Composit 2015

Bit of a retro-post now that the dust has settled. From 28-June til the 5-July I was fortunate enough to be selected for the 2015 Composit Festival. The festival was an intesive 8-day composition festival in the town of Rieti, Italy.

During this time I attended masterclasses, and had private lessons, with the tutors for the festival: Pierluigi Billone, Joshua Fineberg and Davide Ianni.

The festival culminated with a performance of my new work A - for alto saxophone, percussion, electric guitar and accordian. The performance was courtesy of Ensemble Composit: Vincent Daoud, Luca Piovesan, Tom de Cock, and Maarten Stragier.


Presentations at Goldsmiths Music Research Seminar and The Totally Huge New Music Festival Symposium

This week will be presenting two different pieces of original research. The first, at Goldsmith's Music Research Seminar on Tuesday 19 May, discusses my recently developed interactive electronics program Emanations.

ABSTRACT: Emanaitons is a powerful tool for expanding the possibilities of live improviation in both an acoustic and electronic context. Designed as a standalone system, Emanations responds dynamically to any potential input in a live performance, matching stored musical phrases with the incoming audio and outputting the result. This presentation will discuss how perceptual factors other than pitch and amplitude are integrated into the system, and how phrase matching is approached to generate the appropriate output.

The second research presentation will be at the TURA New Music Totally Huge New Music Festival Symposium on Thursday 21 May. Entitled NOIZEMASCHIN!! : A new model of live performance in Perth, Western Australia from 2011 to the present day, this paper will discuss the experimental music series Noizemaschin!! which I curated and co-created with SKoT McDonald. The paper will be presented by SKoT McDonald on my behalf.

ABSTRACT: This paper documents the creation of the experimental concert series Noizemaschin!!, and the emergent model of live performance on which the series was built. Noizemaschin!! was created in response to the lack of a regular experimental music night in Perth, and utilised an innovative format. In an attempt to break away from the existing culture of experimental music, and experimental music performance, Noizemaschin!! billed itself as a noise gig, a departure which was reinforced by Noizemaschin!!’s unique approach to curation, format, and community engagement. With Noizemaschin!! celebrating its fourth birth-a-versary in 2015, this paper concludes with a discussion of the role we hope Noizemaschin!! will play in Perth’s experimental musical future. 

As part of the Totally Huge New Music Festival a number of different graphical scores and concert posters are being exhibited at the State Library of Western Australia as part of the launch of the WA New Music Archive. An excerpt of my score The Days When Crows Would Watch Us Play II is on display as part of this exhibition, courtesy of Adam Trainer and Cat Hope. The exhibition is a fantastic collection of memoribilia of WA's New Music over the past 45 years.

More information here
Photo courtesy of Cat Hope


Sam Gillies featured on NFSA's Lateral Listening Program

I was fortunate enough to recently be approached by Tessa Elieff at the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) of Australia to put together a collection of my work for episode 8 of their soundcloud series Lateral Listening. The episode includes laptop, studio, and ensemble works, and hopefully gives an impression of the range of my work thusfar.

Each episode of Lateral Listening focuses on a different Australian artist, with the primary focus being genres associated with sound art and experimental musics. Past episodes include artists such as Cat Hope, Gail Priest, Daniel Blinkhorn, Kate Carr, Lawrence English and many more.

You can stream my episode and many others at the NFSA's soundcloud.


Studies for Laptop (2011-2014) Released on bandcamp

Back in January I finally found the time to get around to putting together an album of my work for solo laptop, titled Studies For Laptop (2011-2014). It is available as a free download from my bandcamp.

For three years I was involved with the Noizemaschin!! concert series, a monthly event of noise making that pulled eight artists on stage to create and experiment in front of an audience without the pressure and expectation of a more conventional 'club' gig. It was during this time that I started developing my own approach to laptop performance, often relying on improvisation to navigate my way through different processing structures, allowing the electronics themselves to help inform the music.

While my approach to more 'composed' music is often highly controlled, laptop performance has been an outlet for me to concentrate on creating in the moment. The pressures of live performance are completely different to that of the studio, and so during my time with Noizemaschin!! I was interested in exploring how my improvised laptop performances would develop in this live setting. Many of these experiments, by myself and others, have been documented thoroughly through three years of audio recordings over at the Noizemaschin!! bandcamp page and are available for free download now.

Studies for Laptop (2011-2014) is an edited collection of works realised during this time, musical studies for live laptop performance that were created in the moment as a reaction to the electronic environment. These are, in every sense of the word, studies. But they are also pieces that I feel comfortable sharing as a representation of what performing live is to my music, and as a document of how I have arrived to my practice today.


Snowden (Eyes In The Sky) to be performed at the Dark Music Days Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland

My first international performance of 2015 is courtesy of Lindsay Vickery who will be performing Snowden (Eyes In The Sky) in Reykjavik, Iceland as part of his concert Silent Revolution at the Dark Music Days Festival on  January 30.

Described by The Times as “ever-diversifying… a hot ticket in a cultural hotspot,” Dark Music Days provides Iceland’s foremost platform for showcasing innovative and progressive contemporary music in Iceland. Established by the Society of Icelandic Composers in 1980, the festival places emphasis on premiering new and often experimental pieces that reflect the ever-growing diversity and creativity of contemporary music. The festival is today one of the most important festivals of contemporary music in Iceland, where the music of Icelandic composers blends with current events and renowned international music.


The program also features Cat Hope's Signals Directorate and four pieces by Vickery: Silent Revolution, Sacrificial Zones, Semantics of Redaction and ...with the fishes...

More information on Silent Revolution and the Dark Music Days Festival available here.