Words Seemed Unnecessary: the VCA's David Sequeira and Isolation Improvisation Collective make artful music

Detail of David Sequeira - 'The Endless Chord I'.
Detail of David Sequeira - 'The Endless Chord I'.

Patrick Telfer, founder of the Isolation Improvisation Collective, and visual artist and lecturer at the University of Melbourne David Sequeira release a new collaborative work, Words Seemed Unnecessary (In The Space Between Us).

Part concert, part performance art and part meditation, David Sequeira’s Words Seemed Unnecessary (In The Space Between Us) was recorded live online at the height of Victoria's lockdown on 19 August 2020 by the Isolation Improvisation Collective (IIC).

In addition to a small fragment of music notation, David provided the musicians with detailed instructions of not only what to play, but how to listen and how to be throughout the performance.

The performance brief, Invisible Realitieswas devised by Sequeira as an invitation to the performers to consider questions such as: How can I be an artist or how can I express myself using a limited range?; How can I put the full force of my being in a reduced context?; How can I connect with the other people in the ensemble to be totally at the service of our audience?

David is a visual artist whose practice is based around ideas of language, colour and geometry. Of particular interest is the capacity of geometry and colour to articulate contemplative experiences of memory and emotion. While David’s work takes a range of forms, including painting, sculpture, installation and photography, pattern and colour are his true media.

The project is based around the idea of a group of likeminded people who work together to generate a music experience. Each piece begins with a skeleton cell. Musicians are asked to layer other patterns of cells on top of the skeleton to build an ensemble piece.

The project therefore comprises six to nine pieces each involving two to six musicians. Based largely on pattern and geometry, each piece is founded on the repetition of short phrases or cells. The cells reflect the influence of a range of composers and genres.

The first track of the Invisible Realities project, Words Seemed Unnecessary (In The Space Between Us) was released on Bandcamp on 23 October, 2020.

The piece invites players to locate their own sounds in ethereal spine-tingling layers that respond to its structurally simple but thematically rich score.

The Isolation Improvisation Collective is free jazz for the 21st century – an evolving cast of artists who are focused on experimentation, interdisciplinary communication and connectivity in the age of Zoom. Leaning into the limitations of online communication, IIC explores creative expression in the age of COVID-19.

This group of Faculty of Fine Arts and Music students, staff, alumni, and their creative communities, have met virtually over the past months to explore the possibility of community and cooperation online, developing new tools, methods and a shared improvisational vocabulary.

Performers, Words Seemed Unnecessary (In The Space Between Us):
Adrian Mancuso – Drum Set
Dylan Paul –Double Bass
Esala Liyanage – Percussion
Flora Carbo – Alto Sax
Monica Lim – Piano
Sophie Weston – Flute
Theo Carbo – Electric Guitar
Ceridwen McCooey – Cello
Caitlyn Lesiuk – Rhodes Stage Piano
Patrick Telfer – Mix + Mastering Engineer

Briony Barr – Drawing
Jacqueline Smith – Drawing
Giovanna Yate Gonzalez – Dance

Composed by David Sequeira, IIC Creative Direction by Patrick Telfer.