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Acousmatic / Electronic

Most of the music below is now available for concert in all spatial audio formats (ambisonics, decoded speaker feeds, Dolby Atmos and stereo for sound diffusion). For larger loudspeaker arrays I travel with the music to ensure a correct rendering and performance. For enquiries, please select the contact tab.

The Swifts of Pesaro

2024, duration 6'07

All 2D and 3D Spatial Audio formats

In November 2023, while preparing for the premiere of a large orchestra and live electronics composition I had some days off from the intensity of performance, people and concert halls. To unwind, I visited a few of the recordings I made during the warm nights of Pesaro (Italy) earlier in the summer. Experimenting with these recordings resulted in ambient and immersive soundscapes, which, unlike the high-energy composition materials I was currently working on, I didn't really think much more of. It was also a mediation amidst the destruction wreaking havoc in the world in the end of 2023. Later on I played these slow-moving sounds to a friends who suggested that they could live on in a short composition. The result is 'The Swifts of Pesaro.' Dedicated to eco-acoustics researcher and sound artist David Monacchi.

Impossible Moments from Venice 2

2023, duration 7'42

Ambisonics (3D and 2D options)

On September 1st 2022 I landed in Venice for the first time. Loaded with expectations about history and culture, and influenced by how Venice has featured in the literary fiction of some of our great writers, my goal was to explore this city of islands, canals and bridges. Happy to be there outside the peak tourist season, and a year after cruise ships had been banned from the lagoon, I walked, listened and recorded. The tall and narrow buildings mislead a GPS and cast you into watery dead-ends, while a blind corner may reveal a hidden diagonal bridge leading to a passage the width of a person, transporting you directly to where you had intended to go. Capturing reality seemed impossible. The sounds, the acoustics, the light, the people, and whether the concept of the Venetian as a native inhabitant still exists, created a paradox of past, present and expectations of the future. No. 1 creates music from a narrative of floating iron piers, vaporetti (water buses) and the behind the scenes jostling of the graceful gondolas from 5 am to 8 pm. No. 2 reveals the outdoor city squares, a fishmonger and church bells, from many vantage points, and ends with a fortuitous recording exemplifying the clash of cultures living side-by-side in this city.

Impossible Moments from Venice 1

2023, duration 6'48

Ambisonics (3D and 2D options)

On September 1st 2022 I landed in Venice for the first time. Loaded with expectations about history and culture, and influenced by how Venice has featured in the literary fiction of some of our great writers, my goal was to explore this city of islands, canals and bridges. Happy to be there outside the peak tourist season, and a year after cruise ships had been banned from the lagoon, I walked, listened and recorded. The tall and narrow buildings mislead a GPS and cast you into watery dead-ends, while a blind corner may reveal a hidden diagonal bridge leading to a passage the width of a person, transporting you directly to where you had intended to go. Capturing reality seemed impossible. The sounds, the acoustics, the light, the people, and whether the concept of the Venetian as a native inhabitant still exists, created a paradox of past, present and expectations of the future. No. 1 creates music from a narrative of floating iron piers, vaporetti (water buses) and the behind the scenes jostling of the graceful gondolas from 5 am to 8 pm. No. 2 reveals the outdoor city squares, a fishmonger and church bells, from many vantage points, and ends with a fortuitous recording exemplifying the clash of cultures living side-by-side in this city.

Sensory Sleep and Dream Awake

2022, duration 8'00

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics or stereo for sound diffusion

Many years ago, in 1994 to be precise, excited and captivated by the possibilities offered by computers and composition, I enthusiastically delved into using sources that seemed musically innovative. Of course, after listening and learning, I found other composers had got there before me! I chose to preserve some of these sounds in the 'possibly interesting' archive, and the sounds from water droplets were amongst them. Fast forward to 2022, and it was time for me to revisit the ideas I had set aside, armed with fresh ears, new knowledge, new tools and new dreams. The result is a two-part work composed in higher-order Ambisonics: ‘Dream Awake’ and ‘Sensory Sleep’. The titles reflect my mental state before and after long studio sessions during the quiet hours of dawn. A project funded by the Norwegian Arts Council, aimed at illustrating the creative process of acousmatic composition to the Norwegian music scene, provided the perfect opportunity to bring to life what I had envisioned many years ago. ‘Dream Awake’ and ‘Sensory Sleep’ can be performed from a stereo source or decoded from the ambisonics over any 2D or 3D loudspeaker array, including Dolby Atmos systems. Stereo preview not yet publicly released.

