Composition and creative applications of technology – electroacoustic, microtonal, intermedia composition, sound-based installations, musical interaction design, creative exploitation of auditory perception and music cognition models, American experimental music
Please see my Ulster University staff profile for more information.
I also now have a profile on Academia.edu.
I’ve been collaborating with my colleague Adam Melvin on applying embodied image schemas to theorising film sound, presented at Cinesonika at Ball State University, USA, and the Music and Visual Cultures International Conference at Maynooth.
I’ve also continued my collaboration with Ricky Graham (Stevens Institute of Technology), with work presented at the Korean International Computer Music Conference and Ideopreneurial Entrephonics, a festival and conference at Trinity College Dublin.
With Stephen Roddy (TCD), I’ve been looking at ideas of embodied mappings can help sonification.
In the creative domain, I collaborated with Joe McLaughlin on a sound and light installation Anthem and Icon, a site-specific piece installed in a thatched cottage in the Derry Craft Village. The piece explores an alternative universe in which New York experimentalism was transposed to the West of Ireland after the 1960s, with drone–based extrapolations of the 1960s RTE version of the Irish national anthem accompanied by audio-reactive laser displays…
I’ve also been working with Paul Moore from AnNua Productions, with a performance and multichannel electroacoustic piece Anthem For Diffuse Territories featuring his ‘Manifesto for a New Ireland’, premiered in Dublin at Ideopreneurial Entrephonics festival the day before the centenary of the 1916 Rising. A shorter version for radio has just been completed.
As 2016 draws to a close, I’ve completed a piece addressing the Brexit situation in Northern Ireland, Borders of the Past, premiered at ‘Spaces and Places’ by the Spatial Music Collective with the Association of Irish Composers at the Freemasons Hall, Dublin.
I was on research sabbatical in Bejing during the first half of 2015, working on a number of projects, including those listed below. Research papers were presented this summer at NIME 2015 in the USA and EMS (Electroacoustic Music Studies) in the UK. I will also present work at ISSTC 2015 in Limerick in August.
Collaborative research is ongoing with Ricky Graham (Stevens Institute of Technology) and Brendan McCloskey and Frank Lyons (Ulster) on performance systems design; we presented on these projects at NIME 2015, see papers on ‘Accessibility and Dimensionality‘ and ‘Managing Musical Complexity with Embodied Metaphors‘. Previous work from the collaboration with Ricky was presented at NIME 2014 in London in July and at Re~New conference in Copenhagen in October 2013.
New article: ‘Strategies for Spatial Music Performance: the practicalities and aesthetics of responsive systems designs’ (with R. Graham, Stevens Institute of Technology): . In: Divergence Press, Issue 3: Spatial Sound: Creative Practice in Electroacoustic Music. Centre for Research in New Music, University of Huddersfield Press, UK, http://www.divergencepress.net/ (ISSN 2052-3467)
Other current work focusing on cognitively-based theories of musical structuring and microtonal music.
I’ve just joined the editorial board of, currently working on our next topic-specific call.
Doctoral research on microtonality:
My PhD (National University of Ireland, Maynooth, submitted 2012) was on microtonality:
Towards a Perceptually-grounded Theory of Microtonality: issues in sonority, scale construction and auditory perception and cognition.
The project comprised a c. 100,000 word dissertation on theoretical aspects of microtonal music along with a composition portfolio which explored microtonality in acoustic and electronic/electroacoustic music. PDFs of the thesis are now available to download from Maynooth library: http://eprints.maynoothuniversity.ie/6737/
Conference papers, articles and guest lectures/workshops:
2015. ‘Electroacoustic Music as Embodied Cognitive Praxis: Denis Smalley’s theory of spectromorphology as an implicit theory of embodied cognition’ (with R. Graham) , EMS (Electroacoustic Music Studies) 2015 Conference, University of Sheffield, UK, June 2015. Presentation slides here. Proceedings forthcoming. http://www.ems-network.org/spip.php?rubrique48
2015. ‘Accessibility and dimensionality: enhanced real-time creative independence for digital musicians with quadriplegic cerebral palsy’ (with B. McCloskey and F. Lyons, Ulster University): NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) conference 2015, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, in: Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression 2015, June 2015. Available at: https://nime2015.lsu.edu/proceedings/250/index.html
2015. ‘Managing Musical Complexity with Embodied Metaphors’ (with R. Graham, Stevens Institute of Technology), NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) conference 2015, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, in: Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression 2015, June 2015. Available at: https://nime2015.lsu.edu/proceedings/303/index.html
2014. ‘Strategies for Spatial Music Performance: the practicalities and aesthetics of responsive systems designs’ (with R. Graham, Stevens Institute of Technology). In: Lyon, E. (ed). Divergence Press, Issue 3: Spatial Sound: Creative Practice in Electroacoustic Music (December 2014). Centre for Research in New Music, University of Huddersfield Press, UK, http://www.divergencepress.com/ (ISSN 2052-3467)
2014. Gesture and Embodied Metaphor in Spatial Music Performance Systems Design’ (with R. Graham, Stevens Institute of Technology), NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) 2014, Goldsmiths, University of London, July 2014; in Caramiaux, B., Tahiroğlu, K., Fiebrink, R. and Tanaka, A. (Editors), Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression 2014, available at: http://nime2014.org/proceedings/NIME2014-Proceedings.pdf (ISSN: 2220-4792 (Print), 2220-4806 (Online), 2220-4814 (USB)), pp.581–584.
