I’ve been spending April in Taranto, Italy working on new projects, eating lots of amazing food and catching up with family & friends. On 20thApril I’ll be playing my first performance as part of Garlic Hug - a new duo with Alessandro Altavilla.
We’re a new racket of skronky sax, heavy drones, field recordings, frenetic beats and chunky synth riffs. Baz the baritone was a bit too big for this trip, so I’ll be playing on alto and various beat-making devices…
On 20th April we’ll be playing in Taranto and on 22ndApril we perform at MUZIC PLUS, Altamura, Bari.
I’m excite to take part in a workshop with the Ligeti Quartet at the end of April, for which I’m developing sketches for a new composition. This workshop features as part of the launch for University of Sheffield’s Centre for New Music (CeNMaS) and the Sound Agendas conference between 27-29thApril.
After this first workshop I’ll be completing the piece in time for a final workshop and performance from the Ligeti Quartet in Autumn.
The composition explores the idea of a sonic strobe, with the sounds of the quartet turning ‘on and off’ according to rhythmic cycles and patterns. A glissando runs through the part of each player, tracing different textures and directions which the performers continue to imagine internally during silent moments.
My sketches explore different balances between silence and sound; I’m interested to see how the musicians independently imagine sound during silent passages, before converging again as a quartet. Other passages emphasise collective, unison rhythm, with the music flickering on and off.
Finding a simple way to notate this piece has been a challenge, but I’m nearly there, and looking forward to taking this further with the performers during the workshop...
I'm very excited to become Workers Union Ensemble's 2016-17 Composer-In-Association!
I'll be composing a new piece for the ensemble to be premiered at next April's Nonclassical Club Night, and can't wait to get working with this fantastic group.
We're looking to raise some funds to support this commission - if you can help, please take a look at the ensemble's Kickstarter!
I travelled to New York City in April for MATA Festival 2016. It was my first time in this city, and was happy to be heading there to work with Ensemble neoN to prepare my commissioned work, Splinter.
This work pulled together and expanded some of the ideas I had worked on in Metal Clay and Fractured Moulds, Scattered Signals, taking a modular approach to the composition within which the performers are asked to communicate and coordinate with each other in different ways.
Splinter is less improvisational. The piece centres around repetitive and recurring interval sequences, scattered and fragmented between the ensemble in different ways. Often this is achieved through cueing systems which comprise differing types of choice and relationships between the performers. These systems are instilled with an attentive focus on the actions of others, or individuals in the group, which prompt changes in the focus of listening. Interspersed throughout the piece, hocketed passages also drive a frenetic back-and-forth between individual performers or groups.
Ensemble neoN - joined by Ryan Muncy on bari. sax. and Pat Swoboda on electric bass - were wonderful to work with on this piece. Many of our discussions focused on how to ‘recover’ from or respond to breakdowns in communication in the game-like sections. The awkward hesitations and jolts during these moments are an important and playful aspect of the piece’s fabric. As their familiarity with the piece grew, it was great to experience the ensemble finding strategies to negotiate these moments, enjoying these aspects of the music and approaching each section with great energy and intensity.
I’m very excited to be travelling to New York next month for the preparation and premiere of my new work Splinter, a 2016 MATA Festival Commission.
The work will be performed by the fantastic Ensemble neoNwith Ryan Muncy + Pat Swoboda on 16thApril at Dixon Place, New York. This concert also features the Rhythm Method Quartet, and works by Emma O’Halloran, Lula Romero, Ophir Ilzetzki, José Manuel Serrano and Edgar Guzmán.
A few words about my new work, Splinter…
Several recent works of mine have drawn on games, focusing on rhythmic coordination, cueing relationships and inter-ensemble dynamics. Splinter is not a game piece, but it retains this playful nature. The piece is based around recurring patterns which are scattered in various configurations throughout the piece, often in frenetic hockets or dizzy cueing systems.
