The Bent Leather Band

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Bassoon Multiphonics Project

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Introduction to the Bent Leather Band

Joanne Cannon and Stuart Favilla

© copyright Bent Leather Band all rights reserved 2011.

Introduction

"The music stopped and started, fumed and erupted, turned off at obscure angles like a reconstituted 1960's Holden fitted with two steering wheels in the hands of a couple of jackaroos. [Jon Rose, 2002]"

The music of Joanne Cannon and Stuart Favilla is both unique and bizarre in its approach. Their desire to improvise a new and original music together has developed an approach that considers all aspects of music making. "We both play conventional instruments, improvise and compose. We realized early on that we didn't just want to push conventional instruments into new areas. We wanted to use technology, in its own right, not to synthesize existing sounds but to play new sounds- yet unheard of. Carrying this approach over into live performance forced us to invent new instruments and this in turn put us in a completely new space within the Australian musical map. [Stuart F.]"

Joanne came out of the Orchestra because for a bassoonist to stay there is a slow and certain death. "Its pretty limiting for the bassoon in the Orchestra, you don't really get much of a chance to really play or see what the instrument is capable of. In Australia there is also a sour expectation that the instrument is there for the obligatory fart effect. Your virtuosity as a player is rarely tested rather your ability to conform and fit in with the personalities in your section is paramount. I still like orchestral music but in an artistic sense within Australia, I think it's currently comatose on life support. [Joanne C.]"

Stuart, on the other hand started off in the Jazz scene a bit. "Jazz is a fantastic tradition and a great vehicle for improvising. It is more a nostalgic thing for me though. I don't feel it is the right musical direction for Australians. Jazz is very dangerous, once you become immersed in the Jazz wash you can never seem to effectively rinse it out of your clothes, its not really colorfast music. Improvising in an electronic and abstract sound multiverse however, makes great sense to me. The frontier here is a large, unexplored and unfortunately quite often an irrelevant place to inhabit. [Stuart F.]"

They are interested in a complete approach to their music. This means creating the instruments, sounds, software and the techniques for playing the instruments. Their music is diverse; multi-layered, flowing, timbral, raucous, dense, multi-phonic, microtonal; the usual suspects for deranged fringe dwelling experimental pioneer musicians. They love performing to the delight of audiences in Australia and overseas and also are available for workshops and residencies. They have constructed a number of instruments including a serpentine leather electronic bassoon and Light Harp. The leather instruments pictured were made by; Tasmanian artist Garry Greenwood in collaboration with Joanne and Stuart. Other instruments have been made with the help of instrument maker David S. Brown and interface developer Robin Whittle.

 

Biographies

Joanne Cannon is one of Australia's leading bassoonists and experimental musicians. Her work is recognized for its combination of improvisation, experimental instruments and computer interaction. Joanne began her career as a professional Orchestra musician, but felt the bassoon was limited in this setting. She left the orchestra to pursue improvisation and composition where she has developed new frontiers, extending the bassoon’s capabilities, developing microtonal and multi-phonic techniques, and through the composition of scored works for the virtuoso. She has also developed a number of spectacular digital wind controller instruments including the leather Serpentine-bassoon and Contra-monster and is amongst the world’s foremost meta- [modified] instrumentalists and exponents of live signal processing. She is currently undertaking PhD study into Playable Instrument Systems at Melbourne University’s Interactive Design Group, Faculty of Science.

One of Australia's most innovative and creative musicians, Stuart Favilla specializes in synthesizer performance. Stuart studied with notable Australian musicians Keith Humble, Jeff Pressing, Graham Hair, Michael Harvey and Simone de Haan. Stuart has also many years experience as a jazz pianist and a trained for several years as a Karnatic Indian musician at Melbourne’s Sruthi-laya School. He has been recognized both for his talent and for the innovations he has contributed to the field of computer music. A composer-performer Stuart’s skill base encompasses improvisation, composition, software programming, electronics, music-production, instrument building, teaching and research. Stuart is also an ophthalmic electro-physiologist for the Monash Hospital [Melbourne] and Associate research fellow for the Monash Department of Surgery.

 

 

copyright © 2004 Stuart Favilla and Joanne Cannon all rights reserved.

 

 

[Joane Cannon]

 

 

[Stu Favilla]