Long

495 words

As a composer I work in the area of instrumental, electronic, and algorithmic composition (software-generated music). My main focus is what is increasingly being called electro-instrumental music; this combines acoustic instruments and digitally processed or synthesised sound.

I develop my own software in a variety of languages for the generation and realisation of works that incorporate both restricted and extended instrumental playing techniques, real-time electronics, and studio-sculpted digital audio.

I know it’s an unpopular view in some circles, but I firmly believe that by coding your own musical ideas you can explore them with a depth that would be impossible otherwise and without insights from the art of programming. In my view, to not code your own algorithms would be a little like trying to get inside a culture without knowing its language.

I generally aim to blend rather than oppose acoustic and electronic sound sources. My hope is that this offers the audience a compelling aural investigation into the provenance and nature of sound and its structures, as well as extending well-known timbres into new expressive realms. Perhaps more importantly though, I usually try to present a coherent sonic image, where the new and old not only meet but cross-fertilise, and where instrumental sound is extended by electronics and electronic sounds are enhanced by live performance.

This approach goes beyond the surface sound world into the musical forms themselves. I algorithmically generate my instrumental and computer music parts from the same musical data, creating a more deeply-rooted synthesis of these often structurally incompatible sound worlds. To achieve this I code mainly deterministic algorithms–I am less interested in randomness than I am in perceivable structure, repeatability, and the ‘code-generate-improve’ feedback loop.

On the other hand, seeing myself as part of the experimental tradition of Western composition means I refuse to be pinned down to any particular aesthetic or approach. Like most of us, I grew up in a musically pluralistic environment and from my earliest years had no problem switching between, say, Hendrix and Ligeti. In fact I find more in common between these two musicians than surface listening might ordinarily reveal. So I improvise too: on saxophones, laptop, and MIDI wind controller.

My music, then, ranges from long, delicate meditations for the piano and computer, to dense and aggressive ensemble music exploring performance failure, to freely improvised electro-instrumental noise. I am decreasingly occupied with the specification of fixed musical details and increasingly interested in making flexible software to create music-structural potential.

To this end, in my algorithmic works, generative ideas and their expression in software are the crux of the piece, rather than the details of any one score generated by them. Or to put it another way, the fixed score is not the essence of the music but a tool towards reaching one possible realisation of the ideas as expressed in software–I’m just swapping one code for another, really.

Medium

270 words

As a composer I work in the area of instrumental, electronic, and algorithmic composition (software-generated music). My main focus is an amalgam of these, combining acoustic instruments and digitally processed or synthesised sound.

I firmly believe that by coding your own musical ideas you can explore them with a depth that would be impossible otherwise. To not code your own algorithms would be a little like trying to get inside a culture without knowing its language.

I generally aim to blend rather than oppose acoustic and electronic sound sources, to present a coherent sonic image where the new and old not only meet but cross-fertilise. This goes beyond the surface sound world into the very musical structures themselves. I algorithmically generate my instrumental and computer music structures from the same musical data, creating a more deeply-rooted synthesis of these two often structurally incompatible sound worlds.

Seeing myself as part of the experimental tradition of Western composition means I refuse to be pinned down to any particular aesthetic or approach. I grew up in a musically pluralistic environment and from my earliest years had no problem switching between Hendrix and Ligeti. So I improvise too, on saxophones, laptop, and MIDI wind controller.

My music, then, ranges from long, delicate meditations for the piano and computer, to dense and aggressive ensemble music exploring performance failure, to freely improvised electro-instrumental noise. I am decreasingly occupied with the specification of fixed musical details and increasingly interested in making flexible software to create variable scores as expressions of the musical-generative idea–I’m just swapping one code for another, really.

 Short

143 words

As a composer I work in the area of instrumental, electronic, and algorithmic composition (software-generated music). I generally aim to blend rather than oppose acoustic and electronic sound sources, as well as to present a coherent sonic image, where the new and old not only meet but cross-fertilise.

Seeing myself as part of the experimental tradition means I refuse to be pinned down to any particular approach, so I improvise too, on saxophones, laptop, and MIDI wind controller. My music ranges from quiet meditations for the piano and computer, to dense ensemble pieces designed to exploit failure, to freely improvised electro-instrumental noise. I am decreasingly occupied with the specification of fixed musical details and increasingly interested in making flexible software to create variable scores as expressions of the musical-generative idea–I’m just swapping one code for another, really.

Share Button