Some sections of music are fixed, while others use instructions to set up cueing relationships within the group; there is an emphasis on performers listening and responding to each other in different ways from section to section.
I’m looking forward to a brilliant week of concerts at the festival, check it out here.
Friday 31st July 3015, Bluecoat, Liverpool, 7:30-9:30pm Tickets £4/£5
Galvanize Ensemble return with another Happenstance eventat Bluecoat, Liverpool's centre for contemporary arts.
The performance will include my own graphic score Cogsalongside music from Tansy Davies, Robert Szymanek, Paul Fretwell, Laurie Anderson, John Cage, Christian Wolff, Stockhausen, Ryoko Akama and work by sound artist Angie Atmadjaja. This event includes the world premiere of composer Edward Jessen’s MAIDEN NAME.
Galvanize Ensemble is joined by artist, Claire Orme, who creates site-specific performance pieces.
Brilliant to have new piece Clutch performed by Galvanize Ensemble at this great venue- LV21 on Gillingham Pier, Kent.
Clutch was composed for Galvanize Ensemble as part of Kate Halsall's Happenstanceproject, and was performed on 8th November alongside music by Tansy Davies, Robert Szymanek, John Cage, and an installation by artist Claire Orme (paranormal investigator cum radio DJ Claire Voyant!). The night also featured text pieces by students from MidKent College, which they created in a Composers' Workshops on 7th November with Duncan MacLeod, Robert Szymanek and myself.
The performers included Joel Bell, Sarah Dacey, Paul Fretwell, Kate Halsall, Phil Maguire, feat. Genevieve Wilkins and Jennifer Allum.
It's here! A live recording of Zeta Potential has been released by Huddersfield Contemporary Records. Commissioned by the European Composers Professional Development Programme, this piece was written for Amsterdam's Nieuw Ensemble, who premiered the piece at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2012.
The album takes its name from my composition and includes a collection of 21 live performances premiered at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//) in 2011 and 2012. This compilation features experimental new music ensembles Nieuw Ensemble, Icarus Ensemble and Ensemble 10/10.
Over the past few months I've been working with a group of 9 musicians who participated in a series of workshops I led between October to December 2013 at LSO St Luke’s. Two new pieces - Fractured Moulds, Scattered Signals and Metal Clay - experiment with ideas that we explored during these sessions.
Fractured Moulds, Scattered Signals uses strategies which shift and re-orientate the group dynamic through different means of group coordination, without a conductor. The players weave between stomping patterns and webs of game-like cueing systems, mediated by a score which asks the players to change the way they communicate with each other, mixing instructional games along with improvised sections and conventionally notated passages.
I wrote Metal Clay for percussionists Renzo Spiteri and Michael Speers, and I've really enjoyed working closely with them over the past few weeks to develop this piece. Metal Clay is made up of several short sections, which each outline either a pattern, a cueing system or a task; these sections set out the rules by which the performers interact, but allows them to 'feed in' whatever sounds they want into the system. Several ideas in this piece originate from children’s clapping games or other game-like interactions. The percussionists depend on each other to sustain rhythmic coordination, yet they also provoke each other in playful exchanges.
Fractured Moulds, Scattered Signals and Metal Clay will be performed on 28 June 2014 at LSO St Luke's, London. The ensemble includes Renzo Spiteri, Michael Speers, Marcus Somerville, Alonso Garrigues Muñoz, Katerina Perdikomati, Mārtiņš Baumanis, Della Angelina, Mela Boev & Laurel S. Pardue.
We’re underway with rehearsals for the Soundhub showcase on 28thJune!
I’ve composed a duo for percussionists and a piece for our 9-piece ensemble of percussion x 2, trumpet, bass guitar, piano, synthesizer x 2, voice and violin. Both of these pieces use various types of scoring to shift and re-orientate the group dynamic and means of rhythmic coordination.
