Scott Mc Laughlin - Composer

News and Concerts


05-01-14: I'm very excited that Ergodos Records will be releasing my first solo CD in a few weeks. It features several versions of there are neither wholes nor parts played by Jonathan Sage and Iain Harrison, also a piece for Trio Scordatura, a studio recording of the guitar-feedback piece Surfaces of Emergence, and Quatuor Bozzini playing a metastable harmony.
Also, the Bozzinis will play a metastable harmony in Bristol University on Feb 21st along with Cage and Tenney; see here.
Two great new pieces lined up for early 2014. Diego Castro will play my new piece for classical guitar in Huddersfield Mon 17 March, St Paul's Hall, 7:30 PM: Adults £7.50, Senior £5, Students Free.
Seth Woods will play my new solo cello piece in Spring 2014. The piece is called intra-actions, referencing Karen Barad's concept of agential realism, and develops techniques used in a metastable harmony. The piece forms the basis of my article in the forthcoming Divergence Press Journal (formerly CeReNeM Journal).
Henri Bok and Eleri Ann Evans have commissioned a new piece for their duo + 31-tone Fokker organ. The concert is part of the Huygens-Fokker Foundation's 'organ series'. The performance is on 4th May, 2014 at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam.

01-12-13: Surfaces of Emergence, a piece for multiple electric guitars playing feedback, was played at HCMF. Angela Guyton made a beautiful video of extracts from the piece; the full piece was 30mins.

09-02-13: new piece under way for LSTwo, excellent new music ensemble of University of Leeds, great players and great to work with. This will be played as part of the Contemporary Music Weekend, April 19th 18:00—20:00, in Clothworkers Hall, School of Music, University of Leeds.
No title for the piece yet but it's part of There are neither wholes nor parts, written for ensemble of flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, 2 oboes, trumpet, cymbal, electric guitar, violin, viola, cello. Like other pieces in this series, the material is derived from ambiguous and altered spectra, multiphonics, and drawing out harmonics from within the spectra of a note, making ambiguous the difference between note and partial.

29-9-12: exciting updates on the Resonant Systems (cymbals) front. Did some Laser Interferometry Holography with David Bryant at Uni. of Huddersfield to try to capture the vibrational modes of the quasiperiodic "multiphonic" sounds; to try and see if the sounds are caused by interference between different modes of vibration, this is the overall course of research at the moment. The images need more study to get close to answer but they look great! See here for pictures/sound.

27-06-12: More talks on Resonant Systems research coming up. On 03/07/12 there's a study day hosted by CePRA (The Centre for Practice-Led Research in the Arts) at the University of Leeds Music Dept. The study day "will examine the links that can be made between practice-led research and science, engineering and technology". I'll be presenting a talk on my piece at 10am, with a performance later in the day (tba).
I'll be back in Ireland on August 1st-2nd for Irish Sound, Science and Technology Convocation (ISSTC) at the Cork School of Music and St. John’s College in Cork. This talk is more generally about the general idea of musical instruments as dynamical systems, exploiting the non-linearity of instruments to create ambiguous and unstable musical spaces. And there's a performance of the piece as part of the sound walk on the first afternoon.

21-06-12: I've put up information on new piece Resonant Systems on the Cymbals project page. The piece will be performed by me on Saturday afternoon as part of BEAM Festival at Brunel University (Uxbridge, London). Some of the information here is from a paper I just gave at the Chaos Modelling and Simulation conference in Athens last week.

12-05-12: Update: impulse responses and audio from my glass bowls experiment in Oxford with Shelley James is now up here

04-05-12: My new piece Resonant Systems has been accepted to BEAM Festival at Brunel University, it will be playing sometime between June 22-24th. This piece is the first draft in a series that extends There are Neither Wholes Nor Parts by examining the instrument as a resonant system of interactions. Here, two or more mechanically coupled cymbals are excited with specific sinewaves, matched to the resonant frequency of one of the cymbals in the system. This frequency is overloaded, causing near-chaotic cascade of of sideband frequencies, some of which activate resonances in the other cymbals, allowing a feedback network of oscillating frequencies across the multi-cymbal system. In theory, I'll be testing this with some scientists later in the year.

