Spin doc­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den spin­doc@ theaus­tralian.com.au

EVER been run over by a truck and just at the mo­ment when you felt what’s left of you be­ing drawn to­wards a tun­nel of bright light you heard the un­mis­tak­able ser­e­nade of An­dre Rieu’s al­bum And the Waltz Goes On play­ing in all its glory? Or maybe you’ve been dragged out to sea by a bad rip and, just as you were go­ing un­der for what seemed like the last time, a blast of Mahler’s Sym­phony No 8 in E flat ma­jor brought a mod­icum of calm to your predica­ment? If you have sur­vived one of th­ese tragic sit­u­a­tions or some­thing equally hor­rific (a big call, I ad­mit, in Rieu’s com­pany) you may con­sider nip­ping down to the pub some­time with Melbourne artist Saskia Moore, who would be more than pleased to hear your tale of woe. Fol­low­ing ex­ten­sive re­search Moore has dis­cov­ered that peo­ple who suf­fer near-death ex­pe­ri­ences of­ten hear clas­si­cal mu­sic as a sound­track to their last few min­utes — or not — on earth. SD has noth­ing to of­fer in the way of ex­pe­ri­ence to back up this re­search, other than a few near-un­con­scious ex­pe­ri­ences in which Iggy Pop and a bath full of home brew played a part, but it seems Moore is on to some­thing here. To that end she and Melbourne-based en­sem­ble Apart­ment House have col­lab­o­rated on a new work, Dead Sym­phony, a com­po­si­tion and light show in­spired by real near-death ex­pe­ri­ences. Ac­cord­ing to the blurb from Arts Cen­tre Melbourne, where the Dead Sym­phony per­for­mances will take place in Au­gust, ‘‘sound is un­der­stood to be one of the last senses left be­fore death’’ — I’m guess­ing along with sight, taste, smell and touch, de­pend­ing on the cir­cum­stances, but I could be wrong. Any­way, Moore re­searched her work by talk­ing to pre­em­i­nent pro­fes­sors in the field of neardeath­ness and also in­ter­pret­ing the ac­counts of peo­ple who have gone through that ex­pe­ri­ence. Moore has as­cer­tained — and I’m quot­ing again here — that the sounds and mu­sic heard in such des­per­ate cir­cum­stances are like lit­tle sym­phonies. If you would like to hear what she’s on about, the Play­house Re­hearsal Room from Au­gust 7 to 10 would be the place to be. SD had the great plea­sure of be­ing in­volved in the Art of Mu­sic Live con­cert that took place at Syd­ney Opera House last Mon­day, a char­ity event to raise funds for the Nord­off-Rob­bins Mu­sic Ther­apy or­gan­i­sa­tion, which uses mu­sic to en­cour­age de­vel­op­ment in the dis­abled and those with learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties. The orig­i­nal Art of Mu­sic pro­ject was de­vised in 2006. Ev­ery two years Aus­tralian and Kiwi vis­ual artists are asked to in­ter­pret a well-known song and the re­sult­ing art­works are auc­tioned off. This year it was de­cided to hold a con­cert, fea­tur­ing some of the songs that have been re­worked on can­vas. It was a won­der­ful evening of one-off per­for­mances by acts such as Tim Finn, Ian Moss and Iva Davies, among oth­ers, all of them de­liv­er­ing free of charge for a wor­thy cause. Among the high­lights were Syd­ney’s Josh Pyke, giv­ing a del­i­cate solo read­ing of the Church’s Un­der the Milky Way, Dave Ma­son’s emo­tional take on his band the Reels’

Quasi­modo’s Dream and Pre­fab Heart, and Katie Noo­nan, ac­com­pa­nied by bass player ex­traor­di­naire Jonathan Zwartz (see al­bum re­view above), do­ing an ex­quis­ite ver­sion of Cold Chisel’s Flame Trees. A Les Paul gui­tar given a cus­tom de­sign by Aus­tralian artist Michael Le­u­nig fetched $6000 dur­ing the auc­tion part of the evening. HAPPY birth­day to­day to Men at Work’s Colin Hay, who turns 60.

Katie Noo­nan and Jonathan Zwartz

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