Michael Young


for violin, cello and interactive electronics c.25' Composed for Marleen Wester and Stefani Prenn.

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ebbs- invites participants to adapt to a changing audio environment: all performers collaborate in a three-way system (duo and computer).

ebbs- explores how truly interactive systems (live algorithms) require capacity for apparent autonomy and novelty The piece uses various notational and software strategies to determine the field of possibilities and relations (after Eco) available to human and machine collaborators alike.

The overall structure progresses from greatest to least compositional intervention, from least to greatest scope of possibilities.

Players make choices in musical timing and intervention. The computer deploys live processes, including IRCAM iana~ analysis/synthesis and real-time phase vocoding. Decisions as to which instrument to process, how, and when are increasingly deferred to the internal control of the system, partly in response to player's actions and also independent of them: players similarly are invited increasingly to adapt to emerging differences in the audio environment.

This work can differ radically on each performance, although the overall structure remains. Materials develop spatially (through oppositions) and temporally (through perpetual deferral of meaning).


for oboe and interactive electronics c.21' Composed for Chris Redgate.

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In that place [the river Pactolus] there grows a stone called argrophylax. Similar to silver it is difficult to find as it is intimately intermixed with the splangles of gold found in the river sands. It has the following property; the most considerable men among the Lydians buy it up and place it at the entrance of their treasure house. It protects safely the gold deposited there. If ever thieves try to enter, it emits a trumpet sound and they go over the cliffs as if being chased by armed guards. The place where they meet their violent death is called Pactolus Guardroom. (from De fluviis attributed to Plutarc (trans. with thanks to John Birchall)

argrophylax - screaming stone, fools' gold, mandrake, musical metaphor; argos - shining; arguros - silver; agros - countryside; phylax - guardian; argurophylax- a keeper of silver, a church father

argrophylax explores fusions of oboe timbres (extended techniques) with spectral processing as well as methods for intuitive performer-to-machine control. Musical materials are mutable, designed with many potential interpretative outcomes and conforms to 3 basic categories: emerging, dissipating, sudden. Pitch material is derived by spectral analysis of oboe multiphonics, e.g.:


argrophylax has a partly indeterminate score with interactive Max/MSP patch that implements sampling, FFT processing and granular synthesis. Unstable performance techniques trigger actions, whether definitive, sporadic or chaotic. Interpretation is determined by performer actions (timbral nuances and rhythm) and machine actions (the permitted range of behaviours). Structure and character are consistent from one performance to another, but detailed activity differs every time.

Both performer and machine actions are contingent on the other. Any single action has future ramifications as the music develops. Overall structure and local material is retained on each performance; the work explores an original space between the notated domains of open form and aleatoric counterpoint.

Main sections are entitled: alarms -- breathing -- the river Pactolus -- beyond frenzy -- as if decapitated

available on CD Oboe+: Berio and Beyond

on itunes here

or from www.oboeclassics.com


Flute and live electronicw. Composed for Jos Zwaanenburg.

download score (pdf)  |  go to audio page

This chaotic intermingling of processed flute and vocal sounds muses over the inanity of chatter. Babbling radios and TVs, speaking in tongues, threats of war, peace talks, talks about talks.... All sounds are triggered and manipulated in performance by audio input from the flute, and MIDI controller devices.

The sound-generators are gibbering chatterboxes. Their whispers, grunts and prattles at first appear only at the behest of the performer, but gradually absorb him as the piece develops.Live flute, Kurzweil 2000 sampler, Max patch.

New version (2010) available on Jos Zwaanenburg: 20 Odd Years (FMR Records)



  last updated 01-02-2014