John Cale & Liam Young

LOOP>>60Hz : Transmissions from The Drone Orchestra

12 - 13 September 2014 / 20:00

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John Cale

‘A pioneer who refuses to stop innovating’ NME

Over the course of a career that began in the 1960s, John Cale has built up a body of work as a musician, singer, songwriter, producer, film composer and visual artist. Cale has been at the vanguard of a myriad of creative disciplines – the artist who began his musical career in a youth orchestra in Wales and wrote his first composition while still at school developed a penchant for avant-garde at a London art college, and was guided to New York by the hand of Aaron Copland and John Cage.

He abandoned conventional wisdom, throwing away his classical scholarship and trading it in to contort his beloved viola into what would become his signature sound. An encounter with LaMonte Young set Cale on a new path, cultivating the then-unfamiliar practice of holding a single chord for hours, creating an inexplicable movement and rhythm that was unique to each listener. All of this set the stage for a hugely influential underground career, progressing from the Velvet Underground’s noise-bending attack on rock and roll through a constantly surprising solo career to the truly unclassifiable music he makes today.

Along the way he has explored feedback, white noise, proto-punk, new wave, ambient, noise-pop, electronic, baroque, alternative, drone, experimental, classical and much else besides. And he has made innovations throughout; whether by tuning his instrument to the hum of a refrigerator, or by tucking paperclips into piano strings to augment a tonal scale, his unwavering pressure on technological boundaries has led him to this exciting new frontier. Now, linking up with an innovator in another field like Liam Young, Cale is embarking on one of the most exciting collaborations to date - combining two seemingly disparate disciplines to explore and extend the link between art and technology like never before.

Liam Young
Liam Young is a speculative architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. Trained as an architect in Australia, he has worked for a number of the world’s leading design practices. As technology increasingly became the fundamental driver of urban change Young became frustrated with the slow pace of traditional architecture and set up his own speculative futures think tank, Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today, a collaborative practice, working across science, technology and architecture.

To ground his design fiction practice in the realities of the present, Young has also co-founded the research studio Unknown Fields, an award winning nomadic workshop that travels on annual expeditions to the ends of the earth to investigate emerging trends and uncover the weak signals of possible futures.

Young now manages his time between exploring distant landscapes and prototyping the future worlds he extrapolates from them. He tells stories about the future city using fiction, film and performance as imaginative tools to explore the implications and consequences of emerging technologies and ecological conditions.

His projects include Under Tomorrow’s Sky, a science fiction movie set for a fictional future city developed through collaborations with scientists and technologists and most notably Electronic Countermeasures, a swarm of quadcopter drones that drift through the city broadcasting a pirate internet and file sharing hub.

In this collaboration with John Cale, Young’s collection of choreographed drones, typically associated with militarised applications, are repurposed as both disembodied instruments and dynamic audio infrastructure. If Cale’s sonic experiments with refrigerator motors talked to the sound of modernisation then – for Young – the distant rumble of soon-to-be-ubiquitous drone technologies suggests a soundscape for a new generation. Young speculates on how we might imagine the implications of these machines beyond the existing dystopian narratives. Loop>>60Hz suggests the possibility for a radical reimagining of the drone as a cultural object.


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