Matt Hsu's Obscure Orchestra
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Welcome to the Obscure Orchestra, a curious world
of intricately crafted experimental music, made with
world instruments and rethought everyday objects
— the brainchild of award winner Dr Matt Hsu.

About Matt

Matt Hsu (he/him) is a Taiwanese-Australian composer and musician based in Meanjin, performing as Matt Hsu's Obscure Orchestra.
Experimental sounds
Enamoured with natural sounds, Matt blends world and orchestral instruments with field recordings and everyday objects. As a multi-instrumentalist, he plays over 20 instruments.
World inspirations
Drawing on his cross-cultural upbringing,
Matt creates otherworldly compositions that celebrate difference, inclusivity and liminal spaces between cultures.
Advocacy through music
Matt advocates for marginal communities, using music projects to underscore refugee, immigrant, First Nations, gender and abilities diverse issues through artistic collaborations.

Welcome to the

Neighbourhood

After co-composing and performing in La Boite Theatre Company's
The Neighbourhood in 2020, Matt gathered his castmates to create
music addressing refugee rights, black lives and racial injustice.

Not-for-profit shop

All profits go towards refugees and asylum seeker organisations
to support people in detention or resettling into community.

OFA
Roasted Orange
KOU
Black (Unisex)
CHAVI
Leaf Green
MINDY
Mango Yellow
BRONTE
Black (Women's Rolled Sleeve)
ASH
Roasted Orange
ANISA
Leaf Green
REVY
Black (Unisex)
BRANDON
Mango Yellow
ALEEA
Roasted Orange
LEYLA
Black
RAE
Leaf Green
SANJA
Mango Yellow
MATHIEU
Black (Unisex)
SARA
Roasted Orange
FREYA
Leaf Green
BLAQ CARRIE
Black (Unisex)
LOUIS
Mango Yellow
TRINA
Roasted Orange
CATHY
Black (Unisex)
NIMA
Leaf Green
TARO
Mango Yellow
AURORA
Black (Women's Rolled Sleeve)
ASH
Roasted Orange
STELLA
Leaf Green
REMI AND FELILA
Black (Unisex)
NAAVIKARAN
Mango Yellow
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All profits to
refugee support
All profits are donated to Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Refugee Solidarity Meanjin, and Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (view cost transparency)
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Ethical, organic
& sustainable
Made from organic cotton with eco-friendly inks in carbon neutral facilities. Ethical labour practices ensure fair wages for garment workers.
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Designed by Matt Hsu
and Loopy!
Colour shirts designed by 'Make Everything' co-writers Loopy!. Black shirts designed by Matt Hsu. Inclusive and unisex sizings (size chart)

17-piece live ensemble

For live performances, Brisbane's most eclectic musicians and multi-disciplinary artists form the live Obscure Orchestra — an ensemble underpinned by gender equity, inclusion and visibility, comprised of BIPOC, First Nations, non-binary and trans artists.

Ensemble musicians

Frequent Collaborators

Composing imaginative and bespoke music for arts projects, from ambient
lo-fi soundscapes to full orchestral arrangements.

Music composition
video games
new media
film & TV
theatre
events
Brisbane Festival 2020

A Curious Arcade

Working with Imaginary Theatre, Matt Hsu composed the soundtrack to Brisbane Festival's A Curious Arcade, a tactile 'choose your own adventure'-style theatre installation. Matt intricately crafted over two hours of dynamic music — a 'living soundtrack' responsive to narrative developments, environmental changes and player choices for five distinctive storytelling machines. To capture the adventurous spirit of protagonist Celeste, the 1920s adventure setting, and the magical-realism of artistic director Thom Browning's world building, Matt sought out vintage instrumentation that drew inspiration from 19th and 20th century avant-garde classical music — contributing to an imaginatively executed and beloved Brisbane Festival 2020 experience.
La Boite Theatre Company
Composing and live performance for 2020 La Boite's The Neighbourhood, exploring migrant, refugee and First Nations experiences in Australia.
MELT Festival: Brood
Composer for MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture interactive media installation by Sophie Reid-Singer/Clunkk at Brisbane Powerhouse.
We See Each Other: Digital Narrative
Composer for digital stories project by Dr Freya Wright-Brough, working with writers of refugee backgrounds to challenge reductive labels.
The Legend of the Lost Pearl
Worked with composer Hayden Riley providing trumpet, clarinet and percussion studio performances for animated film.
4ZZZ: Radio Reversal
Composed music for Cracks in the Concrete oral histories project by 4ZZZ politics and philosophy show Radio Reversal.
Greens Councillor Jonathan Sri
Provided a library of music for Gabba Ward Greens Councillor Jonathan Sri in creating digital media resources.
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Birdnest Hair

Music
Composed with all women gang vocals, a Play School style rap, and a collection of instruments and objects including scissors, kitchen utensils, ocarina, saw, t’rung and tubular bells and tabla.
Film
‘Birdnest Hair’ is a playful celebration of scrappy optimists and a challenge to traditional gender roles. Co-directed by Matt Hsu and Ashleigh Djokic — a multi-disciplinary artist and animator.

Music writing & talks

Racial dysmorphia and the Obscure Orchestra

Matt explores how creating award winning song 'Make Everything' accompanied his self-excavation of cultural identity as a Taiwanese-Australian arts practitioner.
Read article
10 MAY 2020

2020 QLD Music Awards acceptance speech

During Matt's Queensland Music Awards acceptance speech, he took the opportunity to speak about the importance of representation and diversity in music, highlighting the white male homogeneity of Brisbane’s music industry, particularly in behind-the-scenes in leadership positions.
Watch speech
3 MAR 2020

Tenzin Choegyal
collaboration

Every Step Is A Horizon

In 2017, Grammy-nominated Tibetan musician Tenzin Choegyal met in a ramen shop. Quickly becoming friends and musical collaborators. Together they created the piece Every Step Is A Horizon , exploring the refugee ordeal — the simultaneously seeking of safe harbour and the aching remembrance of ancestral lands.

The piece features poetry by Tibetan artist-activist Tenzin Tsundue recited by Choegyal, cimbalom by Andre Bonetti, mandolin and vocals by Hannah Ryder, and Matt's signature multi-instrumental arrangements using mbira, accordion. double bass, musical saw, trumpet, kitchen percussion, euphonium and clarinet.

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Soundscapes

Found Sound

Putting to use his lifelong fascination with natural and
environmental sounds, Matt creates field recordings while
travelling to shape into soundscape pastiche keepsakes.
Taiwan
Japan

Press

Reviews, interviews and features.

Make Everything

Co-written with Taiwanese wearable art duo Loopy! (also creating the single art) and lo-fi dream pop artist apadalia , with production and composition by Matt. It celebrates creating art without the expectation of fame or reward. Featuring lyrics in English and Taiwanese.
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