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31 July 2007

New Music at Club Zho

Makiko – Noriko, Club Zho 2004 Image: Makiko – Noriko, Club Zho 2004  
© Peter Illari

Club Zho continues its rather illustrious career in developing audiences for new music in Perth. Since 1999, this monthly highlight of the Perth music calendar has managed to represent the eclectic scene that is Perth new music while managing to nurture and develop it at the same time. As well as showcasing established and emerging composers and performers, the event occasionally features national and international visitors, often collaborating with local artists.

Initially run by Tos Mahoney and then by Tura New Music – known for other activities such as the Totally Huge New Music Festival and the Scale Variable chamber music series – Club Zho’s first incarnation was at the Monkey Bar, a licensed function room above a pub in the heart of Northbridge. From the stage, you could look through the large window onto the street outside and play to the sounds of drinkers. In addition to conventional venues, Club Zho has had summer excursions into locations such as the Cottesloe Surf Club and the roof of city café Mezzanine. It has moved homes a few times – a short stint at the Pallas, a period at the Hellenic Centre, and – more recently – at the Llama Bar in Subiaco. In 2007 Club Zho relocates to the Bakery Complex in partnership with another Perth arts organisation famous for pushing boundaries – Artrage.

Club Zho has uncovered exciting Perth talent across myriad genres such as electronica, chamber music, free improvisation and noise. It has had different curators, each reflecting different interests. Hannah Clemens, Tos Mahoney and I have all curated the series at some stage, and there have been years where a different person curates Club Zho each month.

Club Zho has been a platform for experimentation as well as established rehearsed performances. One year the club featured Pharsical – a segment where a well-known Perth composer or sound artist would sit on the stage and ‘play’ a favourite track. Some of my personal highlights throughout the years have included: students of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts playing Andriessen’s Workers Union, conducted by Lindsay Vickery; Abe Donovitz’s noisy art auction; Francisco Lopez’s immersive listening experience; the Make It Now! Improvisation tour gig featuring Robin Fox, Sean Baxter and Ross Bolleter; Perth sound artist Rob Muir’s twenty-minute New Teeth for the Mrs played though an old soccer field PA speaker; Cathie Travers’s accordion compositions accompanied by dancing from the patrons of the Hellenic Club, and the 2001 Christmas party that featured local music karaoke. For the adventurous at heart.

The highly anticipated Club Zho ‘07 program launched Monday 18th June with Melbourne-based shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) musician Anne Norman, along with Perth's own Ross Bolleter (accordian), and laptop ensemble Versificator – a dedicated group of composition students from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts who explore the notion of deconstructing sound, making noise with laptops, radios, delay pedals, vocal effects and theremins.

Further Links

Cat Hope is a composer and performance/video artist. She currently lectures in composition at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University.


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