Speaking Spaces 2: Surfaces from Graz

2021, duration 20'00

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics or stereo for sound diffusion

"Inversion 3: Speaking Surfaces" was commissioned by the musikprotokoll festival in Graz Austria. It was installed both inside and outside the MUMUTH (The House of Music and Music Theatre), Lichtenfelsgasse 14, 8010 Graz, Austria. It played in all weathers from the 7th-9th September 2021. The work was remixed into a 15 minute stereo piece for the Reconfiguring the Landscape documentation CD and given a new title: "Speaking Spaces 2: Surfaces from Graz". Also see links to the sound installation: https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/2442459/2442460 Speaking Space 2: Surfaces from Graz can be performed from a stereo source or decoded from the ambisonics over any 2D or 3D loudspeaker array, including Dolby Atmos systems. For the installation version Inversion 3, please take contact.

Growth

2021, duration 6'00

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

During the corona crisis, like many composers I spent time isolated in my studio playing with new ideas and new directions. 'Growth' was one of these pieces. It grew out of the ideas that I was experimenting with during the creation of the installation 'We Are Not Alone' in 2015. Also see links to the sound installation: https://vimeo.com/141030686 Growth can be performed as acousmonium sound diffusion from a stereo source or decoded from the ambisonics over any 2D or 3D loudspeaker array, including Dolby Atmos systems.

Speaking Spaces no.1: Heterotopia

2021, duration 25'00

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics or stereo for sound diffusion

I no longer remember when I realized: rather than hearing a dog bark, a hawk screech, the traffic or a child, I instead heard the forest, the mountain, the rock-face and the city. The spaces were speaking with their acoustic reflections, but it was something more too. These encounters contradicted my normal perception and became transformative experiences during my walks through the landscape, which seemed to contain more layers of meaning than immediately evident to the eye and ear. 'Speaking Spaces' is a series of works that explore these alternative conceptions of common space. Without knowing what to call this first composition I stumbled across Foucault's concept of Heterotopia as a mirror, which seemed to embody much of what I was experiencing. 'Speaking Spaces no.1: Heterotopia' is a journey from a forest to a winter shoreline.

Subliminal Throwback (Inversion-2)

2021, duration 23'00

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics or stereo for sound diffusion

Subliminal Throwback was a site-specific outdoor 3-D audio sound installation located in the amphitheatre between Gydas vei 8 and Slemdalsveiein 11 at Majorstuen, Oslo. The outdoor installation version is still available, and I have also remixed a version that can be played indoors over a variety of loudspeaker configurations.

Talking Trees (Sound Landscape Development 3b)

2020, duration 6'48

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics and stereo for sound diffusion performance.

The 'Sound Landscape Developments' are a series of compositional studies that reveal and enhance the features of outdoor spaces. They integrate listening, semantics and environmental interaction with new technical approaches addressing the dynamic range of sound-field spatiality. In 'Talking Trees' I searched a winter pine forest for trees that produced a creaking-squeaking sound when blown by the wind. Alongside bird calls, woodpeckers and a runner passing through the partly iced-down winter environment, the acoustics of the forest was also heard 'speaking'. Source recordings were made with two Soundfield SPS200 microphones spaced 20 meters apart: one close to the squeaky tree, one further away, in Skaugum Forest (Asker, Norway) on March 20th 2020 during the first week of the COVID-19 shutdown. Absent was the background noise from roads, trains and planes that would normally mask the details of the forest. The work is currently unreleased in stereo. Send a message for enquiries.

The Weathered Piano (quattuor tempora anni)

2019, duration 21'37

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics or stereo for sound diffusion

