Matt Hsu has also written about identity politics in indie music as part of his thesis, and recently co-composed and performed in La Boite Theatre Company’s The Neighbourhood.
Matt is composer, multi-instrumentalist and Queensland Music Award winning musician who celebrates difference and collective belonging through music. His one-person orchestra project Matt Hsu’s Obscure Orchestra is an eclectic brainchild of his offbeat musical sensibilities, influenced by experiences like his childhood stint as a Buddhist monk, touring with Japanese loop ninja Kenta Hayashi, co-founding folk-punk band The Mouldy Lovers, a love of cinematic scores, and a deep immersion into street jazz in New Orleans.
He draws on his immigrant roots to create multi-layered compositions that explore the grey areas between cultures, using eclectic instruments and unusual techniques. Enamoured with instruments from around the world, Matt blends conventional instruments (such as trumpet, mandolin, clarinet, accordion) and world-folk instruments (shakuhachi, mbira, cimbalom, shamisen) with rethought everyday objects such as bike spokes, kitchen utensils, saw and field recordings.
Through his Obscure Orchestra, Matt has performed at Bigsound and TEDx, charted at #1 on 4ZZZ and has been featured on SBS News. He seeks out diverse intercultural and cross-genre collaborations with artists such as Tenzin Choegyal (Tibet), Blaq Carrie (Zimbabwe), Kenta Hayashi (Japan), and South Korean film director Park Kiyong, and has recorded with Australian indie musicians Gabriella Cohen and Regurgitator’s Ben Ely. As a music writer and researcher, Matt has interviewed Fleet Foxes’ Morgan Henderson, moderated a QUT Creative Labs panel exploring Asia-Australia collaborations, and completed a PhD project exploring folk music in the 21st century. Learn more about Matt’s music at obscureorchestra.com.