Tess Said So is the creative partnership of musicians Rasa Daukus and Will Larsen. Adopting a pop sensibility to a classical format, Rasa and Will write and perform all their own material, influenced by a shared interest in new music and blurring the lines that define musical genre, infusing their sound with pop, jazz, ambience, minimalism, and electronica.
In 2014 Tess Said So released their debut album “I Did That Tomorrow” with contemporary classical European record label Preserved Sound to critical acclaim. Their follow-up “Scramble + Fate” was released in 2016. While both albums achieved recognition in the Top Ten Modern Classical Albums (of 2014 and 2016) from Stationary Travels, “Scramble + Fate” notably disrupted the classical set as a featured release in American magazine JAZZIZ, the largest jazz publication in the world. In 2017 they won Best Interactive, Film & Digital at the Adelaide Fringe Festival for their live soundtrack performance to Nosferatu.
After touring Nosferatu throughout Asia, Australia and the UK, Tess Said So released their third studio album "Piaf's Boyfriend" in May 2019.
In 2023, they released the double album "Nosferatu Reimagined", a freshly orchestrated version of their award-winning live score, for piano, percussion, prepared electronics and symphony orchestra, with the live version being premiered by Orchestra Victoria at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2023.
A partnership built on a longstanding friendship, Rasa and Will first began working together when they met as music undergrads (when Will had trouble finding an accompanist keen to tackle his solo repertoire, Rasa was thrilled to jump in for the ride). Active collaborators, they also work with dance companies, filmmakers, designers, street artists, visual and conceptual artists, in a variety of different settings; from concert halls to laneways and public spaces; building and questioning the connections between artistic disciplines. Equally, as composers and producers, Rasa and Will devise and record music to function within the context of the partnering art form.
"This piano and percussion duo is an inspired pairing."
A CLOSER LISTEN
Rasa is a pianist and composer living on Ngunnawal country (Canberra, Australia). She was the Director of Music at the University of Canberra from 2013 to 2017, and is now a resident artist at Ainslie Arts Centre where she runs Music Classes Canberra.
As a pianist, Rasa has specialised in contemporary classical ensemble repertoire, and credits her main teachers – Larry Sitsky and John Luxton in Australia, and Jeffrey Jacob in the USA – in helping shape her interpretive direction. Work in the recording industry, with non-classical labels including BMG, RCA/Ariola, Arista, Geffen, Restless, and Deconstruction Records, has also informed her creative choices.
She is inspired by the physicality of pulse and rhythm, the possibilities of pattern and repetition, and the emotive impact of sound. Her musical influences include early 20th century French harmony, Steve Reich's works on tape, nature expressed by Toru Takemitsu, David Bowie, Jonny Greenwood vs Krzysztof Penderecki, Miles Davis, and The Bad Plus' version of Milton Babbitt's "Semi-Simple Variations".
Will is an ARIA award winning percussionist, drummer and composer from Naarm (Melbourne, Australia). He has been a guest artist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia, Orchestra Victoria, The Australian Ballet, and has toured throughout Australia, Europe and Asia. He has played for José Carreras, Mikis Theodorakis, Bryn Terfel, The Bolshoi Ballet, The Kirov Ballet, The New York Ballet, Topol and k d lang.
Will has also worked on many movie scores, including “Hero Mars” by Californian director Skyler Cooper, "At World's End" for Danish director Tomas Villum Jensen, and "Mary and Max" by Academy Award winning director Adam Elliot and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.
In 2012, Will won Best Score at the Los Angeles Movie Awards for his music on “Juliana’s Story,” a film directed by Angelique Papadelias. His composition "A Festival Fanfare" was used to open Melbourne's 2014 White Night Festival.
'NOSFERATU: A SYMPHONY OF HORROR'
MEGAN FLYNN DANCE COMPANY, 'KNOTS & TIES' (2019) Photos: Jeff Somers / Mike Hurwitz)
AUSTRALIAN DANCE PARTY, 'WHICH WEIGH' (2017) Photo: Andrew Sikorski
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:
"Engaging and intriguing."
DRIFTING, ALMOST FALLING (Review | July 2019)
"Together, they are absolutely masterful."
THE STUDENT (Review | August 2017)
"A well-deserved standing ovation."
CANBERRA CRITICS CIRCLE (Review | March 2017)
"The most haunting & visceral live scoring of a film I've ever heard... a triumph."
CRAIG WALLACE (Fan Tweet | March 2017)
"Brilliantly executed... highly bewitching."
THE UPSIDE NEWS (Review | February 2017)
"Every screening of Nosferatu should bear their brilliant score."
GREAT SCOTT MEDIA (Review | February 2017)
"Soundscapes that resonate on a primal level, linking ancient and futurist aesthetics in often-mesmerizing ways."
JAZZIZ (Review | September 2016)
"Breathtakingly beautiful... exhilarating."
STATIONARY TRAVELS (Review | June 2016)
"A sonic delight... stunning."
CUTCOMMON (Review | February 2015)
"Constantly evolving and shifting... feels like a truly organic, living, breathing installation."
ANTHEM REVIEW (Review | February 2015)
Cánh đồng âm nhạc (Review | November 2014)
"A cinematic treat: warm, engaging & wildly expressive - 'I Did That Tomorrow' should be the beloved soundtrack to a highly regarded cult film."
HEADPHONAUGHT (Review | October 2014)
"If Jack and Meg White ran away to join the symphony, their music might end up sounding like this."
BEAUTIFUL SONG OF THE WEEK (Feature | October 2014)
MUZAHOLIC (Review | October 2014)
"A rich tableau of timbres and enveloping atmospheres."
MUSIC WON'T SAVE YOU (Review | October 2014)
"As if I'd wandered into an extension of Bartok's Mikrokosmos. Wonderful!!"
MISS PRINTEDITIONS (Fan Tweet | October 2014)
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
In the spirit of reconciliation we acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.
Tess Said So is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.