Tunes by Helen Svoboda
Helen Svoboda is a double bassist, vocalist, composer, and nature-enthusiast.
‘With a deep awareness of extra-musical concepts that shape inventive improvisation, and great art.. ‘ (Steve Newcomb, AUS), she draws influence mainly from vegetables, flowers and the genres of minimalist neo-classical music to folk and experimental jazz. With a steadfast ‘desire and ability to create and perform original music’ (Rafael Karlen, AUS), Svoboda has developed a distinctive sound across many different musical avenues. Pursuing a passion for unusual combinations of instrumentation, she is defined not by genre, but by her addiction to music and her love of exciting creative environments (both plant and non-plant related).
With Finnish/Australian heritage, Svoboda has spent the past two years in the Netherlands, specializing in soloistic double bass composition with inclusion of voice - particularly focused on the overtone series. Driven by the spontaneity of improvisation and the novelty of large wooden instruments, she emits a carefree, quirky energy into all aspects of her artistic practice, with a flair for ‘allowing difficult ideas to sound whimsical and free’ (Kristin Berardi, AUS). Her colourful inner being channels facets of childlike playfulness and raw intensity amidst a ‘purposeful storm’ (Charlotte Haesen, Jazz Maastricht), her music combining 'soaring vocalisations ... twisted with intense displays of double bass' (Scott Murphy, Heavy Blog is Heavy 2020), with the sole aim of honest, soulful sentiment.
Fueled by strange sonic frequencies, Svoboda has released albums across a substantial number of her own original projects to date: her debut solo release Vegetable Bass (Released June 2020); Ambient, environmentally-themed alternative rock band/2019 QLD Jazz Music Award Winners The Biology of Plants (QLD Jazz Music Award Winners 2019; Vol. 2 - Art as Catharsis 2019); The debut album of Meatshell, her experimental-folk duo with saxophonist Andrew Saragossi (winners of Maastricht Jazz Awards 2020; 'Afar' - Made Now Music 2019); minimalist chamber trio Helen Svoboda's Sprout (‘Hectic Moon’ 2018 & 'Sleep Architecture' 2019 - SuperSonic); AHA Trio's debut album ('Against All Odds' 2019), EP of her newly established duo Moon on Fire with Finnish vocalist Selma Savolainen, 'Banff Sessions' (2020).
Svoboda has also featured on albums across a range of other projects: she was recently invited as a special guest as part of Sebastian Gramss' Hard Boiled Wonderland (2020) in which she composed and performed a spoken-word piece about the Australian Bushfires; Niran Dasika's Assorted Drones (2020); Caleb Colledge’s folk/spoken word album Yarns (2018); and a number of improvised trios including an upcoming collaborative release with Melbourne pianist Joseph O’Connor (Aus National Jazz Award Winner) and Timothy Green (drums).
That’s one of Svoboda’s greatest strengths as a songwriter; she shifts between jazz and classical tendencies so seamlessly, and in general, her compositions are always eclectic and engaging.
-Scott Murphy, Heavy Blog is Heavy - 2020
She was recently appointed as the Pathfinders Associate Artist for 2020/2021 with the Australian Art Orchestra, based in her new hometown of Melbourne.