Efflorescence: a sneak preview of a new Interactive Composition work by Anna Durham

Over four evenings this month, Interactive Composition students will bring Melbourne’s Grant Street Theatre to life in sound and vision – each presenting unique works that collectively incorporate sound with film, animation, dance, theatre, installation, visual art, production, songwriting and performance. Here, Anna Durham, third-year Interactive Composition student and creative force behind electronic/trip-hop act, Sault, shares her Folio Live work Efflorescence and explains its genesis.

Efflorescence (2017) by Anna Durham, third-year Melbourne Conservatorium Interactive Composition student.

Hi Anna, can you tell us a bit about this work, what it involves, its genesis, how long you worked on it?

Over the past twelve months I’ve become increasingly intrigued with the organic rhythms that surround us in natural environments: the pattern to which flora can be found within a broader landscape, the seemingly random melodies created from a passing flock of birds or the way a Protea flower can be broken down into individual intricate segments.

It was a fascination with the interaction of these textures on a micro and macro level, paired with an interest of humankind’s influence, distortion and relationship with the natural environment, from which Efflorescence was created.

Combining elements of electronic music genres with contemporary string arrangements, Efflorescence aims to blur stylistic and sonic binaries. Fusing together micro beats, free-flowing synthesised sounds, organic samples and contemporary string arrangements, it’s a diverse continuous-form work. The piece takes its form as an immersive audio-visual experience, featuring hypnotic visuals crafted by VCA Film and Television student, Dylan Harris.

How does Efflorescence sit with the other works you’ve created?

It sits relatively separate from other works I’ve developed in the past little while. Previously my work has been an exploration of sampling and beat-making, drawing greatly from hip-hop and song-writing genres. Efflorescence was developed as a way of pushing myself creatively and exploring new styles, instrumentations and practices.

What drew you to studying Interactive Composition at the Melbourne Conservatorium?

There were many things –  the way the course focused on developing both music production and compositional skills. I was also drawn to the way in which collaboration was at the heart of the degree, and how the small community at the Faculty further fostered cross-disciplinary collaboration. I’ve learned an immense amount over the past three years, but what I’m most proud of is the growth I’ve had as a producer, and how those skills have worked to inform my practice as a composer.

What are your future plans? 

Next year, I hope to undertake my honours year at the Conservatorium. My project will be a performance-based work exploring the compositional capabilities of the turntable. I also aim to release the first EP of my solo trip-hop project, SAULT, in mid-2018.


– Interview by Paul Dalgarno

Folio Live takes place over four evenings on 7, 8, 9, 10 November at Grant Street Theatre, Southbank, Melbourne. Free event. Bookings essential

Banner image: Screenshot of Efflorescence by Anna Durham.