08-03-12: Very exciting news, I've been selected for the Bozzini String Quartet's Composers' Kitchen event this year, along with the excellent John Lely, and four Canadian composers. This involves a week in Montréal in April, for workshops and a laboratory-concert, and in November a concert at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (23/11/2012).
My piece will be exploring non-linearity in string harmonics. Trying to find those ambiguous places where a note can be on the edge of splitting into harmonics; what was a partial within a note-percept can be coaxed onto the edge of being a percept in its own right, oscillating somewhere between "pitch", "harmonic" and "multiphonic". And who better to work with on this than the fantastic Bozzini Quartet whose Tenney and Frey performances especially are some of my favourite recordings.

11-03-12: Collaborative research in action! I travelled down to Oxford University for a day of recording and informal discussion around Shelley James' resonant glassworks. The meeting arose out of seeing Shelley's work presented at the forum back in January where she was working with composer Christopher Garrard on pieces exploring the resonance of her glass bowls. For my part, I was interested in capturing the resonance of the different bowls as impulse responses, to create convolution reverbs from the sound of the bowls as resonant spaces, also present was Roger Thomas who was testing the bowls as inputs to his SARAH system (Semi-Autonomous Reactive Accompanist Hardware) for hardware generated improvisation using pitch-detection and a feedback system. Special thanks to Alex Harker for his impulse-reponse capture patch (MaxMSP) currently being developed as part of the excellent HISStools package (not yet available online but see here for an interview about it).
I'll devote a separate page to this once I have the content ready: this will include pictures, audio, links, and the set of impulse response files downloadable freely for your enjoyment/experimentation.

08-02-12: Lots of exciting summer plans afoot, currently I'm working on chaotic oscillations in feedback/resonance systems by driving cymbals with transducers: in an Alvin Lucier homage. I'll be taking the cymbals over to the Chaos Modelling and Simulation conference in Athens in June to do a paper and some demonstrations. I'm also hoping to be working with some non-linear dynamics researchers in science/maths in looking further into this.

17-10-11: Just back from the excellent 3rd Third International Conference on Music and Minimalism in Leuven, Belgium. A great four days of new people, new music, and new biers. Did a talk on aspects of minimalism and reductionist aesthetics in my own work, with a focus on Bateson's epistemology of difference; seemed to go down well. I'll write this paper up soon and it'll be posted on the conference site, which I'll link to.
Also, next week Sebastian Berweck plays my new piece for synthist + MaxMSP, Bifurcations in a Continuous System. The originating idea was to write a piece that is pianistic to play but doesn't sound like a keyboard envelope, so this piece maps the duration between notes to frequency; the notes themselves are inaudible, but the time between this note and the next is turned inversely into sustained tones, faster notes equal lower pitched tones and vice versa.

25-07-11: New website for my sax/electronics duo with Iain Harrison, check out Apropos-music. The design is minimal at the moment, will make it more prettierised later in the year, probably...

09-07-11: The wonderful Eric Honour has just released his new CD called Phantasm: Music for Saxophone and Computer, including his recording of my piece Whitewater, which he also toured extensively in 2009. Here's the iTunes link for downloads now, the full release is July 26th on Ravello Records.

26-07-11: Busy day today, Trio Scordatura performed my 'at least two things' this morning at the wonderful BEAM festival, then I performed this evening as Apropos (Iain Harrison - saxophone, me - live electronics) with guest Hervé Perez at a Discus event in Sheffield. I'll put recordings up when they arrive; and will soon have a perfomance section on the site for my iprov things.

24-07-11: My paper for the Word Event symposium on text notation has been accepted. I'll be talking about different sites of interpretation in the scores of Manfred Werder.

18-05-11: Just finished and intense but excellent one-day workshop in Scotland with Mr McFall's Chamber. They're running a 5-day set of workshops on pieces for electric quartet of strings (vln,vla,vc,bass/b-guitar) with live electronics, and blogging the whole thing. It's an excellent idea, both the workshops themselves and the putting of all that material online, I wish more ensembles could do it.
The blog contributions for my day and a recording of the piece are here.

12-03-11: Currently working on expanding my thesis work on chaos theory and indeterminacy. Have papers accepted for this year's Time's Excesses conference in Caen (France), and the Chaos Modelling and Simulation conference in Crete, and now also the 3rd Third International Conference on Music and Minimalism in Leuven, Nov 2011.

20-02-11: From April 13-20th I'll be in New York for talks at Columbia (April 19th) and SUNY Stony Brook (April 15th + concert!) on my game piece Shoals, which is currently being developed as part of a 'Gameplay as Community' fellowship with the awesome Analogous Projects in NYC. See here for the game rules and software. Unfortunately as far as I know these are not public talks but if you're in the area and want to come along then throw me an email and I'll see what I can do.

Upcoming and Recent Concerts

4th May 2014 - