Collarbones Meets Synergy Percussion
Collarbones are an electronic duo from Sydney/Adelaide, who initially met and collaborated over MSN Messenger. They play glitchy, ambient electronica, like this:
Synergy Percussion is a lauded contemporary ensemble with forty years of experience. They perform intricate, engaging pieces, like this:
In what promises to be one of the most interesting gigs at Vivid Festival this year, the two groups will be performing side by side. I had a chat with Marcus from Collarbones about the upcoming show.
“It was the idea of Tim Constable, the artistic director at Synergy, and of Andrew Batt-Rawden, the curator of ‘New Wave: Sound’ for Vivid Music, to bring together a pop act and a contemporary-classical ensemble,” Marcus tells me.
“I have a little bit of history with Synergy Percussion; I’ve written work with them before, a piece called ‘Puff’, two year ago. I’ve also written music for Andrew’s ensemble, Chronology Arts. So, we’re all familiar, but our interactions have always just been me, writing classical or contemporary-classical music for their acoustic ensembles.”
This time, it’ll be a little different. The upcoming show is to consist of Collarbones tunes, from as early as their 2011 album Iconography, and including their unreleased EP, Atlantis 2014. These tracks will be reimagined, then performed live by Collarbones and three members of Synergy Percussion. Asked about the rehearsal process, Marcus was quick to point out that this project will be a cooperative creative endeavour.
“We’ve been working very collaboratively. I’ve written a number of arrangements, and so has my friend Austin Buckett (of Golden Blonde). We bring these arrangements, which are usually quite loosely notated, and develop them further during rehearsal. Most of my arrangements are radically different from the original songs, whereas Austin’s are much more faithful.
“Synergy Percussion definitely have a good deal of creative input when we’re working through those arrangements. I’ve sort of left them open, and they make things work as best they can; even if you’ve written a completely prescriptive arrangement, it still has to be realised in terms of the instrumentation. That realisation is half of the work. It’s like writing nine new songs, in a way.
Though Marcus notes that bringing together a young pop act and an experienced ensemble isn’t an entirely new concept, this show promises to offer a pretty unique experience: some of Australia’s most progressive, engaging electronica, performed live with some of the country’s most experienced percussionists.
During our conversation, Marcus and I got onto the topic of publicity for contemporary artists.
“I think that making something that’s less available, and being sought after, is really desirable as an artist,” says Marcus. “Otherwise, you’re constantly having to promote yourself, to be your own salesman – and that’s not your job as a musician. Your job is to make stuff that’s cool.”
On the 6th of June, head on over to Collarbones Meets Synergy Percussion, and see them do just that.