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the project

SynC is Michael Atherton (ancient and contemporary acoustic instruments) and Garth Paine (electronics). Both musicians have extensive histories as composers, performers and academics. They have both published and performed original works internationally, and through SynC, are endeavouring to extend their compositional province to explore more fully the potential of a live acoustical and electronic ensemble. In so doing their investigations delve into contemporary approaches to musical Composition and Performance.

Focusing on the interface between acoustic and electronic music, SynC is an experimental ensemble for acoustic instruments and live electronics, including the processing of live acoustic input, cross-synthesis and synthesis artefacts. This composition/performance collaboration seeks to contextualise ancient and modern musical languages within a single form. It does so by utilising ancient and contemporary acoustic musical instruments (e.g. oud, hurdy-gurdy, gongs, marimba, and percussion) as the sonic foundation for complex live electronic processes, which generate a vast array of timbral environments, responsive to the acoustic input, but simultaneously independent. This exploration seeks to re-contextualise the acoustic instruments, whilst also grounding the live electronic sounds within a rich musical heritage.

This musical practice engages with discourse around notions of composition and performance, particularly, how these can be defined as potentials rather than as fixed inscriptions, and how within a computer music/software based environment, the notions of instrument, composition and performance become blurred and possibly take on new meaning. SynC also engages with new approaches to musical instruments focusing on electronic music and New Interfaces for Musical Expression. Drawing on the control apparent in acoustic instruments, this innovative approach to the integration of electronic and acoustic music is unusual, as the development of new instrument interfaces is usually driven from a technological rather than the player's perspective.

This exploration is manifest in Garth Paine's use of a Wacom Drawing Table as a multi-dimensional control surface for live performance, allowing him to discard the constraints of the laptop musician, always hidden behind a screen, and take his place as a musician on the stage. Techniques for computer-driven percussion instruments that utilize Chaotic and Fractal patterning have been developed with Michael Atherton, and can be heard on track 4, Aletryomancy.

the composers

Dr. Garth Paine is a Senior Lecturer in Music Technology and Research Associate of MARCS at the University of Western Sydney. His experimental, interactive sound environments have been widely exhibited internationally. He has been a key organiser and participant in the international conference, New Interfaces for Musical Expression, and curated major electro-acoustic music events in Australia, the UK and Canada. He is a founding member of the Electronic Music Foundation, New York, and is fascinated with music as an experimental, visceral, immersive domain.

Professor Michael Atherton is a research dean and foundation professor of music at the University of Western Sydney. He is a composer in a variety of genres and styles; a perfomer and author with research interests in Asia-Pacific music and Australian instruments; a screen composer; an advocate of cross-cultural exploration; and an experienced intercultural practitioner. Michael particularly enjoys improvisation and collaborative work.

His previous recordings for Celestial Harmonies and Black Sun Music include Shoalhaven Rise (with Michael Askill and Riley Lee) (15019-2), Ankh: The Sound of Ancient Egypt (13174-2), Abundance (with James Ashley Franklin) (13192-2), Aurora (with James Ashley Franklin) (13236-2), Sea & Mountain: Music in the Korean Style (13170-2), Lyrebird (with Matthew Doyle) (15023-2) and Cross-Hatch: Didjeridu + Percussion (with Alan Dargin) (15028-2).

biography (michael atherton)

biography (garth paine)

discography (michael atherton)


1 33degrees50minutes South 13'46"
2 Al Anbiq Dialogue 7'28"
3 Encounter 12'18"
4 Aletryomancy 11'39"
5 Eclipse 13'17"
  Total Time: 59'02"