The seasons are disrupted. Freezes and thaws, storms and heatwaves. The 'Weathered Piano (quattuor tempora anni)' adventures along an acousmatic line through this landscape, the sounds subjected to the seasonal changes, the sounds becoming one with the land, a memory of the present before the future climate takes hold. The work has four seasons that play without pause. - Autumnus (autumn): late summer dissolves into autumn. Storms, tearing. - Hiems (winter): arctic winds, the cold creeping in, a last burst of energy as the light fails, the freeze. - Ver (spring): cracks appear, bursting, fighting, the light returns, spring rains heavy then calmer. - Aestas (summer): warm twilight evenings, extending time. Daytime brings passing company. The sun smashes into the piano's varnish, glares off the brass, rebounds off the strings. The composition was made by applying my own methods for analysing spatial information in the 3D recordings of a real "weathered piano" that had stood for many years outside CCRMA. I segmented and classified the recordings based on their spatial-spectral features, and explored principle trends, consistencies and variances in the materials using music information retrieval and machine learning. The results were then used to train a system that would reveal rules useful for composition. From these rules the work gradually took shape. 'Autumnus', 'Hiems' and 'Ver' are made with their own systems derived from specific sounds from the piano and from the local nature. 'Aestas' presents a freer connection between piano and nature through my experience of sound, what is heard, what is unheard, and the forest close to where I live The Weathered Piano is composed in 64-ch 7th order 3D ambisonics. It was commissioned by EAU (Electric Audio Unit) with support from the Arts Council Norway and premiered in Oslo on the 28th February 2020. The original 'weathered piano' from which the source sounds were recorded maybe still sits outside CCRMA, Stanford (USA).

Innermost

2019, duration 18'50

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics or stereo for sound diffusion

"Innermost" explores the manifestation of inner individuality in outward expression and common ground. Our inner-state is often reflected in our posture and the way we move - or our gait. Innermost reveals and develops this expression in a three-dimensional visual and auditory space The source materials are derived from two mass crowd events: celebrations devoid of political anxiety or violence and the uninhibited expression of individuals as a collective—comprising runners, marching bands, dancers, and cheering crowds. However, a darker undertone permeates the work: the materials are generated by applying processing techniques for image and sound recognition, already employed in population surveillance, facial tracking, and gesture recognition. 3D audio is deconstructed into spatial objects and huge amounts of data are transferred from visual processing techniques into sound via 3D audio sonification. Human traits are subsequently laid bare: at times energetic or harmonious, while at other times, aggressive or reminiscent of a flock of reanimated lifeless bodies. Harsh shouts and whistles reach a climax, merging into a cacophony of mechanical drilling and juddering engines, leaving silvery trails that ultimately dissolve into a counterpoint of silky spectral lines and a projection of care and embrace. Innermost was a collaboration between composer Natasha Barrett and digital video artist Marc Downie. The original version was composed in high resolution 3D ambisonics and 3D video but has since also been made for 2D video and also as a standalone acousmatic concert work. Innermost was a joint commission by Ultima and EMPAC-Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York. The work was supported by the Norwegian Cultural Council and EMPAC.

Innermost 3D video 3D sound, 1-minute teaser.

2019, duration 18'50

3D video by Marc Downie, 3D sound, all formats

1-minute teaser in 2D. For the 3D movie version please contact Openendedgroup: http://openendedgroup.com/index.html

From Afar (Uhørte kart)

2019, duration 30'00

5.0 surround

Acousmatic work for the opening of the new Map Centre at the Norwegian National Library. 5.0 / stereo. Commissioned by the Norwegian National Library with support from Sparebankstiftelsen.

Urban Melt in Park Palais Meran

2019, duration 12'00

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics and stereo for sound diffusion performance.

The summer of 2018 was rather hot. The cities I visited that were normally a pleasant summer temperature were melting. Is this the sign of summers to come? Experiencing how excessive heat can lead to both mirages and a state of delirium, Urban Melt transports an ordinary, outdoor table tennis game in Park Palais Meran, Graz, to a crazier world on the other side of the mirage. This work is one in a series of pieces that visits everyday 'normal' sound scenes and explores ways in which we can evoke and provoke a new awareness of environments we easily ignore. The composition was made by recording the outdoor table tennis game with the high-resolution EigenMike (4th order ambisonics recording) and then using beam-forming to isolate specific sounds and their directions in the sound-field. These new sources were then gradually transformed and layered back into the scene in 7th order 3D ambisonics. The work was supported by a grant from the Norwegian The Composers' Remuneration Fund and is available in all multichannel formats as well as stereo for performed sound diffusion.

Dusks Gait

2018, duration 12'00

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics or stereo for sound diffusion

As dusk falls, an ecosystem of fictional creatures appear, projecting their characters through their gait, or in other words, the manner in which they move. Dusk's Gait celebrates moments of real nature that may easily expire. The composition captures many late evenings and nighttime experiences of nature, and fantasies behind the veil of darkness. Dusk’s Gait was composed during an Edgard Varèse guest professorship at the Electronic Studios of the Technical University Berlin, and in the composers own studio.

Dark Flight with Luminescence

2018, duration 30'00

Live performance based on Pockets of Space and Dusk's Gait.