For the 9-piece ensemble, the players weave in and out of stomping patterns, graphic scores and game-like cueing strategies. I’m delighted to be working with performers Renzo Spiteri, Michael Speers, Marcus Somerville, Alonso Garrigues Muñoz, Katerina Perdikomati, Mārtiņš Baumanis, Della Angelina, Mela Boev & Laurel S. Pardue.
Renzo Spiteri and Michael Speers will be performing the percussion duo for metallic instruments, ranging from delicate chime patterns to industrial clattering. The duo will play a series of short games which explore cooperative-competitive rhythmic relationships and interdependent cueing systems.
I am currently putting together a group of performers for a concert at LSO St. Luke’s next May/June, as part of LSO’s Soundhub scheme. I’ll be creating a series of compositions which explore ideas of gameplay and rhythmic interaction, for which we'll be trying out various types of notation. This will begin with some exploratory sessions between October to December, for the group to get to know each other and to start developing some ideas for the performance.
My recent work has often used the idea of continually transforming rhythms as a departure point for composition; evolving repetitions create a web of shifting textures and rhythmic relationships between performers, often in game-like scenarios.
One strand of this project at St. Luke’s will involve developing a graphic score for a group of 5-10 players. The score will be explored as a network of various cueing systems which set in motion frenetic streams of mutating patterns.
I’ll also be working on a piece for 1-4 players using a mix of notational methods including stave notation and loop-based graphic scores. These will be based around individuals and will focus on different types of rhythmic interplay and pattern-based music, within game-like frameworks. These sessions will take place around every 2-3 weeks, and are a chance to try out some material and different approaches. From January onwards these pieces will be developed towards performance.
Any instruments (acoustic/electronics/digital) welcome! If you’re interested, drop me an email at email@example.com. Please circulate to anyone who might be interested.
I'm delighted to have been made a member of the LSO Soundhub scheme for 2013-15. My project is based around ideas of rhythm and gameplay, for which I'll be exploring various strategies of notation. The score will be treated as a map for different interactions between players, through which we'll build cueing systems and game-like rhythmic frameworks.
The project will begin with some experimental workshops, leading towards the composition of a set of pieces to be performed at LSO St. Lukes in 2014.
I'm currently forming a group of players for this project- if anybody in the London area is interested in getting involved, drop me a message! Acoustic or electronic performers are very welcome.
More details to follow soon!
Here are some photos from our installation at the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival in Hawick. Videoed choreography from Claire Pençak with music composed by myself and Alessandro Altavilla.
Claire's work takes its name from George Mackay Brown's 'The Weaver', and is based on the signalling of Orkney Lighthouses, with the choreography conveying 'the collision of wave on rock, ships that pass in the night, the scanning beam of a lighthouse on dark seas'. We installed in the Crown Business Centre on Hawick Highstreet, blacking out the windows to transform this former office space into a darkened room illuminated only by the beam of the projector. The video of Claire's choreography was projected onto a perspex cube, creating multiple images of the dancers on the surface of the cube and onto the walls.
The music draws on data from cycles and signals of the Orkney lighthouses, which gave rise to multi-layered patterns which ebb and flow, creating looming waves of different intensities. The process began by recording fragments for baritone/tenor/alto saxophones and double bass before creating an electroacoustic composition which combines these recorded sounds with electronics. The saxophone and double bass parts were played by myself and bassist John Pope.
I recently returned home from my second session with Amsterdam's Nieuw Ensemble where we trialled and workshopped my new composition Zeta Potential. I'm currently fine-tuning the work after an intense weekend of work with this fantastic group, and I'll be finalising it in the coming week. Looking forward to the premiere in November! http://www.hcmf.co.uk/event/show/315
Zeta Potential is a calculation which measures the stability of semi-fluid/semi-solid substances; it indicates the potential for the material to remain in its present state. My piece traces a constant flux between stable and unstable textures, framed around cycles of growing and decaying musical patterns which undergo constant transformation. Within this, the bonds and relationships between the performers also break down and regroup, fluctuating between conventional time signatures and various cueing strategies within the ensemble.