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Tue 20 Jan 2015, 8:00pm
Tue 27 Jan 2015, 8:00pm

Where: The Dock, 182 Redfern St, Redfern, New South Wales

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: emmajjones

The Sticks Alon Ilsar on the AirSticks with Daniel Pliner (Synths) and Josh Ahearn (Electric Bass).

Acclaimed composer, percussionist and creator of the AirSticks, Alon Ilsar and his band The Sticks have been blowing away audiences with weekly sessions of their unique brand of entirely improvised, electronic beats at The Dock in Redfern. Due to the packed houses and extraordinarily high demand The Sticks’ residency has been extended through January 2015.

Every Tuesday since the beginning of November, hip Redfern bar The Dock has been host to one of the most innovative and exciting musical acts Sydney has ever seen. The Sticks’ sound is centred around Alon Ilsar and the AirSticks – a new generation of percussive instrument literally using the air as a sonic surface. The AirSticks are a gestural, electronic, drumless-kit that Ilsar has designed and experimented with, both locally and internationally for the past 18 months, with the help of computer programmer Mark Havryliv and pieces of commercial software and hardware. Joining Ilsar are long-time collaborators Daniel Pliner on synths and Josh Ahearn on electric bass. Together they make The Sticks and a completely new conception of sound that has utterly captivated audiences with its sonic splendour.

The Sticks are taking electronic beat-making to a new level, referencing traditional electronically produced music such as hip hop, glitch hop, wonky beat, dubstep, IDM and early electronica, and adding a performative and improvisational edge. The AirSticks allows Ilsar to trigger and manipulate sounds by striking the air with specific gestures and a pair of specially configured, hand-held devices. Ilsar can also control various characteristics of the sounds, such as note length, pitch, panning, filtering, reverb, delay and distortion in real-time. The AirSticks enable Ilsar to record and reuse sounds created by the band each night, thus unifying the band’s sound to become one entity, in keeping with the true, electronic music aesthetic. With the AirSticks, Ilsar grabs and alters the notes in a visually compelling, futuristic performance that mesmerises listeners with its multilayered beats and interplay of sounds.

Ilsar’s initial development of the AirSticks focussed heavily upon this flexible quality and took part in numerous collaborations with musicians, dancers and visual artists all over the world. Some of the highlights of these partnerships include drummer Gerri Jäger in Amsterdam, visual artist Mark Bolotin in New York and a further development of that collaboration with Mark Bolotin and singer Des Miller which toured New York and to SXSW in 2014.

In further exploration and celebration of The Sticks’ fluid nature, a special guest joins them each week at The Dock. From rappers, vocalists to turntablists, jazz improvisers and other instrument designers. So far the band have enjoyed many of the city’s best local talent, including Luke Dubber (Hermitude), Joel Rapaport (Sketch the Rhyme, Big Village), Des Miller (Magnetic Heads, Malarkey), Julian Curwin (The Tango Saloon) and turntablist extraordinaire Morphingaz. Other musicians, such as Kirin J Callinan and Tuka, have attended The Dock gig as spectators. Ilsar and the AirSticks are now part of Kirin J Callinan’s live show, including a performance at the Sydney Festival 2015.

Entry for the performances at The Dock is free and there are two sets each Tuesday, the first at 8.30pm followed by another at 10pm. Given the improvisational element of the band, every set will be different – including those on any given night! The Sticks will soon outgrow this venue, so the chance to catch them for free in this very intimate setting will not last long. This is an opportunity to experience something truly different and to be there at the beginning of a new form of music set to take the world by storm.