30-minute live performance using materials and ideas from Dusk's Gait. Send a message for enquiries.

Pockets of Space

2018, duration 15'00

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics and stereo for sound diffusion performance.

“Pockets of Space” is the music for the 3-D video and virtual reality work of the same name. The work is a collaboration between Natasha Barrett and United States–based visual artists Marc Downie and Paul Kaiser, known collectively as OpenEndedGroup. The work was originally composed in seventh-order 3-D Ambisonics for concert performance, and as an interactive binaural version for virtual reality headset. Stereo and binaural versions are presented for this present edition. Throughout the work, audio and visual scenes transform between states verging on both reality and abstraction, created by experimental methods involving the spatial decom- position and recomposition of source materials. Some of the musical materials began as real Ambisonics sound recordings that were then decom- posed to reveal sound objects and their spatial-frequency fingerprint. From these experiments, new materi- als were then abstracted and explored, and sometimes fed into the visual art- work. Other musical materials drew instead from the visual art, where Downie decomposed images into pixel information and implemented his own custom-made algorithmic processes. These processes revealed unique geometries and eccentric physics, which were in turn fed back into sound synthesis to create new spatial-audio imagery. This work was commission by the Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) and premiered at the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Pockets of Space 3D video and 3D sound (teaser)

2018, duration 15'00

3D video, 3D sound all formats

Portals

2018, duration 9'00

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

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Involuntary Expression

2017, duration 17'00

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics or stereo for sound diffusion

He slowly fell and transformed into the terrain

2016, duration 24'00

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics and stereo for sound diffusion performance.

The seasons are disrupted. Freezes and thaws, storms and heatwaves. The 'Weathered Piano (quattuor tempora anni)' adventures along an acousmatic line through this landscape, the sounds subjected to the seasonal changes, the sounds becoming one with the land, a memory of the present before the future climate takes hold. The work has four seasons that play without pause. - Autumnus (autumn): late summer dissolves into autumn. Storms, tearing. - Hiems (winter): arctic winds, the cold creeping in, a last burst of energy as the light fails, the freeze. - Ver (spring): cracks appear, bursting, fighting, the light returns, spring rains heavy then calmer. - Aestas (summer): warm twilight evenings, extending time. Daytime brings passing company. The sun smashes into the piano's varnish, glares off the brass, rebounds off the strings. The composition was made by applying my own methods for analysing spatial information in the 3D recordings of a real "weathered piano" that had stood for many years outside CCRMA. I segmented and classified the recordings based on their spatial-spectral features, and explored principle trends, consistencies and variances in the materials using music information retrieval and machine learning. The results were then used to train a system that would reveal rules useful for composition. From these rules the work gradually took shape. 'Autumnus', 'Hiems' and 'Ver' are made with their own systems derived from specific sounds from the piano and from the local nature. 'Aestas' presents a freer connection between piano and nature through my experience of sound, what is heard, what is unheard, and the forest close to where I live The Weathered Piano is composed in 64-ch 7th order 3D ambisonics. It was commissioned by EAU (Electric Audio Unit) with support from the Arts Council Norway and premiered in Oslo on the 28th February 2020. The original 'weathered piano' from which the source sounds were recorded maybe still sits outside CCRMA, Stanford (USA).

Topology Chamber 2

2015, duration 14'00

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics or stereo for sound diffusion

Topology Chamber 2 was composed in 2015 in 5th order 3-D ambisonics. The composition was created with the sonification of motion data recorded from a human playing with a balloon and a cymbal. Motion tracking markers were strategically placed on key points of the performer's body, balloon, and cymbal. A high-speed motion tracking camera system recorded the 3-D location of each marker while the performer explored the kinetic and acoustic properties of these instruments. Simultaneously, a microphone array captured the actual sounds produced by the instruments. Each marker generated a spatial motion dataset. Analyzing this data, along with the acoustic recordings, unveiled 'rules' representing the real-world performance system. These rules were then employed to compose new 'fictional' datasets, subsequently sonified into the sound materials of the composition. The sonification process took place in an interactive software called Cheddar, developed in MaxMSP. One objective was to render the motion, which is itself inaudible until it strikes the acoustic object, audible. With this approach I was interested in creating tangible sound - sound that you feel has a dynamic and physical connection to the listener - as if it were a real, touchable object. The track presented is rendered in binaural format using the APL Virtuoso software and is specifically designed for headphone listening only.

