Orchestra In The Digital Age (2019)
Orchestra and Sine Tones
The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
About The Work
What can 'The Orchestra' be today? This piece blurs the line between what we expect an orchestra to sound like today and what is possible. Sine Tones are the purest form of electronically produced sound and I blended these Sine Tones with the Orchestra in such a way that it is impossible to tell the difference between the two, blending them together to the highest degree possible. The result is an act of synchronisation which makes the orchestra glow in a new light, like hearing it anew. The piece speaks of the ever-advancing complex relationship between our technology and ourselves.
Grey Area (2017-19)
For Ensemble and Street Skateboarding Video
Engage Arts Festival
The Arts Council of Ireland
Composer / Artistic Director
Niall O’Byrne, Sam Curtin
Charles Neilson, Paddy Walsh
Musica Nova Helsinki, Finland
“Blending the essence of street skateboarding with contemporary music,
‘Grey Area’ is a hypnotic nocturnal journey through the streets,
leading us to secrets that we find only if we are open to them.”
About The Work
As a composer and skateboarder, it has taken me quite a few years to find a way of blending the two together in a meaningful artistic way. Grey Area is the fruit of a collaboration between friends, an exploration at the crossroads between contemporary music and street skateboarding. I wanted to convey the unique feeling of liberation that street skateboarding brings. I also wished to transport the listener / viewer into the mind a skateboarder. I did this to reveal how skateboarders look differently at architecture - how they perceive their landscape and the excitement that it brings to them.
In the film, two different worlds are shown in relief, each one complementing the other. The first layer is in slow motion and follows a skateboarder from the centre of a city to its outskirts. The second layer intersperses energetic, glitchy shots of a skateboarder interacting with their landscape. All sound was removed from the film and we hear this second layer played by Crash Ensemble. In other words, I orchestrated the sounds, rhythms and colours of skateboarding and The City. We are hypnotically drawn in to the skateboarder’s nocturnal journey to see what secrets are to be found, if we are open to them.
Solo Percussionist and String Orchestra
The Irish Chamber Orchestra
About The Work
Tinnitus is the hearing of sound when no sound is present. As a composer, hearing these phantom sounds, which started a year ago for me, can be frustrating. They can make composing, conversing, and sleeping quite difficult. Some people find that white noise, rainfall or ocean waves can help to mask these sound mirages. The ocean wave sounds worked for me, and I listened to them a lot. Over 365 days, while I had them flowing through my mind, I took these sounds from nature, that I cherish so much, and composed a work that is entirely made up of these beautiful patterns, in essence, 365 variations on a wave gesture. The ebb and flow in the music comes from the true rhythm of nature, and in the way it mysteriously varies itself. I attempted to harness these natural forces to create a work in which we can be in awe of nature’s secrets, but also a work that, who knows, can maybe cure tinnitus.
"...charts the wonderful variety of wave sounds, their slow rolling might, their percussive foam and froth, their rumbles and shimmers. Gabor Takács-Nagy and the players of the ICO, with Alex Petcu playing percussion, seemed to be delivering everything he could have wished for."
— Michael Dervan, The Irish Times