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Features/Multi-arts/Music

Festival a sound idea

16 February 2021

Audible Edge is back! The festival of sound has released its line up for April, and it includes names that will probably surprise you. Curators Josten Myburgh and Annika Moses explain why sound is not just the province of musicians.

After a COVID hiatus in 2020 the annual Audible Edge festival, presented by Tone List, will run from 6 – 18 April.

Curators Josten Myburgh and Annika Moses have invited 40 local and international artists and provocateurs to make sound “in any way that makes sense to them” and this year’s guest list includes artists hailing from an exceptionally broad range of backgrounds.

Since the festival’s early beginnings in 2017 as a platform for international touring experimental musicians, Myburgh and Moses have expanded the focus to become more “open and porous”, and more accessible for audiences. As we chat on the phone it becomes clear that in this festival, sound is not just the province of musicians.

“We want to break it open and invite people who are thinking about sound in interesting ways,” Myburgh says. “This year the program is full of really different things, not just improvisation and experimental genres but also film, theatre collaborations, movement, hip hop, noise, metal, jazz…”.

Audible Edge features artists who are thinking about sound in interesting ways. Photo supplied by Lily Tait.

The program also has a strong dance component with a collaboration between lighting designer Kristie Smith, dancer Tahlia Russell and sound designer Joe Lui, and a commission from sound artist Alexander Turner and dancer Lauren Catellani.

“Lauren and Alex’s work is an example of a really intentional and very curious collaboration,” Moses explains. “Both have contributed conceptually to the work and the elements of sound and movement have both been considered equally. They are one of the most exciting movement/sound collaborations that I’ve seen at the moment.”

Both the curators were keen to explore sound art occurring in Australia’s geographic region (rather than the more traditional Euro-centric and American focus) which has led to the (virtual) inclusion of Namibian historian Memory Biwa and Zimbabwean DJ Robert Machiri. Their duo re-contextualises colonial archival recordings in a politically powerful sound collage, which festival audiences will be able to experience as part of one of the festival shows.

Other international artists appearing virtually include Philippine intermedia artist Tengal and the contorted Iranian folk music of Maral. Interstate artists include Victorian-based James Rushford, Thembi Soddell, Lily Tait and Queensland’s Jasmin Wing-Yin Leung.

Tengal is an intermedia artist, curator and cultural producer from Southeast Asia who will be contributing virtually to Audible Edge. Photo supplied

Locally there are plenty of people prepared to play with sound, from electronics composer Steve Paraskos to black metal ensemble Ashes of Burnt Sage and avant garde jazz drummer Ben Greene.

Moses and Myburgh say their role as curators is to give these artists unlimited permission to be brave and make work that excites them.

“Who decides what experiments are worth making? Artists are making that decision all the time, we just make the space for it to be witnessed,” Myburgh says.

If you’re new to Audible Edge, he recommends Nika Mo’s accessible folk music project or pop crossover artists Umairah Murtaza and Lana Rothnie.

Moses says there are multiple entry points to the festival. “If you are interested in synthesiser music or film, visual art, progressive rock or jazz, there are so many ways for people to access the work. We want to include as many worlds of sound making in Perth as possible, to create a gathering space where we can all be together and break the genre boundaries down.”

Myburgh agrees: “We want our audience to feel wrapped up in the excitement and frisson of the moment. There’s something for everyone but also things that will challenge. We don’t want the festival to make sense; as curators we want to rewrite our understanding of what sound can do, how it makes us move, feel and think.”

Audible Edge will take place 6-18 April. The full program will be available in March.

Pictured top: Josten Myburgh and Annika Moses are the curators of Audible Edge festival. Photo supplied

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Rosalind Appleby

Author —
Rosalind Appleby

Rosalind Appleby is an arts journalist, author and speaker. She is co-editor of Seesaw Magazine, author of Women of Note, and has written for The West Australian, The Guardian, The Australian, Limelight magazine and Opera magazine. She loves the percussion instruments which can be found in the uber cool parks.

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