Topology Chamber 1

2015, duration 12'00

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics and stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Topology Chamber 1 is a live performance using the real-time process explained in Topology Chamber 2. Recording currently unavailable.

Volvelle 1

2015, duration 20'34

Higher-order 3D ambisonics, stereo for sound diffusion performance.

A volvelle is a rotating slide chart constructed from multiple concentric circles with pointers. In antiquity, they were used as calculators in astronomy, witchcraft, and fortune-telling. The volvelle in this piece calculates the emergence of frequency, spatial and temporal structures when sound-fields interact and are heard from different viewpoints. For a composer, this is a magic akin to sonic fortune-telling. “Volvelle" is an electronic / acousmatic work without instrumental performers and is composed for playback over loudspeakers in the higher-order ambisonics 3D sound format. Slow-moving lines are dynamically crossed by gestures and spatial patterns, made possible with our latest computer tools. The prominent appearance of sub-bass frequencies means this composition can only be experienced in a concert or sound-art installation with sub-bass loudspeakers. The sound sources stem from flutes and from environment recordings of a partly deserted rural village at dusk, recorded by the composer. These materials are highly processed, controlled by numerical parameters dictated by the volvelle. The work was made possible with support from a Norwegian Cultural Council artists grant, and created in the composer's own studio.

OSSTS Route no.1

2014, duration 22'38

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics or stereo for sound diffusion

Sound Exposure in Peru (six sections)

2014, duration 33'00

Ambisonics, stereo for sound diffusion performance.

A Soundwalk through Shanghai

2014, duration 8'35

Ambisonics, stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Flammepunkt

2014, duration 15'30

5.0 surround

Flammepunkt Miniatures

2014, duration 21'00

Multiple stereo

Hidden Values

2012, duration 22'00

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics or stereo for sound diffusion

Untitled 3

2011, duration 14'50

Ambisonics

Reality and Secrets no. 2

2010, duration 18'45

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics or stereo for sound diffusion

Animalcules

2010, duration 5'03

Higher-order 2D ambisonics.

Untitled Two

2010, duration 7'43

Ambisonics, stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Untitled One

2010, duration 4'50

Ambisonics, stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Kernel Expansion

2009, duration 14'26

Higher-order 3D ambisonics.

Sub Terra (concert works)

2008, duration 16'11

Ambisonics, stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Gentle Sediment (Barely_part-3)

2008, duration 10'00

Multiple stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Rite-4/18

2007, duration 4'00

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Barely:part-1

2007, duration 43'00

Stereo background for home listening (from the Barely installation).

Microclimates III-VI (concert version)

2004/2006, duration 22'00

Higher-order 2D ambisonics.

Mobilis in Mobili

2004/2006, duration 8'00

Higher-order 2D ambisonics.

Trade Winds.

2004-2006, duration 52'00

12-ch, 16-ch and stereo versions for sound diffusion performance.

Hommage a Parmerud.

2005, duration 15'24

5.1 surround

Abemolpas (Avoid being eaten by mimicking other less paleatable species).

2004, duration 13'00

Higher-order 3D ambisonics, stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Exploratio Invisibilis.

2003, duration 28'00

Higher-order 3D/2D ambisonics and stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Prince Prosperos Party.

2002, duration 16'05

Ambisonics, stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Angels & Devils.

2002, duration 12'30

Ambisonics, stereo for sound diffusion performance.

...the fetters of a dream... (fetters)

2002, duration 14'30

5.1 surround

Industrial Revelations.

2001, duration 12'50

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Utility of Space.

2000, duration 14'00

6.0 and stereo sound diffusion combined.

Three Fictions.

2000, duration 12'30

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Viva la Selva!

1999, duration 17'30

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Outspan

1999, duration 5'20

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Microclimate II: Red Snow

1998, duration 15'40

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

Little Animals

1997, duration 12'40

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

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St Pauls Descending into the Autumn mist

1997, duration 2'35

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

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Racing Unseen

1996, duration 20'20

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

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Racing Through, Racing Unseen

1996, duration 3'00

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

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Earth Haze

1995, duration 13'54

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

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Swaying to See

1995, duration 14'00

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

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Puzzle Wood

1994, duration 13'20

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

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Trapez (music for contemporary dance)

2003, duration 5'00

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

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Gourmet (music for contemporary dance)

1998, duration 1hr 15'00

Stereo for sound diffusion performance.

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