2014. ‘Experimental Music as ‘Environ–Mental’: what music’s fringes can tell us about how we view and create our world’, Humanities Forum, College of Arts and Letters, Stevens Institute of Technology, NJ, USA, February 2014
2014. ‘How to Dispose of the Body: on musical problems and bodily solutions’, Stevens Institute of Technology, NJ, USA, February 2014
2013. ‘Mapping and Meaning: embodied metaphors and non–localised structures in performance system design’ (with Ricky Graham, Stevens Institute of Technology), Re–New 2013 Digital Arts Festival and Conference, Copenhagen, October 2013; proceedings: Re–New 2013 Proceedings (ISSN: 2245-7801): available online at: http://www.l–l.dk/downloadables/re-new_2013_conference_proceeding.pdf
2013. ‘Loose Coupling and Gestural Structures in Spatial Music Performance Systems’ (with Ricky Graham, Stevens Institute of Technology), Irish Sound, Science and Technology Convocation, Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, August 2013
2013. ‘Memory and Music Composition’: Beijing Central Conservatory of Music (Composition Department), October 2013
2012. ‘Collision Harmonies: Glenn Branca’s Hallucinatory Aesthetic’, The Crash Ensemble, Project Arts Centre, Dublin, October 2012
2012. ‘Microtones/Macro-scale: Microtonal Composition and Perception’: Beijing Central Conservatory of Music (Composition Department), March 2012
2011. ‘Collapsing Musical Scale(s): Microtonal Music in Theory and Practice’, MPhil in Music and Media Technologies, Trinity College Dublin, December 2011
2010. ‘Can Sound Function in Music?’ Society for Musicology in Ireland annual conference, University of Ulster, May 2010
2008. ‘Can Harmony be Non-Linear? a response to some of Glenn Branca’s ‘25 Questions’’ Society for Musicology in Ireland annual conference, Waterford Institute of Technology, May 2008
2008. ‘Product of Culture-Clash: the Theatre of Eternal Music and the early New York Downtown Scene’, Irish Association for American Studies annual conference, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, April 2008. (Version published in Maynooth Musicology, vol. 1, 2008.)
2008. ‘Composing Angels at the Shotgun Wedding‘, MA/MSc in Music Technology, University of Limerick, April 2008
Select recent compositions and installations:
Recordings of most of these pieces can be found on the music page
2013. Four Derry Soundscapes: 4 miniature embedded pieces: as part of Paul Devlin’s Austins Project, Derry City of Culture, December 6th, 2013
2013. An 18th Century Requiem (in a 19th Century Container) for 20th Century Derry in the 21st Century: composition for installationas part of Paul Devlin’s Austins Project, Derry City of Culture, December 5th/6th, 2013
2013. Ripples of Inertia Bells (electroacoustic/radiophonic composition for binaural stereo), commissioned by Resonance FM/Resonance@Void, broadcast November 8th 2013
2012. A Space for Tension (erhu, 2 violins, electronics) perfomed by TiMi Ensemble at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music as part of Beijing Irish Festival, March 2012
2011. Collapsing Old Buildings (multichannel site-specific sound installation), commissioned by the Contemporary Music Centre(CMC) for Dublin Culture Night 2011/CMC 25th Anniversary, September 2011
A more complete list of works since 2006 can be found here.
Master’s degree work on NY Downtown/Experimental Music and Alt. Tuning/Microtonality.
Thesis: Amplified Art-Noise: amplification, alternate tuning and acoustical phenomena in the music of La Monte Young, Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca
MPhil (taught) Music and Media Technologies, Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, 2003
Transcripts of interviews conducted as part of this research:
See also: ‘Product of Culture-Clash: the Theatre of Eternal Music and the early New York Downtown Scene’, Irish Association for American Studies annual conference, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, April 2008. (Version published in Maynooth Musicology, vol. 1, 2008.)