Maria is an Australian drummer and composer based in Naarm/Melbourne. Her solo percussion performances draw on ideas from the Kulintang music of the Philippines and contemporary electronic production to weave hypnotic webs from layers of unmetered pulse that slowly undergo subtle textural transformations. In collaborative contexts ranging from free improvisation, jazz and contemporary composition to experimental pop, Maria contributes an acute sense of touch, placement and timbre, unashamed virtuosity and a powerful rhythmic drive.
She has performed and collaborated with some of Australia’s most renowned artists, including The Australian Art Orchestra, Anthony Pateras, Jim Denley, Amos Roach, Lucas Abela, Krakatau, Andrea Keller, Dave Brown, Jenny Barnes, Carolyn Connors, Scott Tinkler, James Rushford, Ernie Althoff, Stephanie Lake, Robin Fox, Tenzin Choegyal, and The Splinter Orchestra. Maria’s debut EP ‘Mondo Flockard’ was released in 2016 through Perth label Tonelist, and was listed on Avant Music News under Best Albums of the Year. In 2017, she composed and performed a percussion and electronics score for Ben Christensen’s 1922 film ‘Haxan’ at Dark Mofo festival in Hobart, Tasmania. Performing on solo drums, Maria has opened for Claire Rousay, MY DISCO, Clever Austin (Hiatus Kaiyote), Chris Corsano (Bjork, Thurston Moore, Evan Parker), Oren Ambarchi, and Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches). Her solo LP Opening was released through Nice Music in January 2019. Maria was a recipient of the Art Music Fund in 2020 and released her second album For Leolanda via Room40 in 2022.
When beginning this piece, I wanted to create something percussively driven whilst being drone-based and meditative. The piece underwent many transformations to become what it is now. One percussive idea sparked a melodic idea, which then sparked another percussive idea, and so on. It made me think of how things are always in a state of constant flux and suspension, though they may appear stagnant. I am often drawn to music that has this feeling about it.
The piece naturally split into three sections: a long drone, building to a frenetic percussive climax, a gentle improvisation between the toms and the snare drum, and a slow, relaxed groove supporting a verbed-out sparse melody.
Mostly, my intention behind this piece was to explore what I love about music that leans towards minimalism; restraint, texture, hypnotic rhythm, and beauty. Whether or not I achieved that is, for me, beside the point, as what emerged during the process became something that I feel represents my musical voice well.
We have constant distractions and limited attention spans with new technologies designed to send our brains into overload by feeding us vast amounts of information in short bursts. Extended deep listening gives us a chance to escape that and reminds us to be receptive to sounds happening around us.
Composed by Maria Moles
Maria Moles: Drum kit, percussion, synthesizer
Tim Harvey: bass
Drum kit recorded by Tim Harvey
Mixed by Maria Moles