Vivid Music: Musify + Gamify Concert 2 Review

MusifyGamify2015-3So I went along to the Musify & Gamify Concert 2 last night. Located at the Reginald Theatre at the Seymour Centre, it was great to see the twinkling lights of Vivid across the road to help set the mood, remind people that it’s apart of Vivid Music and of course introduce the works we were about to see.

Inside the foyer, a small number of individuals gather close to the theatre doors, lots of familiar glances exchange, the singer from 7Bit Hero is excited to be there and reminds us to download the app before the show. Once we settle into our seats the show begins. In the dark space, Ollie the curator gives us a short introduction and explains the acts we’re about to see.

MusifyGamify2015-1The Infosthetic Orchestra (James Nichols, Laura Altman, Pia van Gelder, Tom Smith, Alex Whillas, Ollie Bown)

To open the concert, a group of 5 musicians/technicians on mixing desks and one Clarinet player had their backs turned to us as they took the reigns from the Maestro facing us on the main mixer.

On the screen above was the score for the piece, but it wasn’t the traditional score you might expect to see. This score shows a low fidelity graph with a data output of 15hz that displaying the volatile relationship between the Australian Dollar vs. Bitcoin over the period of 2012-2013. The graphs peaks and troughs ranged from a gentle heart beat to unbearable intense bass as the dollar cycled from $11 to over a $1000 dollars during the piece. It’s hard the describe – but as the piece went on, there were a number of digital sounds that resembled the sounds of wailing ambulances, dialing phones, lawn mowers and other digital noises.

MusifyGamify2015-2Paul Heslin (ACT)

The dark space is illuminated by the sight of 8 x CRT TV’s, all of different sizes. The relics display only vision of static or menu modes and the stage is barely lit by these. The performer remains in the dark and stands next to a desk with a number of peripherals including a controller and voice augmenter.

The piece expressed some raw emotions that fluctuated between white noise and a number of distorted frequencies that kinda sound similar to the sounds that Aphex Twin produce. Other digital sounds resemble the distorted sound of a dog barking, human growling, a driving percussive sound, and some serious deep bass.

Most sounds were triggered by the use of a controller as the performer ‘played’ the sounds. The aggressive sounds were juxtaposed by moments of silence where the game reset. I’d like the think that the piece represented the intense feelings of lust,  desire and stages of frustration that playing a game makes you feel. It’s frustration that the player feels when the lose, drop the ball or let their team down and the seriousness that’s involved in all those stages of grieving. I think the organized sound in this piece offers a musical representation of what it’s like to experience that sense of lust and loss, even if it’s only for a fleeting moment.

MusifyGamifyExhibition-2015-1 Exhibition (Including works by Lucas Abela, David Kanaga, Michaela Davies and The Futile Research Lab.)

A number of the pieces at the exhibition urged the user to look, touch, feel and play. They let the art goer interact and engage with the work and gave them the opportunity to create an artistic contribution. For the works that rely on human interaction, it’s a surreal experience to see an artwork sitting there without interaction – a purposeless object? A cog in the machine waiting on another bit to do its thing to complete it. Without the participation, on quick glance, some might be seen as just a humming artwork.

MusifyGamifyExhibition-2015-2For the artists of the evening, a lot of their pieces relied on the use of technology. Using technology to create art is captivating enough on it’s own, but I find the bits that slip through the cracks even more intriguing. What happens when a work ‘fails’? What happens when something goes wrong. In this case, a new work is created as the artist loses control of their intended message and it kinda takes on a world and message of its own. What is lost or gained when a performance or art piece ‘fails’ at the attempt to portray a message?

This kind of subdued presence in a space is what I really like about digital pieces, they have a real sense of being in the moment and at any time can be disconnected,  reconnected, engaged and reengaged.

MusifyGamifyExhibition-2015-4 My favourite piece of the evening, Lucas Abela’s Mini Duelling Guitars really represented the ‘state of game.’ The pinball machine is made up of 2 electric guitars, an amp and some guitar fx. Essentially the gamer plays, the ball bounces around and hits strings and other bits and pieces and creates music.

