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Meet Tim Murray-Browne, Composer in Residency

Presentation on Thursday 20th of September 2012, 7pm.

My name is Tim Murray-Browne and I’m greatly honoured to have been invited to spend the next ten months within the Music Hackspace as resident composer under Sound and Music’s embedded composer residency programme. During this time I am proposing to explore the concept of ensemble within the musical hacking culture. In Thursday’s talk I will introduce myself, discuss why I think ensemble and hacking are ideas that should be explored together and invite members of the space to be involved in creating an installation-ensemble of musical interfaces over the next ten months.

My background mixes engineering, art and music. I recently completed a PhD at the Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary University of London researching what drives us to make, spectate and play with new musical interfaces and interactive sound works. I believe that music hacking is an act of musical expression in much the same way as composition or performance. New musical interfaces provide us the opportunity to compose not just in the medium of sound but as action causing sound.

But with individuals designing, composing for and performing their musical instrument, where does this leave the art of ensemble composition? Can a composer unite the divergent and idiosyncratic voices into the unity we hear from a string quartet? Or does the hacker culture show up the very idea of a composer dictating who may do what as an outdated relic of the industrial age? Music hackers often appear mavericks trying to escape established conventions. But they are near universal in their desire to share what they have created, listen to each other and perform together. It is as much a collective activity as any other musical practice.

Making music together provides a space to explore our relationships with each other, what happens when we unite into a collective and our identity within that group. Over the next ten months I will be forming a Hackspace ensemble of musical interfaces created together with the ultimate aim of being harmonious components within a single installation. Musical hackers have a slight tendency to be mavericks. But just as the different parts within an ensemble form their own voice and role, I hope that the different personalities of those involved and the dynamics of the group will be reflected within final installation that we create.

I’ll be spending ten weeks spread over the next ten months working within the Music Hackspace and hope to have the opportunity to work with the whole spectrum of its members. Throughout, I’ll be seeking to find and further points of cohesion within the group without imposing upon each individual’s creative space. We will undoubtedly learn a lot from each other but I can also be more actively involved where people need help (musical or technical) to make things happen. I don’t anticipate that everyone will be able to make strong time commitments but I’d like to persuade everyone who might be interested in exploring new ways of creating sound with others to get involved early on. There aren’t too many conventions for what we are doing and I think the format gives us flexibility regarding how extensive anyone’s involvement is.

Hope to see you there on Thursday!