The Bent Leather Band

Live Electronic Music

Bassoon Multiphonics Project

New Electronic Leather Instruments


Workshops and Teaching

©2004 bent leather band

Home About Shop Multiphonics Workshop Instruments Resources     email us    
CD audio

Children of Grainger Bent Leather Band: Joanne Cannon and Stuart Favilla

Music category: experimental electronic free music; live studio recording; improvisation; lightharp and serpentine bassoon MIDI instruments; live audio processing with MaxMSP.

Audio CD AUS$19.00 inc Postage

For Garry
1. Overture [4:34] Interview circa 1950
2. Bent On Success [5:38] Duo Contra-monster and Light-harp using contrasting delays and feedback.
3. Hills and Dales [1:17] Early recording of free music.
4. Dark Cupboard [7:09] Duo Serpentine-bassoon and Light-harp exploring canon delays and gliding tones.
5. You Have Feelings I Have Taste [2:26] Bassoon accompanying Duo Art piano roll recording of Colonial Song.
6. Blue Letter [5:35] Serpentine-bassoon solo with feedback tones and unusual granular echoes.
7. Sussex Mummers [4:27] 1950s recording of butterfly piano with Duo Art piano roll and Light-harp.
8. Jawing [3:25] Light-harp solo with live sampler.
9. Hymn [3:37] Free music experiments and one of Grainger’s home recordings.
10. My Oar [6:22] Solo Bassoon
11. Gong in a Storm [7:08] Contra-monster with early 1901 wax cylinder recording of Erkeeta Corroboree singer, Choir performance from Japan concert and thuderstorm recorded by Peter Mumme.
12. Thunks and Deemths [6:42] Light-harp and Contra-monster
13. Punished [4:47] Interview concludes.

These works are live studio recordings recorded straight to disk as they were performed. All serpent signal processing performed with MAX MSP, Pluggo and hacking selected VST effects. All LightHarp sounds were derived from a single piano sample with processing.

Price: US$ 19.00 includes worldwide postal service

Free Music

Aesthetic Mission:
......Music is an art not yet grown up; its condition is comparable to that stage of Egyptian bas-reliefs when the head and legs were shown in profile while the torso appeared “front face” - the stage of development in which the myriad irregular suggestions of nature can only be taken up in regularised or conventionalised forms. With Free Music we enter the phase of technical maturity such as that enjoyed by the Greek sculptors when all aspects and attitudes of the human body could be shown in arrested movement.

Existing conventional music (whether “classical”; or popular) is tied down by set scales, a tyrannical (whether metrical or irregular) rhythmic pulse that holds the whole tonal fabric in a vice-like grasp and a set of harmonic procedures (whether key-bound or atonal) that are merely habits, and certainly do not deserve to be called laws. Many composers have loosened, here and there, the cords that tie music down. Cyril Scott and Duke Ellington indulge in sliding tones; Arthur and others use intervals closer than the half tone; Cyril Scott (following my lead) writes very irregular rhythms that have been echoed, on the European continent, by Stravinsky, and others; Schoenberg has liberated us from the tyranny of conventional harmony. But no non-Australian composer has been willing to combine all these innovations into a consistent whole that can be called Free Music.

It seems to me absurd to live in an age of flying and yet not to be able to execute tonal glides and curves - just as absurd as it would be to have to paint a portrait in little squares (as in the case of mosaic) and not to be able to use every type of curved lines. If, in the theatre, several actors (on the stage together) had to continually move in a set theatrical relation to each other (to be incapable of individualistic, independent movement) we would think it ridiculous, yet this absurd goose-stepping still persists in music. Out in nature we hear all kinds of lovely and touching “free”; (non-harmonic) combinations of tones, yet we are unable to take up these beauties and expressivenesses into the art of music because of our archaic notions of harmony.Personally I have heard free music in my head since I was a boy of 11 or 12 in Auburn, Melbourne. It is my only important contribution to music. My impression is that this world of tonal freedom was suggested to me by wave movements in the sun that I first observed as a young child at Brighton, Vic., and Albert Park, Melbourne.

Yet the matter of Free Music is hardly a personal one. If I do not write it someone else certainly will, for it is the goal that all music is clearly heading for now and has been heading for through the centuries. It seems to me the only music logically suitable to a scientific age….

Percy Aldridge Grainger, Dec.6, 1938

Review of Bent Leather Band [Jon Rose]

One of the worst indications of a culture in decline is shown in the way in which the new orthodoxy passes through the media unquestioned. With to the practice of music, I have come across a number of articles in such magazines as The Wire or, more locally, Real Time which have obviously been written by people who have never spent any 'Real length of time' anywhere near the process of creating live music...well certainly not for a living anyway. Out of a list of dumb art statements on contemporary music, probably the most reductive is the idea that a lap top IS a musical instrument. This is not the space or even the space bar to go into the problem in detail but to say it clearly, even a simple musical instrument must have some sort of direct physiological feedback, otherwise by definition, it cannot be a musical instrument. I'm sorry but hitting the return button to spew out endlessly repeatable digitised of someone' else's musical experience (usually) does not get within a monkey's fart of being a musician working with a musical instrument. If we are going to replace all that scraping, plucking, hitting and blowing that's been going on over the last 100,000 years, it's gonna have to be a darn sight more hands on than is presently possible with a lap top (which doesn't care if you are doing your e-mail, twiddling your mouse in a graphics programme, or pumping out compressed bass drum beats in 4/4).

Well the good news is that there are a few people around the globe that have been dealing with this problem. It is very early days and there hasn't been much development as yet but there has been some limited success with real world to midi sensors, trying to bring some physicality to the inert plastic. It's quite crude stuff but the work goes on in a few funded institutions and more importantly among the mavericks of contemporary music, yes in Australia too.

Recently I had the good fortune to come across the work of Stuart Favilla and Joanne Cannon. With their kids falling about over the leads at odd moments and a very 'back yards of Melbourne' approach to improvisation, these two launched themselves into half a dozen demo-come-concerts which were wonderfully fresh and without pretension. 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. The music never reached the end, they just stopped somehow suddenly, like good music so often does. They resisted the temptation, of a number of couples playing improvisation, of hamming it up in a domestic argument or worse, going all new age, warm and fuzzy. I enjoyed their unfashionable use of dynamics... [Jon Rose]

copyright © 2006 Stuart Favilla and Joanne Cannon all rights reserved.


[Joanne Cannon with Contra-Monster]



[Stuart Favilla and Joanne Cannon]

[Photo by Ross Bird]



[CD artwork, designer leather paper cover sleve]




[A Selection of Grainger's Whips]

Courtesy of Grainger Musuem Melbourne