Tristen Parr’s work Us and Them for Decibel New Music Ensemble’s Two Minutes from Home project sees the players grouped by state – which was the situation the musicians found themselves in during the COVID lockdowns and border closures in Australia, split between Perth and Melbourne. The pre-recorded message of WA’s COVID hotline playing in the background – in a piece that begins in anxious dissonance and ends with the wry humour of ‘on hold’ jazz.

A still from Louise Devenish’s Taut. Photo © Karl Ockelford

Artists and organisations all over the country were forced to change the way they work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The unique situation saw projects – like Ensemble Offspring’s video project Lone Hemispheres: The Solo Sessions – emerge from 2020 both inspired and constrained by what became the new normal.

Two Minutes from Home saw Decibel commission a series of 20 works, each two minutes long, for the Decibel ScorePlayer, an app designed to coordinate the reading of scores that use graphic notation, allowing the performers to view the same scrolling score simultaneously on multiple...