no new noise

In an age of personal assistants hidden inside mobile phones, driverless cars and increasingly self-aware technology, no new noise asks the dangerous question: how long will it be until artificial intelligence replaces composers and musicians?

Three composers will respond to this provocative inquiry, creating new works for a powerhouse improvising ensemble of the most awarded innovative Australian musicians from the fields of jazz, new music and improvisation, to realise a new trailblazer in the presentation of contemporary music.

Pairing jazz rhythm section, electric guitars, brass, autonomous electronics, multiple vocalists and live processing, no new noise promises to deliver an entirely new and thought provoking musical experience.

Composers Joe O’Connor, Reuben Lewis and Alistair McLean will question authenticity in an age of digital reproduction, ask whether computers can develop a creative aesthetic, ponder the very nature of intelligence and even give over control to our new A.I. overlords in a trio of works that promise to sound like nothing else.

no new noise premiered on Oct 6th 2017 at The Substation, as part of Melbourne Festival.


Partial Disclosure, Joe O’Connor

Whether listening to a recording or hearing amplified live music, sound is captured and converted into electricity, sent through long lengths of copper, converted to 1s and 0s, chopped up and altered, and turned back into vibrations using magnets.

By exploring the relationships between amplification, digital processing and acoustic instruments, this work will ask how these common processes may alter an authentic performance of music, what they change and what may be lost.

I know that I know, Reuben Lewis

By merging famous, found, and improvised text, I know that I know will question the nature of intelligence, both human and artificial.

Recordings of these texts will serve as source material around which the ensemble will improvise new accompaniment, as multiple live vocalists and pre-recorded parts chart the development of human intelligence from its initial awakening to the invention of self-aware computers.

electric sheep, Alistair McLean

Paying homage to the ‘game music’ of Zorn, electric sheep is a game piece for improvising ensemble and computer, where the computer serves as director, conductor and ensemble member. Making decisions, instructing musicians and controlling the course of the performance, the computer will truly lead the performance, creating a genuine synthesis between human and artificial creativity.

Georgie Darvidis – vocals

Ben Hanlon – double bass

Kieran Hensey – saxophones

Bob Jarvis – coding

Reuben Lewis – trumpet

Alistair McLean – guitars

James McLean – drumkit

Freya Shack-Arnott – cello

Joe O’Connor – keyboards

no new noise is generously supported by the Alan C Rose Memorial Trust Scholarship.