Introduction to the Bent Leather Band
Joanne Cannon and Stuart Favilla
© copyright Bent Leather Band all rights reserved 2011.
"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
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.
© 2004 Stuart Favilla and Joanne Cannon all rights reserved.