My research focuses upon electronic music, combining both theory and practice.
In theoretical terms, I have developed a novel work-concept that is responsive to contemporary music; rather than accepting the prevailing philosophical paradigm, which rarely gets beyond 18th century notions of the music work, I have argued for an updated account that acknowledges the many ways that music is now created, performed, produced and experienced. My various talks, papers and book chapters serve to demonstrate some of the many ways in which contemporary music may extend beyond traditional conceptions of works and their performances, highlighting potential links with art philosophy more generally whilst suggesting ways in which analytical philosophy might be used to explain how contemporary music exists. Overall, my theoretical work has addressed: compositional methods; analytical approaches to electronic music; the nature of performance interpretation and authenticity; the nature of digitised music; various philosophical paradoxes that electronic music seems to produce.
In practical terms, I compose and perform electronic music. My recent compositions explore the relations that hold between pitch and noise; rather than viewing them as opposites, however, my compositions address some of the many ways in which pitch and noise coalesce, planting one within the other whilst exploring continua that connect the two. I have a long-standing interest in exposing false binaries of this kind; previous pieces have explored gesture and texture, micro and macro, mimesis and abstraction, among others. For some considerable time, I have argued that there is a compositional ‘telos’ pointing at performance; although this is well-known in other musical fields, the idea has received insufficient attention in the world of electronic music. My music is intentionally composed with performance in mind and, crucially, this helps to direct acts of performance and interpretation. Although it is common for composers of electronic music to perform their own works, I maintain that these roles are distinct, uphold performance as a separate aspects of my creative practice.
I am extremely proud to supervise a number of wonderful PhD students at the University of Sheffield, including:
- Alejandro Albornoz – acousmatic composition
- Vanessa Sorce-Levesque – acousmatic composition
- Mark Summers – human+computer music performance and improvisation
- Rees Archibald – sound installations, process, chance and agency
- Chris Bevan – acousmatic composition
- John Mercer – acousmatic composition