Tangents and Cycle~440

Paul Nolan

This New Music Network event offered updates to the improvised music genre from two contrasting groups.
Tangents and Cycle~440

This New Music Network event offered updates to the improvised music genre from two contrasting groups. It was perfect ‘new music’ material.


Computer musicians operated their laptops not just as sampling devices but as equals beside more traditional instruments. They manipulated timbral, textural and melodic material in turn.

The two-piece Cycle~440 opened this night with expressive undulations from piano and laptop entwined. The piano’s output included effective quasi-minimalist motivic repetitions.


Heavily-pedalled sensitivity piano was punctuated by severe contrasts of broad sonic strokes from the computer. Some exquisite melodic invention from the acoustic keyboard could have been further developed in more extended melodic laptop sampling and stronger interplay from the duo. 


However, Cycle~440’s overall ambient gift of semi-improvised sound was unique, interesting and well received. Some exciting climaxes ensued.


The next ensemble, Tangentsimpressed with two satisfying extended sections in its totally improvised set. A large buffet of traditional and newer forces was sampled. 

Prepared piano, innovative drum kit playing, cello fragments and effects, lead guitar and three laptops combined with fine balance, innately honed listening as well as increasing momentum and direction.


Tangent’s climax to the second section of the set was driving and homogenous despite the various elements and instruments mixed.

A highlight of this night was that musical expression and collaboration was a priority in the performances. Effects for shocking effect’s sake remained a concept of the past. A morphed, modern, high-tech jazz gig delighted instead.


New Music Network present

Tangents and Cycle~440


Tangents: Ollie Bown – computer; Peter Hollo – cello, electronics; Shoeb Ahmad – guitar, computer; Adrian Lim-Klumpes – piano, flute, electronics; Evan Dorrian – drums

Cycle~440: Sam Gillies and Kevin Penkin


Sound Lounge, Seymour Centre, Sydney

1 August


About the author

Paul Nolan is a classically trained pianist. He studied at UNSW and graduated with a Bachelor of Music.