apology. Really. This was quite indecent of us. We’ve been sitting tight lipped for weeks about what our comrades over at Goodgod and Future Classic have concocted for their Studio parties… Expect big things. And small things. Bizarre things. Exotic things?
We’ll be giving it all up tomorrow, but as a symbol of our appreciation our good friends from Penny Drop’s Forces have crafted one of the hardest hitting mixes we’ve heard yet. We’d be kidding ourselves trying to guide you through these globetrotting cuts, so we asked the boys themselves to break it all down…
Techno Dissidents Mix – 01 marks the next phase of Forces evolution. It weaves original material, Belgian techno, EBM and Gagaku into a narrative directing the listener through the city of their near future. (Post)Cyberpunk, simultaneously disembodied and visceral, Techno Dissidents sketches lust, movement and creation in an age of ubiquitous computing and subtly augment realties.
What we didn’t expect was a mysterious link to a video that popped up in our inbox featuring all three members in a late night Skype session between Sydney and the UK.
Amongst the announcement of a new album, the boys discussed their thoughts on that charismatic bald man, a ‘technical’ breakdown of their light show, and whether Seal – Grammy Award-winner from Channel 9′s The Voice – will show up at their performance at Vivid LIVE (?)
Could PVT be kissed by a rose at Vivid LIVE in 2012?
In a climate where traditional templates and schedules no longer guarantee artistic longevity, 22 year old Nika Roza Danilova has struck out as Zola Jesus with a singular, overwhelming voice – marrying her early fascination with opera, gothic overtones and macabre imagery drawn from her small town upbringing. With the release of her third album (!) Conatus and a string of high profile collaborations (M83, Orbital, David Lynch), it comes as a surprise that Zola has yet to visit our shores.
Listen to Zola Jesus:
In Part I of our interview we caught up with Nika during a quick break in LA before embarking on a European tour. Following select performances at SXSW and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, Nika discussed unusual venues, playing live, and the dichotomy of being a human and being an animal…
Nico Muhly is a critically acclaimed contemporary classical music composer, collaborating with the likes of Grizzly Bear, Sigur Rós, Antony & the Johnsons and Bonnie Prince Billy, scoring films such as the Academy Award-winning The Reader, writing operas … and judging blogs, fine cuisine and the artistic eye of ‘Sufjan Superfans’?
Check out Nico’s diary in which he discusses rehearsing and performing Planetarium, a new collaboration with Sufjan Stevens and Bryce Dessner, conceptualised around the planets of our solar system. Casting an eccentric eye over seemingly random topics whilst providing a unique insight into the creative process, Nico is our new favourite cultural commentator!
We’re pleased to announce that singer-producer Chet Faker will be The Temper Trap’s special guest in their return to Sydney at Vivid LIVE. The nom de plume of fellow Melbournian Nick Murphy, Chet Faker’s mix of conversationalist croon and soulful beats has garnered widespread acclaim – check out his recent SXSW performance and debut ep Thinking In Textures below!
“I have not forgotten my purpose as an artist. I know that my mission is bigger than me. I will stay on message. I will continue to fight for freedom and for those who can’t speak.”
Sci-fi-inspired-funk-soul-hip-hop-rock prodigy Janelle Monáe’s final statement in the liner notes of her debut album The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III). A refreshing combination of block party rhythm and pop smarts, Monáe has taken the world by storm, a 21st Century Diva that counts Stevie Wonder and Karl Lagerfeld as fans, a guest appearance with recent #1 Fun., and even a Barrack Obama endorsement!
As it’s Friday we’ll keep this short, sweet and deep… George from Seekae has handcrafted a special Vivid LIVE mix for us, opening with a teasing +DOME rework (Deluxe Edition out now!) then delving into UK garage, grime, hip-hop, IDM… let’s just say George held back some of his heavier song choices!
Described by the BBC as ‘one of the world’s most uniquely minded bands’, Efterklang have continually re-evaluated how we communicate with our favourite artists and experience their music. Beginning with the launch of their own record label Rumraket (Danish for ‘space rocket’) in the spring of 2003, the band released the aptly titled Springer EP in an eccentric handmade package of white fake fur, a limited run of 500 that is now a sought after rarity. Since then, the label has released beloved albums by local alumni Amiina and Slaraffenland alongside international artists such as Grizzly Bear, placing Efterklang at the centre of a burgeoning scene mixing electronic, rock and classical archetypes into a euphoric whole.
Whether creating global ‘private-public’ screenings of their Vincent Moon collab An Islandor premiering new music in innovative ways, founding member Rasmus has emphasised that Efterklang is all about ‘direct contact with people’.
Giant monster claw. Lotus flower eyes. Lots of latex.
The singular, eccentric vision of New York-based costume designer Christian Joy.
