Written in response to the New Zealand School of Music’s David Farquhar Award and further recognised by the 2009 Wellington City Council Music Prize, Starting the Robot represents Johannes Contag’s debut on the orchestral stage. An intensely polyrhythmic and polytonal work, this is a programmatic exploration of the titular premise – a cumbersome mechanical moloch gradually coming to life – and as such, the work is ideally suited to an experimental dance treatment.
"The listener is kept almost constantly intrigued by the shifting textural complexity and density of the work." (Michael Norris)
Comprising the albums You Are Feeling Sleepy, Schlafwandler and The Twilight Drone, Contag’s Sleepytime cycle (1996-2006) explores the genre of ambient music, which in the case of the Twilight Drone DVD also features an ambient film work. With an instrumentation largely made up of synthesizers and acoustic instruments, this collection of meditative, minimalist drones and textures defies the New Age clichés often associated with the genre and aims for a more genuine appreciation of musical simplicity.
The Sleepytime series is licensed and released by Monkey Records.
"A glorious aural lullaby." (NZ Listener)
A Difference Resolved (orchestral sketch, 2009)
Flock of Starlings with Crows and Dog (wind nontet, 2009)
Perpetuum Static (quadraphonic fixed-media, 2009)
Two Micro-Caprices (modified amplified clarinet, 2010)
Habanera Insomnia (symphonic band, 2010)