Stephen O’Malley

What is Music? 2009

Posted: Nov 3, 2009

What Is Music?
12-19 December 2009

After a thunderous return in 2008, the What Is Music? Festival is back again attempting even more ridiculous and sublime experimental music programming! After 15 years the reputation of the Festival speaks for itself and 2009 will see even more incredible performances and events unleashed upon Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

American laptop terrorist John Wiese will perform his first solo shows ever on these shores, having played the festival as a member of Sunn O))) in 2005, as well as premiering visual scores for large-scale ensemble. Expect the extremest of frequencies, and some of the best improv you've ever heard.

Joining us from Poland will be Musica Genera festival curators Robert Piotrowicz and Anna Zaradny. Robert is a master sculptor of dense, layered synth beauty, though his infamous grindcore roots lend a sense of the brutal/beautiful/brutiful. Anna brings a much needed and appreciated sense of feminine grace and patience with her complex, slow-shifting laptop work, not to mention an impressive pedigree including collaborations with Burkhard Stangl, Zbigniew Karkowski, Tony Buck and Cor Fuhler.

From Japan: hercel. Shayne Bowden/Ayako Mori, man/woman, painful/ecstatic, creation/destruction, foreign/familiar and lots more tasty dichotomy action, all wrapped in a crunchy shell of power electronics. Essential viewing for both the modern intellectual neanderthal and primitive reactionist ├╝bermensch alike.

Of course all your favourite locals (and expatriates) will be there too, including Oren Ambarchi, Jon Rose, Clayton Thomas, Clare Cooper, Jim Denley, Alan Lamb, David Shea, Brendan Walls, Matt "Skitz" Sanders and many more (un)usual suspects presenting new works, new sounds, new experiences.

Perhaps the most exciting event though will be the final night of the festival that Melbourne's already talking about, 50/50. Five conductors, four screens, three hundred seats, too much excitement in one massive night. 50 bands. 50 minutes. Not to be missed.

For more information including full lineup, venues and updates, visit