A century ago, on the 12th of Decmber 1901, Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless signal. The letter "S" in Morse Code was sent 3000 km from Poldhu in Cornwall to St Johns, Newfoundland. So began the Radio Age. Loops and Topology created a work that celebrates the century with a 75-minute show looking back over some key figures and events as immortalised by radio recordings. The combined 8-piece band plays along with the recorded voices of Churchill, Hitler, Gandhi, Earhardt, Whitlam, Howard, Freud, Einstein, Bradman, Melba, and a host of others, including Marconi himself. These figures are heard in "voice portraits" - a new technique using characteristic intonation patterns of a person's speech to make melody. The band plays music designed to emphasise this melody, so that when Bill Clinton talks about "that woman", it sounds like he's singing. The result is a new kind of opera. The two ensembles combine different approaches - Topology's contemporary classical perspective and Loops' jazz background - to create a new, wide-ranging ethos.
The principal composers are Jonathan Dimond (multi-instrumentalist and educator) and Robert Davidson (referred to as "the leading composer of his generation" by Terry Riley, the "father of minimalism"), with Jamie Clark also a contributing writer. Both composers and both ensembles have been exploring the musical possibilities of speech for a number of years. Airwaves is the culmination of their efforts. Airwaves had its first outing in two sold-out performances at the 2001 Queensland Biennial Festival of Music. It was also performed at the end of that year at the Brisbane Powerhouse, around the actual 100th Anniversary of Marconi's first transmission. Airwaves was also toured to Adelaide for the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2002. There was a performance of a new version of "Airwaves" in the Powerhouse theatre in late 2006, with projected image.
Loops has been featured in the Brisbane Festival, Queensland Biennial, and has undertaken several national tours. The trio is resident ensemble at the Queensland Conservatorium. Topology have performed in the Olympics Festival, the Brisbane Festival, Queensland Biennial and the Sydney Spring Festival, where they were awarded Best Ensemble. They have premiered dozens of Australian and international works to critical acclaim since forming in 1996, and have played everywhere from a support for pop group Savage Garden to Fluxus works in the Queensland Art Gallery.
Bernard Hoey - viola
Christa Powell - violin
John Babbage - saxophone
Kylie Davidson - piano
Robert Davidson - bass
Jonathan Dimond - bass, tabla, trombone
Jamie Clark - guitar
John Parker - drums
"Truly inspired..." THE COURIER MAIL, 2001"Delicious..." THE AUSTRALIAN, 2001"A must-have..."REAL TIME MAGAZINE, 2001
"To the marvels enfolded within this album, Airwaves, there is literally no end..."Arjun von Caemmerer - extempore MAGAZINE, 2011