Pretty Gritty #5

Sunday November 3, 2013

hearing voices

The last Pretty Gritty for the year celebrates the songbirds—but don't expect them to just sing sweetly. Heartswin (aka Sar Friedman), recently returned from London, will push song-making to the beautiful beyond; Donna Hewitt will take us into a post-pop sublime; and Tony Osborne will channel multiple muses with his wild and witty vocal improvisations. And ah...yes I've programmed myself, Gail Priest, with my warped warblings and loopylayered vocal vignettes.


Gail Priest

Gail Priest is a Sydney-based sound artist. Her practice involves sound design/composition for performance, installation and live laptop-based exploratory music. She is also a curator, writer and commentator on sound and media arts. She has released several albums on her own label Metal Bitch Recordings. In 2010 Endgame Records produced her album Presentiments from the Spider Garden. Gail teamed up with Kate Carr from Flaming Pines to put out the split vinyl Blue | Green in 2012. Flaming Pines has subsequently released the EP The Common Koel, part of their Birds of Feather series.

The voice forms a lynchpin of my works. While it is sometimes unrecognisable, subjected to multiple manipulations, more frequently the extended voice, derived from improvisation, is arriving in the foreground of works exploring the raw and mediated, the visceral and the mechanistic.

Tony Osborne

Tony Osborne is a Sydney-based vocalist, theatre artist, dancer, choreographer and improviser who, over the past 25 years, has created and performed many performance works.

He has performed solo at the Make It Up Club in Melbourne; Disembraining Machine, Brisbane; Precipice Canberra; Whip It, an improvised performance night, Sydney and in ensembles in the Nownow (Sydney) and Soundout (Canberra) music festivals. In 2013 he performed Life Support for Ashley Dyer at Dance Massive in Melbourne and at 13 Rooms, (Pier One), restaging Roman Ondak’s work Swap. He is also currently a member of Sydney’s Splinter Orchestra.

My engagement in the 1980s with music transformed into an interest in theatre and the moving body which has now come full circle after a decade of interest in the sonic text. I approach it in the same way I would approach improvising in any other context by exploring structural elements within the spontaneous utterances/sounds that I produce. Sometimes I find meaning and at other times that is for the listener to create.

Donna Hewitt

Dr Donna Hewitt is a vocalist, electronic music composer and instrument designer. Her primary interest has been investigating new ways of interfacing the voice with electronic media. She is the inventor of the eMic, a sensor enhanced microphone stand for electronic music performance. The eMic brings together her work as a vocal performer with her compositional work using microphone-captured audio. Much of Donna’s composition work involves re-processing audio via various digital processes to produce complex textures.

Donna has performed nationally and internationally. Performance highlights include ISEA2013, Underbelly 2013, Brisbane Festival’s Under the Radar Program ‘Macrophonics’, SEAM2011 (Sydney), Understanding Visual Music 2011 (Canada), ICMC (USA, Ireland, UK), Liquid Architecture (LA7) and The Great Escape Festival, Sydney (2006, 2007), disorientation, sound-no-sound, and 1/4 Inch experimental series.


Previously based in London, Sydney artist Sar Friedman has been singing and touring in various bands and experimental groups over the past decade – most notably serving time in Stephen McBean’s Pink Mountaintops. Through the manifestation of her mythical alter-ego, HEARTSWIN, Sar seeks to venture beyond the boundaries of song-making in order to reach forms which resonate with the mystical concerns of her explorations. She has recently finished co-producing her debut LP with Oren Ambarchi.

Download Heartswin's Tammuz (Wood & Wire)