June 17, 2004

Subsonics at Mu-Meson Archives... Possibly Featuring The Thai Elephant Orchestra

Tomorrow night, there will be a Q&A session at the Mu-Meson Archives with the people behind Subsonics, an SBS series from last year, which was devoted to experimental music and featured such international luminaries as Faust, Harry Partch, Sun Ra, Otomo Yoshihide, Masonna, Phil Niblock, Sachiko M, Voice Crack, and Reynols (along with local heroes like Jim Denley, Greg Kingston and Curse ov Dialect). In addition to answering questions, the makers will screen a couple of episodes from the series and a raft of previously unseen footage.

To get you in the mood, here’s two pieces from one of the groups who were featured in the first episode of the series – The Thai Elephant Orchestra. As the name suggests, they’re an orchestra comprised entirely of elephants (performing on instruments especially designed for them)… who actually compose all the music they perform...
The members of the orchestra are residents of the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, which does invaluable work rescuing elephants from punishing domestic servitude… Ideally, these rescued elephants should be released into the wild, but thanks to human encroachment on their former environments, this is supposedly not a viable option. (If I’m wrong on that point, I’d welcome correction.) So, as it stands, they have what orchestra facilitator, Richard Lair, characterises as the cushiest job in elephant captivity (and one that raises valuable money for the Centre) – being in the prison band… What’s your opinion on the whole set-up?

In any case, I recommend you get along to the Subsonics screening at the Archives on the corner of Parramatta Rd & Trafalgar St, Annandale, 8 pm Friday 18th. And if you want hear more of the Thai Elephant Orchestra, you can purchase their CD from Mulatta Records.

Posted by Warren at June 17, 2004 11:26 PM | Animals