About The work

    About The work

    The Secret Noise finds much of its inspiration in cultural practices that, for various reasons, have been shielded or hidden from public consumption. The work has evolved as a sequence of scenes, each of which poetically references diverse types of music-making at the fringes of public experience. From sacred forms of ceremonial music to legally extinguished compositions, to backmasking and personal music players, The Secret Noise is a poetic response to such practices and a critical commentary on our understanding of music as a public or private exchange.

    The work spans scored and improvised music involving conventional and unconventional instruments as well as electronic music. Although the entire work is based on common themes and sound sources, the recorded form of the work is not a recreation of the live experience. The live work tends towards a more dramatic theatrical aesthetic while the recorded work tends towards a more austere and meditative aesthetic making creative use of attributes particular to the vinyl and CD media.

    The live work in produced by Ensemble Offspring and involves eight experienced artists from different disciplines who have created the work in a collaborative fashion.

    The Secret Noise is conceptually grouped around themes under the following titles each referring to different conceptions of secret or private music.

    Plis Cachetés
    Forbidden Spectacles
    Music of Friends

    Plis Cachetés

    Plis Cachetés takes as its starting point a surreal exploration of artistic ownership and the law. It forms the basis of the opening installation of the live show where audience’s plis cachetés (drawings by Harry Pierce) are interpreted/authorised with individualised performances.

    From paranoid governments to monopolising corporations, hyper-protective artist-estates and composers withdrawing their early works, this scene is a compendium of sound based on music that has been legally extinguished from the public experience. This scene takes its name from the French Scientific Academy’s method of patenting ideas via the submission of proposals as plis cachetés (sealed envelopes). In the period following the French revolution thousands of ideas were sealed and, until recently, remained lost and unavailable to the public. This scene alludes to proposals found in the plis cachetés concerning the invention of new forms of music and dance notation. The drawings used in this ‘entry’ scene allude to arcane notational languages and were created by artist Harry Pierce. Often added to by audience-participants the drawings are interpreted into movement and sound by the performers in a surreal experience somewhere between bureaucratic routine and the intimacy of a private show.



    Critical review

    The Secret Noise is an eccentric, but sensitively constructed evening that is part installation, part dance theatre and part concert … Ensemble Offspring are pioneers and with this production they have left the first footprints in the sand of an exciting new territory for Australian performance.

    Maxim Boon.

    Damien Ricketson\\\\\\\'s immersive exploration of secret music is a trail-blazing triumph. Live Reviews, Limelight Magazine 21/11/14
    This collaborative music/dance/theatre work communicates not only the sound of music but also the experience of musical process as reception, memory and fantasy. It’s a critical commentary on our understanding as concert-goers of interpersonal musical exchange. What if ‘classical music’ were individually tailored and responsive at all times?
    Felicity Clark. The concert: surreptitiously re-thought” RealTime Dec-Jan 2014
    a playful and original exploration of gesture, sounds and the ghosts of machines that produce them. Peter McCallum. Playful music-making beneath Sydney Town Hall” 
    Sydney Morning Herald 23/11/14
    For all the experimentalism, surreality and abstraction, it’s a throughly engaging, watchable and listenable happening, one that unfolds and unfurls at a gentle pace … Edgy isn’t always assimilable, but the virtuosity of Ensemble Offspring and its esteemed partners, their collective sense of genre-defying adventure, commitment and striving for excellence distinguishes this work as truly cutting-edge. It’s, at once, very now, with more than a hint of tomorrow.
    Lloyd Bradford Syke: The Secret Noise: Ensemble Offspring” Syke on Stage 8/12/14

    Audience review

    I have never been as blown away at any contemporary music concert as I was tonight … This is an experience I\\\\\\\'ll never forget.
    I’m still buzzing from what, for me, was the best new music performance I’ve ever enjoyed.
    a visually and aurally engrossing creation seamlessly blending live music (with some strange instruments), dance and design. It\\\\\\\'s subtle, witty, sexy and surprising and features wonderful talent.
    Tonight’s performance was the most mesmerising musical experience I have had in years, by far. Absolutely stunning and inspirational work. Perfect and unique in every way.
    I LOVED it!! The whole crazy experience … cutting so many edges. I felt like I was being taken on some Magical Mystery Tour.
    It was delightful, inventive, unexpected and incredibly well executed.
    the best thing I\\\\\\\'ve seen all year. Combining musicians, dancers and an actor, it\\\\\\\'s an immersive, engaging, funny and serenely beautiful work.
    Exquisite! I enjoyed every minute of it! … Simply gorgeous”
    Fantastically experiential”
    beautiful to the eye and ear”
    Awesome performance … brilliantly conceived
    It was so beautiful I almost cried
    A really pleasurable kind of strange
    Every new section was surprising, but in the most gentle kind of way
    I was suspended in that moment between being given an anaesthetic and falling asleep
    that show was so f****** good, my wife and I were left completely speechless.
    A sourced collation of audience feedback available on request.


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