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Roger T. Dean and Hazel Smith:SnowTalking

About SnowTalking :

SnowTalking is a 4-channel acousmatic piece, existing solely as digital recording. It was conceived as a free-standing relation to the piece SnowTalk, commissioned by Chaconne Brass, UK for brass quintet and pre-recorded electroacoustic sound (2006). The electroacoustic sound for both pieces includes a text written and performed by Hazel Smith, and sampled brass sounds by Chaconne, together with synthesized brass sound. All these sounds, other than the text, are also digitally processed to generate a complex sound texture which accompanies the live quintet performance of a notated score. In SnowTalking, the electronic sound is further developed to form a free standing and slightly longer work, but still with unprocessed text juxtaposed with digitally transformed brass sounds. SnowTalking was premiered in 2007, and has been presented in both hemispheres of the world.. The text by Hazel Smith is reproduced below:


the seasons are talking to each other
we pick orchids in the snow
as if the world’s thermostat
was programmed for cross-weathering

fairylights frame the Hindu temple
shops sell gift-wrapped buddhas
they gorge themselves on Christmas day
then purge at Ramadan

did you know that snowflakes are irregular?
that words shiver when they boil?
as the white wind fills its tiny lungs
it hears black trumpets blowing

shall we rewrite the brothers Grimm
so Snow White is mottle-skinned?
the reindeer is exhausted
the sun burns up the sludge

Hear the work here.

About the authors:

Roger Dean is a composer/improviser, and a research professor in music cognition and computation at the MARCS Auditory Laboratories, University of Western Sydney. He founded and directs the sound and multimedia ensemble austraLYSIS. His creative work is on 40 commercial audio CDs, and he has released numerous digital intermedia pieces. His 400 research publications include seven books in the humanities. Previously he was CEO of the Heart Research Institute, Sydney and then Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Canberra. See more about his creative work at

Hazel Smith is a research professor in the Writing and Society Research Group, University of Western Sydney. She is author of The Writing Experiment: strategies for innovative creative writing, Allen and Unwin, 2005 which was shortlisted for the Australian Publishing Association Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing and Hyperscapes in the Poetry of Frank O'Hara: difference, homosexuality, topography, Liverpool University Press, 2000. She is co-author of Improvisation, Hypermedia And The Arts Since 1945, Harwood Academic, 1997, and co-editor with Roger Dean of Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts, Edinburgh University Press, 2009.
     Hazel is also a poet, performer and new media artist, and has published three volumes of poetry, three CDs of performance work, and numerous multimedia works.  Her latest volume of creative work, with accompanying CD Rom, is The Erotics of Geography: poetry, performance texts, new media works, Tinfish Press, Kaneohe, Hawaii, 2008. Formerly a professional violinist, she is a member of austraLYSIS, the internationally active sound and intermedia arts group. She has performed her work extensively in the USA, Europe, UK and Australasia; has been co-recipient of numerous grants for austraLYSIS from the Australia Council (including a key organization grant 2000-2004); and has had five large-scale commissions from the ABC. Hazel was the founder editor of infLect, an online international journal of new media writing based at the University of Canberra (2004-6), and co-edits with Roger Dean the journal you are viewing, soundsRite, a journal of new media writing and sound, based at the University of Western Sydney. Hazel’s website is at

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