Since forming over a decade ago, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have continually broken preconceptions of what their initial garage rock origins implied, whether experimenting in the studio with acoustic instrumentation (Show Your Bones), raw live recording (Is Is EP) or forays into electronic production (It’s Blitz!). Similarly, the trio’s ferocious performances have continually evolved over the years, anchored by Karen’s theatrical presence and ‘punk-meets-glitter-glam’ look.
Part one of our introduction to the glam team behind STOP THE VIRGENS aimed to shed light on the intimate ties between Karen and her collaborators. This time ’round we felt a special tribute was necessary to Karen’s long term partnership with friend and costume designer Christian Joy. There since her humble beginnings, Joy has grown side-by-side with the YYYs, reflecting their DIY approach to art.
‘I’m influenced by the music and she’s influenced by the costume. It’s very natural.When I started making clothes, I didn’t even know what I was doing, and that reflected the raw energy of the first EP’
Described by Sufjan’s record label Asthmatic Kitty as some ‘cosmic history’, the Dessner-curated MusicNOW festival in Cincinatti culminated in a one-off live workshop of their upcoming song cycle at Vivid LIVE – a co-commission between Sydney Opera House, Muziekgebouw, Eindhoven and the Barbican, London. Featuring a string section, trombone choir and the three aforementioned artists, the compositions are loosely inspired by the planets in the solar system (cosmic!). From the footage we’ve seen so far (thanks Brassland), the song cycle showcases why these artists are such refined collaborators, creating music that explores new ground whilst retaining their trademark styles.
Thanks to our friends at Rice is Nice we’ve got 5 copies of Seekae’s +Dome Deluxe Edition to give-away. Re-released last week, the record features 3 very awesome bonus tracks: ‘Sir’, ‘Atlise Lament’, and ‘Face Facts’.
Seekae are performing at Vivid LIVE in the Opera Theatre on Sunday 27 May. Tickets are selling pretty quickly and you can get them here. To go in the draw to win 1 of 5 copies of Seekae’s +Dome Deluxe Edition go over here.
Remember the first time you got giddy over this blistering performance or hearing word of that collaboration? Karen O has never failed to surprise us, and we can’t think of a better example than the Psycho Opera STOP THE VIRGENS of her punk-like disregard for the record-promote-tour cycle. Continue below to get our drift…
Karen’s transformation of her would-be solo album into this sensory explosion has floored us, incorporating elements of theatre, dance and of course her trademark indie rock yowl! Perhaps best known for fronting the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Karen’s adventurous collaborations have recently seen her work with provocative legends such as filmmaker David Lynch and Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor, For STV though, Karen has called upon her closest friends to make this seven year project come to life. Meet the ‘glam team’…
As excited as we are about the Australian debuts of Light Asylum and Zola Jesus, you can’t really look past the triumphant return of one of the greatest Australian success stories in recent years –The Temper Trap. With their highly anticipated self-titled second album set to drop May 18, we’ve received 2 teasers that guarantee all formalities are out the window for their date with Vivid LIVE. Maybe they’ll get you dancing like these young men? The band certainly can’t wait – check out what drummer Toby Dundas had to say about performing at Vivid LIVE and on the Concert Hall stage:
To kick start your weekend our good friends at Co-Operative Music have unleashed the third track from Light Asylum’s eponymous debut album (due May 1) – check out ‘IPC’…
If you’ve already had a taste of their In Tension EP you’ll know what to expect – propulsive synths, deep, crusty drum machines and Shannon Funchess’ unmistakable vocal delivery. What we really like is how they’ve subverted their previous lo-fi haze and placed Funchess right up front in the mix, maybe they’ve been taking notes from a certain LCD member?
Our favourite moment of ‘IPC’ comes in at the 2.45 mark, a priceless combo of a whip sample and Funchess snapping ‘God Damn!’, pretty much sums up everything we love about this New York duo.
This morning we kicked off the program for Vivid LIVE 2012 alongside Vivid Light and Vivid Ideas. It was a long night as we finished up a few confirmations and copy changes but in the end we made it – in one case getting sign off 30 minutes before I went onstage.
At one point this year, our program was so driven by incredible women we actually toyed with the idea of doing an all female event. That would have been really interesting but also would have excluded some amazing projects that we wanted in the season. However, when you have a look at our website you’ll be struck by the remarkably strong spine of work by stridently original iconic and iconoclastic female artists.
Karen O in STOP THE VIRGENS
Florence + the Machine with the Ceremonial Orchestra
The Temper Trap
Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly & Sufjan Stevens
Janelle Monáe & the ArchAndroid Orchestra
Amon Tobin LIVE Beyond 3D ‘ISAM’
Efterklang & Sydney Symphony
SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS
My Brightest Diamond
Nights Like This - with Danny Brown & MED with Ellesquire, Halfway Crooks DJs
Modular Night – Tom Vek, Jonathan Boulet
FBI/Penny Drop Party – Zola Jesus, Light Asylum, Forces
Future Classic Party