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Speak Percussion presents Polar Force

Date Sound Installation: Polar Force - Aray, 25 - 27 November 2022
Location Huddersfield Town Hall, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
Date Polar Force - Agglomeration of Measurement, 27 November 2022
Time 4:00pm (GMT)
Location Huddersfield Town Hall, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
Date: 27.11.2022 Time: 4:00pm (GMT)

Speak Percussion has shaped the sound of 21st century Australian percussion music through the creation and presentation of ambitious arts projects. It engages in world-class, risk-taking and innovative projects with many of the world’s leading exponents of experimental and new music. It has commissioned and premiered over 130 percussion works, and contributed new masterworks to the global percussion repertoire.

This year Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//) will feature Speak Percussion’s sound installation, Polar Force – Aray, an eight-channel sound installation expressing the experience of a remote Antarctic research station through the convergence of sound, site and performance.

Situated within the remarkable white inflatable structure that houses Polar Force – Array, will be a solo percussion event unfolding as a choreographed, immersive, multi-channel sound experience. Polar Force – Agglomeration of Measurement is a survey of work, spanning 15 years, articulating some of the creative relationships surrounding Speak Percussion artistic director  and artist Eugene Ughetti’s percussive language and a 21st-century Australian percussion sound.

hcmf// Programme

Polar Force – Array
Friday 25 – Sunday 27 November, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Huddersfield Town Hall

Speak Percussion present Array, an eight-channel sound installation expressing the experience of a remote Antarctic research station through the convergence of sound, site and performance. The result is an immersive and affective experience of the spaces, protocols and conditions comprising the bracing polar environment.

Array features recordings of radar and scientific instrumentation used for upper atmospheric research and terrestrial communication. These sounds reveal the sophisticated technology and architecture used and heard within the Australian Antarctic Territory. Many of the recordings focus on the way the built environment is transformed through stress and fatigue caused by extreme climate and weather events including freezing temperatures and high velocity winds.

Together with the field recordings are layers of live performance using custom-built instrumentation to produce a unique series of textures, rhythmic cycles, resonances and timbral phenomena. The application of tension and pressure upon the assorted instruments recalls the distressed state of highly specialised infrastructure found within the perimeters of a research station.

In three parts, Array presents Antarctica as a liminal space oscillating between representation and abstraction to challenge often repeated tropes. The intent is to blur the relationship between the recorded and performed to produce a hyper-realistic encounter of the powerful forces that operate at the margins of our planet. One hears the precariousness of a remote research station contorted by unrelenting stress, compressed air forced through waterborne fipples and the volatility of weather events. Rather than consider it as a place on the edge of elsewhere, Antarctica and its assemblage of durable, super modern colonies provides an archetype for an uncertain future in anticipation of the volatility that awaits.

Agglomeration of Measurement
Sunday 27 November, 4:00 pm
Huddersfield Town Hall 

Agglomeration of Measurement is a survey of work, spanning 15 years, articulating some of the creative relationships surrounding Eugene Ughetti’s percussive language and a 21st-century Australian percussion sound. The program features recent experimental compositions focussing on individual traditional percussion instruments including the woodblock, drum, cymbal, gong, and the body itself.

Situated within the remarkable white inflatable structure that also houses Speak Percussion’s installation Array, this solo percussion event unfolds as a choreographed, immersive, multi-channel sound experience. This touring version of the project has been directed by German-born, Sydney-based choreographer Martin del Amo and features his movement work for solo, silent percussionist, Inaudible.

Many of the works in Agglomeration of Measurement were the germ for larger-scale compositions and collaborations, forming some of the major works in Speak Percussion’s oeuvre. Sitting around these solo works are other percussion solos, trios, quartets, sextets, duodecets, mixed ensemble works and an opera. Featured composers also include some of Australia’s leading voices in new and experimental composition such as Liza Lim, Thomas Meadowcroft, Nina Buchanan and Alexander Garsden.

Produced by hcmf// supported by British Council and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of UK/Australia Season 2021-22.

About the Artist

Speak Percussion projects have toured to leading festivals and venues including Maerzmusik (Germany), SONICA (UK), The Barbican (UK), Darmstadt (Germany), Ruhrtrienniale (Germany), Transart (Italy), Tage für Neue Musik, Zurich (Switzerland), TIPC (Taiwan), Salihara (Indonesia), CONNECT (Sweden), ARENA (Latvia), GAIDA (Lithuania) and Café OTO (UK).

Speak Percussion has four times been awarded an AMC/APRA Art Music Award. It received an Honorary Mention for the Prix Ars Electronic 2019 for Polar Force and it won a 2014 Green Room Award for Fluvial.

‘Virtuosic and adventurous.’ The New York Times