Alon Ilsar is an Australian drummer, composer, sound designer and instrument designer. He is co-designer of a new interface for electronic percussionists called the AirSticks, using the instrument in projects such as The Hour, The Sticks, Tuka (from Thundamentals), Sandy Evans’ ‘Rockpool,’ Ellen Kirkwood’s ‘[A]part‘, Kirin J Callinan, Kind of Silence (UK), Velize (US), Cephalon (US), Aether (US), Voyager (US), Bondi Dreaming, Silent Spring, Trigger Happy, Monotreme (US) and Brian Campeau.
He has been heavily involved in theatre and film as drummer, composer and sound designer. His diverse projects include Belvoir Theatre’s ‘Keating! the Musical,’ Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘Mojo,’ Scottish production for deaf and hearing audiences ‘Kind of Silence,’ Meow Meow with the London Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, Alan Cumming, Jake Shears, Eddie Perfect, Tim Minchin, Circus Monoxide as musical director, Lance Horne, Zohar’s Nigun, Aronas, Captain Kirkwood, Ground Patrol, The Colors Tribute Band, Gauche, Glitch Jukebox, Tango Saloon, Facemeat and Darth Vegas.
Alon has completed a PhD in instrument design through the University of Technology, Sydney’s Creativity and Cognition Studios, under the supervision of Andrew Johnston. In 2016, he completed a one-year artist residency at Brooklyn College’s PIMA in New York working on new collaborations with musicians, visual artists and dancers such as Trevor Dunn, David Grubbs, Jim Black, Briggan Krauss, Kyle Sanna, Dana Lyn and Hannah Cohen of Neshamah Dance Company.
VIDEO: Alon Ilsar and the AirSticks
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‘the inventive techno-percussion of live drummer Alon Ilsar – sound takes on a physicality as immediate and dramatic as the (visible) choreography’ (Herald, Glasgow)
‘Attending Alon Ilsar’s performance this time was ever more like peeking around the corner of the time-space continuum and glimpsing the future. It was there in the technology and its use, the presentation and, to a lesser extent, the music itself. (Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney)
‘ Alon Ilsar’s ingenious use of electronics… sheer unpredictability and unaccountability of the sounds’ (Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney)
‘…musician Alon Ilsar uses intensely vibrating instruments – mainly drums and theremin-like “air sticks”, mediated through a technology that delivers sound vibrations direct into the body rather than through the air…’ (Scotsman, Glasgow)
‘Live drummer and sound manipulator Alon Ilsar’s sound textures almost act as a secondary character, veering from 90s dance music to sci-fi inspired sonics.’ (The List, Glasgow)
‘Ilsar’s great percussion work, on the side of the stage, brilliantly commented and reflected on the action.’ (Sydney Arts Guide)
‘Ilsar smashes and crashes his drumkit to dramatic effect: for mine, more dramatically and menacingly than the script itself.’ (Crikey)
‘Drummer Alon Ilsar’s skeletal underscoring is very effective.’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
‘freaky-future shit’ (The Brag, Sydney)
‘manipulate[s] electronics in an incredibly slick and excitingly choreographed performance that saw him ringed in a spinning vortex of colour projected onto a scrim, his every movement mirrored instantly in spectacular sound and visuals (by artist Matt Hughes).’ (Limelight)
‘The spacious auditorium is pitch black. A mysterious figure begins its performance amid stars. Technicolor silhouettes dance freely on the foreground. Bursts of light accompany the beat. Grotesque figures hold a guitar and soon crumble into simple polygon configurations as the beat intensifies. Conducting all of this is Alon Ilsar. Man, body, music, and light as one. He reaffirms his mastery of rhythm by engaging alternating loops that drift into perfect syncopation as he swings his drumsticks into the sky. His body is now confined in a ring of white light which provides us with visual clues of the pulse and rhythm to follow… one, two, three, four, countless rings. He lands behind his drum set only to mesmerize us with his organic flow. A perfect amalgam between man-machine. The music. The beats. The shapes and colours. The blood in our veins seems to pump faster and faster seeking that inevitable release which we wish to postpone forever and yet anxiously wait for. Higher and higher we go until he softly brings us back to reality and exits the stage…’ (Amnplify)
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