MusifyGamifyExhibition-2015-5 MusifyGamifyExhibition-2015-6 MusifyGamifyExhibition-2015-7

In an age where physical media is no longer required to create organised sound, the potential for creation seems limitless. With waves of thought and technologies constantly moving, evolving and becoming more personalised, the digital music landscape is always changing and adapting.

MusifyGamify2015-4Austin Buckett performs with a new interactive AV work by David Kanaga (US)

In contrast the lighter piece saw Austin Bucket on the piano and a ‘gamer’ at a laptop facing toward each other. On the screen, a psychedelic 3D render of a dog travelling in a digital landscape. It’s pretty trippy – he meets a giant whale and basically travels around the earth/sky and it’s all from the perspective of the dog.

I wasn’t exactly across how the musical production was being made, did the gamer play the game and the performer create the soundscape based on what he was seeing, was the 3D render facilitated by the gamer from the notes played? I’m not exactly sure, but the ‘weird’ setting offered some lightness and created a sense of playfulness.

MusifyGamify2015-5 7 Bit Hero (solo set, QLD)
Definitely the stand out for the evening in terms of audience participation, a fun, strong performance and just a whole lot of fun.

MusifyGamify2015-6Viewers were asked to download the 7 bit Hero app and during the performance, tap to interact with the performance. With the aid of the projector, cute 8 bit animations explain the rules, song lyrics and tell the story. At the end of the piece, there is a ‘winner’ – he or she who tapped the fastest, who is then incorporated into the song and ultimately into the performance. This piece worked on a number of levels and I thought that these guys really captured the essence of the Musify Gamify theme.

Love, Festival Girl




Vivid Music: Musify + Gamify – Concerts @ Seymour


Looking to experience the next level of experimental sound and music in Sydney? Now in its third year, the Seymour Centre once again becomes the home for the most innovative new ideas in Australian Music as a part of Vivid Music.

The world of music production is changing and evolving past the point of needing physical media to create music. This debate brings together practitioners and thinkers from different worlds of music and digital design to re-imagine what music is and discuss where its future may lie.

In the 2015 Seymour Centre program, the focus is on exploring the interface between music and gaming. In the foyer, the contemporary exhibition offers an immersive and interactive experience that brings together an international series of musifications and gamifications, video games and generative music.


The Program also features New Wave Sound which are intimate concerts by some of Australia’s leading new music artisits including; Alana Blackburn, Daniel Blinkhorn (frostbYte), Robert Evans and a major performance event from composer Andrée Greenwell, Gothic.

The core of the event will consist of two concerts featuring adventurous experimental music by leading Australian artists, including Robbie Avenaim and Chris Abrahams, Ensemble Offspring, Alon Ilsar and 7Bit Hero. Each concert will be augmented by interventions happening outside the auditorium that involve “gamified” audience participation in the creation of music.

Personally I’m fascinated with the notion of augmented realities and am keen to see how ‘games’ will be used to create sound and challenge our notions of music in the digital age, so I’ll be heading along to one of the concerts.

Concert 1: (Everest, Friday 29th May)
The Ensemble Offspring perform works by Julian Day, Cor Fuhler, Damien Ricketson and Steffan Lanigro as well as Robbie Avenaim and Chris AbrahamsMichaela Davies. Also featuring Alon Ilsar on the airsticks and Lucas Abela’s on the Mini Duelling Guitars.

Concert 2 (Reginald, Saturday 30th May)
See 7Bit Hero and Austin Buckett perform with a new interactive AV work by David Kanaga and Paul Heslin. As well as this, The Infosthetic Orchestra features James Nichols, Laura Altman, Pia van Gelder, Tom Smith, Alex Whillas, Ollie Bown.


