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SHIFTING FOCUS: JEANETTE LITTLE


Jeanette Little is a composer, musician and producer whose work transcends genre. Composing music and mixes, Jeanette's work focuses on contemporary classical and electronic music. Jeanette has crafted a mix for Shifting Worlds, inspired by Melbourne's many lockdowns, that carries the listener across different soundscapes, pulling on both popular and art music influences. Jeanette provided an insight into her process and inspiration to Shifting Worlds, noting the intimacy and intuitiveness of creating sound. Discover Jeanette's mix here - a blend of both atmospheric and pure pop sounds, curated exclusively for Shifting Worlds.

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Anthropometry of the Blue Period, Yves Klein 

Do you see music as related to other senses? Touch, sight, e.t.c.?

Sight and Colour. I often associate certain pitches, intervals and chords with colours and emotions. The Russian composer Alexander Scriabin had synaesthesia and wrote music using immense harmonies influenced by colour theory, assigning pitches and chords with colours and moods. He actually heard in colour, which I would find quite distracting!

We often let music be the caretaker of our feelings: feelings for others, for ourselves, for the things that hurt us and the things that make us happy. What is your view on music’s ability (or limitations) to represent the things we can’t quite communicate?

Sound is a powerful thing, the only sense that stimulates both the right and left hemispheres of the brain. It taps into something deep and affects us on an intensely emotional level. Music, like all art, is highly subjective; we use emotions to construct our social reality.

I think music absolutely captures and communicates feelings we cannot communicate. There is something magical in lyrics, yes, but also in the spaces between notes. As Hans Christian Andersen said, "Where words fail, music speaks."

Orange, Red, Yellow, Mark Rothko

What has the most influence on your music outside of music itself?

Art. I love painting in particular. My mother is a painter and she exposed me to the canon of art history.

I love the idea of composers and artists hanging out, sharing ideas and working together. The New York School was a great example of this. They were a group of painters, musicians and poets, such as Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Earle Brown, the list goes on.. who were active in the 1940s and 1950s in NYC. You can totally hear Morton Feldman in Rothko’s paintings.

What are three songs that seemingly don’t go together but, in your view, speak to one another in some way?

The first, second, fourth and final tracks; the organic and treated piano sounds are nice through-line. The mix naturally came to be characterised by a strong female energy - deliberate or otherwise, it's a nice unifier. 

Your mix for Shifting Worlds travels across different genres, tempos and styles of delivery; we’re never sitting in the same feeling for too long and our moods shift as the mix does. Do you prefer to allow your mood to be carried by the movement in music or do you allow the reverse wherein your mood determines the music you choose to listen to or make?

It’s really an intuitive process. I like exploring little worlds. I’m interested in dreams and the subconscious. I’m generally guided by intuition and impulse (which explains my love for improvised music). Sometimes I’ll connect tracks because there is a similar characteristic, such as genre, key or instrumentation, and other times I’ll let impulse guide the form and selections.




Words: Claire Summers 
Mix: Jeanette Little 

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