Study guide: Introduction to Electroacoustic Music

I’m currently in the process of writing some study guides (5-10 page PDFs) for areas related to music technology. This is the first, an introduction to electroacoustic music, including a timeline, choice quotes from key individuals, profiles and introductory definitions of the various schools of thought and practice which make up electroacoustic composition.

This is version 1.0. I’d be grateful for any feedback. And if you find the guide useful in your own work, do let me know.





Korg Legacy MS20 at 10

Having a bit of a May bank holiday play with the Korg Legacy collection MS20 for some instant Krautrock and synth drone stuff. Haven’t had a chance to use it in at least a year; kudos to Korg for keeping it updated (it’s 10 years old!) and making it so easy to authorise it on a new machine!



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Austins Installation, City of Culture 2013


An 18th Century Requiem (in  a 19th Century Container) for 20th Century Derry in the 21st Century (2013)

This piece was the sonic element of an installation in the former ‘bridal suite’ area of Austins Department store. It was premiered at ‘The Big Shop Show’ (5th and 6th December 2013), a series of situated art and performance pieces at Austins Department Store as part of Derry~Londonderry City of Culture, curated by my colleague Paul Devlin. It’s a  21st century digital ‘music box’ process, helped with by the time travelling German–British composer, G.F. Handel (who didn’t quite make it to Derry during his ‘original’ lifetime, though he did make it to Dublin) reflecting on the upheavals of Derry’s 20th century from within the walls of a 19th century container (Austins department store).The piece features a brief digitally processed choral sample from a 1916 recording of Handel’s ‘Messiah’, which is transposed based on intervals from a setting of the 19th century Anglican hymn ‘There is a Green Hill Far Away’, whose words were composed in the city.

You can find out more about the overall project at:

You can hear an excerpt of the process via Soundcloud.[soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=6ea9e0&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]


Opening for Radio Free Derry: ‘Ripples of Inertia Bells’ on Resonance FM

I had the strange experience of ‘opening’ for a 40+ year old clandestine radio station on Friday…

My latest piece ‘Ripples of Inertia Bells’, which you can hear (and read more about) at my Soundcloud page, was broadcast on Resonance last Friday as part of their residency here for City of Culture. But what added to the sense of ‘presence’ of having a piece played ‘live’ (if prerecorded/pre–rendered) on the radio was the unexpected ghostly follow-up…Old tapes from Radio Free Derry, comprising their playing of requests (and some indistinct ambient noises from their studio), broadcasting to Derry, London and the world at large via the net 40+ years later!

Anyway, if you want to read about ‘Ripples of Inertia Bells’ before listening, here’s the blurb:

‘The composition references prominent bells from the Derry~Londonderry soundscape: those of the Guildhall and St Eugene’s (Catholic) Cathedral. These bells are soundmarks, denoting identity and  sonic territory. But they also occupy time, as well as space, binding the present with traditions possessing both durability and inertia. These bells are processed digitally and transposed in pitch and in length, stretched and compressed, based on intervals from the Anglican hymn ‘There is a Green Hill Far Away’, which was composed in the city. These meandering transpositions are intended to evoke the complex nature of Derry’s contested history. The piece’s process takes 1613 seconds, referencing Derry’s Royal charter and the foundation of the city walls.’

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My SITUS/City of Culture collaboration with Paul Devlin

This soundscape–based piece, Inertia Bells, is the first fruit of my collaboration with my colleague Paul Devlin as part of the SITUS (Sound in the Urban Space) project. The essence of the project is investigating site-specific and site-informed implications for electroacoustic composition and sound art. The final set of pieces will be installed in the autumn in Austins department store (reputedly the oldest independent department store in the world) as part of a Derry~Londonderry City of Culture 2013 project.

Inertia Bells

The bells, as ‘soundmarks’ with ethnoreligious and political significance assert sonic space and territory, but also occupy time as well as space, binding the present moment with traditions possessing significant strength, durability and inertia.

This piece features materials derived from the bells of St Eugene’s Cathedral and the Guildhall, Derry.

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=00dcff&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]