Musify and Gamify exhibition:
Exhibition – 10am – 10pm (excluding Sunday)
Runs 27th May – June 6th

Musify+Gamify Concert #1 – Everest Theatre, Friday 29th May:
Time 7.30pm.
Duration: 1 hr 10 mins
Adult $34, Concession $26

Musify+Gamify Concert #2, Reginald Theatre, Saturday 30th May:
Time 7.30pm.
Duration: 1 hr 10 mins
Adult $34, Concession $26

New Wave Sound performances:
Gothic – Reginald Theatre, Adult $36, Concession $24
Double Bass – Sound Lounge, Adult $25, Concession $15
Senex et Sonis, Sound Lounge, Adult $25, Concession $15
Bridge; electroacoustic review, Sound Lounge, Adult $25, Concession $15

Buy tickets from here. Images from here.

Musify + Gamify is part of Vivid Music @ Seymour.

Hope to see you there,
Love, Festival Girl

Vivid Sydney 2015 | 22 May – 8 June

VividVivid is back for another year, how exciting! So Vivid is just full on this year and it’s impossible for me to describe all the cool things that are happening. I’ve taken a page from Vivid and split it up into the main verticals, so here are some of my top picks.


Umm Daniel Johns, need I say more? This chameleon of music will be performing his long awaited solo album at the Sydney Opera House. Alongside this, he will also premier some rare reworks in two exclusive performances. Catch him on the 28 and 29 May – be sure to book.

DJ_VividLove soul? Let the The Opinion Afro Orchestra heal your soul. This nineteen piece powerhouse Afro-beat ensemble will take you to a soulful place in a secret location 5 minutes from the CBD. Don’t miss them – 24 May.

Soul_VividHead down to the Seymour centre to see Vivid come to life with the art of music. I’ll be heading down to explore Vivid Music: Musify + Gamify concerts. This event looks at some different perspectives of play – where play and games coincide. Don’t miss it – 29 & 30 May. Find out more about what’s happening at the Seymour Centre here.



Take a selfie with ‘You Are Here’ and interact with this 4m-tall sculpture to capture your perfect Vivid Sydney moment, upload and share at #vividsydney – and show us your best selfie using #HowSelfiesWork.

YAH_VividJellyfish Chandeliers! The streets of Chatswood turn into a deep under water world as glowing jelly fish float like chandeliers.


Space Folding – This towering cylinder displays light and sounds as it responds in real time to flight data from Sydney airspace.


Piano Stairs – is it just me or do you also want to recreate that awesome scene from the Movie Big. Located on the stairs of the AMP building in Circular Quay. Get your friends together to make some beautiful music and get a work out while you’re at it.


Swing Glow – located at First Fleet Park at the rocks, these glow swings are pretty much what you think they are. Swings that glow! Don’t forget to bring your tripod along to this one I think it could make some awesome photography effects.


The Dresses – I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by things that look like they floating, they just seem so eireyx. Located at Kendall Lane at The Rocks, these ‘apparitions’ are made up of hundreds of fibre-optic strands.


Meet your favourite YouTube star! MyChonny is my fav! Was hoping to see the Superwog and Community Channel but oh well…



If you’re not sure where to start, why not take a look at Vivid trails. These individuals have taken the hard work out of it and recommend some Vivid activities and approximately how long they take to explore. Great if your short of time and want to get a short burst of colourful culture.


All over Sydney the light is taking over the night. With installation across a range of Sydney suburbs do check it out. This year Pyrmont will be a star as one of Vivid’s precincts – Pyrmont Bridge all the way up to The Star’s spectacular rooftop bar and Vivid Lounge at Sky Terrace will be an urban playground.


Also, did I mention Digital freakin’ fireworks!? Where have you been all my life!?
Located in Pyrmont Bay Park, Pyrmont Pyro allows you to take control of your very own digital fireworks display via the beat of glowing drum sticks that transform both the projection and sound display.


If you’re keen on seeing the speakers and see ideas come to life? There are a number of speakers who will be involved with Vivid, including well known actor Noah Taylor who will be participating this year.

Visit the site for more info on Vivid including info on all the events, how to get around.

Hope to see you there.

Love, Festival Girl