Student musicians and jazz admirers in Bathurst will get an opportunity this weekend to witness the expertise of a prominent Sydney free jazz sextet.
(min cost $8)
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Microfiche will perform at the Bathurst Uniting Church on Saturday from 6.30pm, and will host a workshop for Mitchell Conservatorium students prior to their performance.
First forming as a student ensemble at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2015, the group has built a reputation as one of the most forward-thinking and creative acts to emerge from Sydney's jazz scene in recent years.
Microfiche member Phillippa Murphy-Haste, who plays clarinet and viola in the band, said the group is excited to perform in Bathurst.
"This weekend's appearance in Bathurst is part of the third leg of our latest tour, which will also take us to Forbes and Cobar," Ms Murphy-Haste said.
"We've all been quite exhausted lately with all the gigs, but we're raring to go again after a few days off."
Ms Murphy-Haste said it's hard to pigeonhole Microfiche's sound into a single genre, as their compositions soar off in many different directions, ranging from long-form to shorter works.
"We all improvise and use minimalist compositional devices to explore the scope of our sound," she said.
"Sometimes, it can be quite melodic, but other times, our music can sound quite experimental.
"We've been described as a band that defies easy categorisation, which is true in the sense our music varies from strong, catchy beats to ambient, long-winded dissonance."
Ms Murphy-Haste said free jazz is highly invigorating from a creative standpoint, and after seven years as a band, Microfiche's musical connection has never been stronger.
"It's quite freeing to be able to bring your own compositions to the table and have the space to improvise among a group of like-minded musicians," she said.
"There's replete freedom in this band to explore different tones and sounds, and we're always looking to enhance our live performance."
Microfiche carried out a European tour in 2019, which notably featured a performance 30 metres underground in the hall of a decommissioned nuclear reactor in Stockholm, Sweden.
But Ms Murphy-Haste said regional Australian tours are at the heart of their mission as a band.
"A few of us are from regional areas, and we want to bring the music to people in more isolated areas of our country," she said.
"I believe everyone deserves access to a vibrant arts scene, and there's nobody saying this should be limited to people in metropolitan areas."
With the band hosting a workshop before the gig, Ms Murphy-Haste said it's essential to foster the next generation of musicians looking to hone their talent.
"It'll be a fantastic opportunity for students who want to learn how to improvise, especially for those who've come from a classical background," she said.
"Free jazz has given me space to bring my classical music knowledge into a new musical language that isn't constricted by idiom."
For more information on Microfiche and to purchase tickets to their Bathurst gig, visit microficheband.blogspot.com.
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