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Artist re-imagines platforms for releasing music

QUT PhD candidate and multi-instrumentalist Matt Hsu strives for diversity and sustainability with album release.

With TEDxQUT and BIGSOUND performances under his belt and a number one single on Brisbane’s 4ZZZ, SBS featured multi-instrumentalist Matt Hsu (AKA Matt Hsu’s Obscure Orchestra) unveils his first album to the world with an unconventional release on an organic fair-trade T-shirt.

Matt’s shirt concept comes from a choice to ‘do less harm and more good’, opting out of plastic CDs that quickly become waste, and carefully selecting an apparel manufacturer that strives toward the highest possible environmental, social and ethical standards.

An eclectic brainchild of Matt’s offbeat musical sensibilities, the album is influenced by a myriad of experiences, including a childhood stint as a Buddhist monk, touring with Japanese loop ninja Kenta Hayashi, co-founding folk-punkers The Mouldy Lovers, a love of cinematic scores and deep immersion into street jazz in New Orleans.

Matt plays over 30 instruments all used in the album, which also features diverse collaborations with Tenzin Choegyal (Tibetan world music icon), Blaq Carrie (Triple J Unearthed Spring Hip Hop Festival winner) and Kenta Hayashi (Japanese loop music legend). Matt has also worked with fellow QUT alumnus Gabriella Cohen and Regurgitator’s Ben Ely.

The album traverses styles of experimental folk, hip-hop, lush orchestral sounds, dirty jazz, whimsical bedroom pop, ‘found sound’ patchworks — drawing comparisons to Shugo Tokumaru, Andrew Bird, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Moondog and Ludwig Goransson.

The Shirt Album is organic, ethically made, and manufactured solely using sustainable energy generated from wind and solar power. Shirts comes with a download code on the collar.

Modelled by diverse musicians, artists, performance makers and environmental activists, The Shirt Album is available at obscureorchestra.com