Des Cowley

Des Cowley is the Rare Printed Manager at the State Library of Victoria, and is a regular contributor to Rhythms magazine and online music magazine Addicted to Noise

Review: Of Deities and Demons – Australian Art Orchestra and Baliphonics, in ecstatic trance

Of Deities and Demons grew directly out of AAO Artistic Director Peter Knight’s meeting with drummer and Baliphonics leader Samudi Suraweera during a visit Knight made to Sri Lanka. The conversations and the friendship that grew between these two musicians led to the idea of meshing the experimental inclinations of the AAO with the yak bera (demon drum), and other traditional instruments of Sri Lanka.

Review: Mark Isaacs, solo piano extemporisations at Bird’s Basement

Upon first entering Bird’s Basement, I was immediately conscious of the crystalline sound of the piano, each unamplified note lingering in the space, untrammelled by its neighbours. The audience, in darkness, appeared hushed, as if intensely focused on the music: lyrical, melodic and restrained. As I was drawn into this music, I was conscious of its fragile delicacy, as Mark Isaacs mined the upper register, unafraid of summoning sheer beauty from his instrument.

REVIEW: I Hold the Lion’s Paw – Abstract Playgrounds

I heard something of Miles’ ‘Big Fun’the first time I played I Hold the Lion’s Paw’s ‘Abstract Playgrounds’.There, in the opening track ‘(outtakes from the)’ is that same soupy mix, the same muddy rhythms, as if primeval matter, inchoate, is ever-so-slowly coalescing into form. There is an urgency and drama inherent in that opener, as it carefully leads the listener in: what directions this music will take is a wide-open question.