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CD audio

The Other Side of Nostalgia 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; plus one solo bassoon composition "Truffles and Foie Gras"; plus one interactive bassoon work "candlelit".

Audio CD US$19.00 inc Worldwide Postage

track 1: wild [3:32]

track 2: the other side of nostalgia [18:38]

track 3: gaslight serenade [7:53]

track 4: stranger [6:10]

track 5: candlelit [6:18]

track 6: woolly [3:55]

track 7: truffles & foie gras [9:48]

track 8: free lunch [13:53]

total time [70:27]


The Other Side of Nostalgia

The music on this disc pays homage to some of our favorite musicians from the past. In reaction I guess, to the installation and new media trend in computer music, our music remains somewhat unfashionable. For instance; we deal with a live music paradigm, secondly we create our own musical language, thirdly we have constructed specialised instruments and lastly we aspire to virtuosity not accessibility.

The works of the following artists have helped us to create our music: Bruno Bartolozzi [New Sounds for Woddwind], Milton Babbitt [RCA Synth], Derek Bailey [MIA], Anthony Braxton [selected works], Cornelius Cardew [Scratch Music], John Coltrane [late free playing], Percy Grainger [Free Music], Daniel Kinetzy [Computer Sax], Hugh LeCaine [Sackbut], Max Mathews [Score following for Radio Drum], Harry Partch [tuning systems and folk music], Sergio Penazzi [bassoon techniques], Oska Sala [Mixtur Trautonium], L.Subramanium [Gamaka and Raga], Karlheinz Stockhausen [Cosmic Music and game pieces], Xiannis Xenakis [UPIC]. This list is by no means exhaustive but may reveal a sense of the "pioneer" in our music.

In fact it is almost impossible today to describe anything as either new or significant in music. The spirit of "pioneering" was part of a cold war world. Now the artistic shoreline is engulfed by an ocean of capitalism, cronies and a the spirit of free [not fair] trade. The advertising mantra of sex, status and luxury destinations underpins today's successful art. Craft for the computer musician, has become the ability to constantly update to the common market denominator. Musicians have become producers; their identities increasingly shaped by the technologies voice and no their own spirited hacking. Art is becoming prefab, music is becoming decor, craft is disappearing-redundant.

In this context we describe our music as "nostalgic". However unlike other nostalgic music styles, our music is not concerned with historical re-enactment, cool haircuts, lo-fi, minimalism, ambience, retro fashion or sampled loops from the past. It is concerned with the other side of nostalgia; the spirit of the "pioneer"; hacking synthesizers and audio plugins; building instruments; pushing technique to the limit; creating playing and believing in challenging music while forgetting about what success means today.

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 © 2004 Stuart Favilla and Joanne Cannon all rights reserved.


[Stuart Favilla and Joanne Cannon]

[Photo by Ross Bird]


[Joanne Cannon with Serpent]

[Photo by Ross Bird]

[CD artwork, designer leather paper cover sleve]



[Photo by Ross Bird]