Welcome to the Australian Art Music playlist! A monthly playlist of Classical, Jazz, Experimental & Electronic music focused on contemporary Australian composers, musicians and sound artists. 

It’s been fun to listen through the latest releases of the past few months (and a couple of earlier ones that I missed!), and I’m excited that this has led to quite a few new names on the playlist this month as well. We’ve got a wide mix of music this month from solo piano, to a cappella choir, to full orchestral works.

Australian Art Music playlist June
Clockwise from top left: Divisi Chamber Singers, photo supplied; Meta Cohen, photo © Red kite Photography; Bree van Reyk, photo © Xanthe Roxburgh.

Streaming is a great way to discover new music – attending gigs, or purchasing albums or merch is an even better way to support the artists you love – we’ve even set up a Merch Table link below to get you started! Don’t forget to check out the artists’ websites for more details and other ways to support.

I was thoroughly privileged to attend the premiere of Meta Cohen’s (I)dentity by Divisi Chamber Singers and Coady Green last year and the work has been safely tucked into my brain ever since. So getting to return to this work on Divisi’s first album release is a great pleasure. The writing is witty, catchy and shows each of the singers with careful mastery. Another wonderful work from the same album is Lore Burns’ Here Is A Safe Place, a soft and gentle listen, so much so I found it an arresting and magical track to begin the playlist with this month.

Into Light by Claire Cross immediately opens with depth and richness from Jordan Murray’s trombone playing before dissolving into the rippling texture of the rest of the band. The whole work has an expansive lilt which is a pleasure to the ears as the listener drifts. Escapement however, performed by Flora Wong (violin) and Jodie Rottle (mechanical metronome), captures the ears immediately and refuses to let go. Composer Chris Perren nimbly weaves violin gestures rhythms between ever fluctuating metronome beats in a way that is mesmerising and demands your focus as a listener. 

Oscar Smith’s Waringin (Banyan Tree) really stands out timbrally in this month’s playlist, performed by Indonesian group Gamelan Salukat, but I think it has some interesting links to Chris Perren’s work. Both utilise repeated rhythmic patterns as an anchor for listeners to centre themselves as various textures grow and shift. It is a fascinating piece that really rewards repeat listens, as each layer unfurls itself gradually over time.

Another work liquidly blending motion and buoyancy is Light Bent in Adoration by Rasa Daukus performed by Ampleya. The whole piece seems to revolve around deep and broad breaths, with the percussive piano ornamenting and supporting the vocal line in equal measure. The piano takes centre stage for Returning Home by composer Robert Davidson from his solo piano album, Diary Pages. The reflective works still have the sense of momentum I’ve come to expect from Robert’s music but it’s particularly fun to hear everything stripped back to these piano miniatures.

I hope you enjoyed the music and some of the new faces this month, definitely take the time to dig into their catalogues and the rest of the tracks on these albums. As mentioned before, if you enjoyed any of the Aussie Art Music playlist this month don’t forget to see if there are concerts to attend or albums to buy – I know the musicians would really appreciate your support.

But, if you’re looking for more music to stream, the full Australian Art Music Archive has also been updated on Spotify (with just shy 100 hours of music to discover!).

Australian Art Music Playlist

Curated by Cameron Lam

Tracklist

Here Is A Safe Place by Lore Burns | performed by Divisi Chamber Singers
Lullaby for a Broken World by Susie Bishop | performed by The Marais Project
Amble by Flora Carbo | performed by Flora Carbo, Helen Svoboda & Jacob Hiser
(I)dentity by Meta Cohen | performed by Divisi Chamber Singers & Coady Green
Into Light by Claire Cross | performed by Claire Cross, Hannah Cameron & Jordan Murray
Waringin (Banyan Tree) by Oscar Smith | performed by Gamelan Salukat
String Quartet No 5, Gregorian Funk: IV Passacaglia by Romano Crivici | performed by Elektra String Quartet
Sonata for flute and piano: Introduction and finale by Tom Henry | performed by Derek Jones & Jerry Wong
Piano Sonata No 4: III Fury by Carl Vine | performed by Xiaoya Liu
Threaded Stars 2 by Jennifer Fowler | performed by Jacinta Dennett
Escapement by Chris Perren | performed by Flora Wong & Jodie Rottle
What To Do With The Time Given To Us by Hanli Sean Botha | performed by Hanli Sean Botha
A Different Idea of Love by Luke Howard | performed Luke Howard, Budapest Art Orchestra & Péter Pejtsik
Light Bent in Adoration by Rasa Daukus | performed by Ampleya
All About KB by Jeremy Rose | performed by Jeremy Rose, Steve Barry, Noel Mason & Alex Hirlian
Superclusters Pt III by Bree van Reyk | performed by Bree van Reyk, Veronique Serret, Jim White, Mick Turner, Zoe Hauptmann, Nick Wales, Jason Noble, Sandy Evans, Freya Schack-Arnott, Timothy Constable, Joshua Hill, Mohammed Lelo & The Letter String Quartet
Returning Home by Robert Davidson 

Want to recommend music for future playlists? Tag #AussieArtMusic on Twitter or Cameron Lam on Facebook or TwitterFor previously featured music and merch visit the Australian Art Music archive and archive Merch Table.

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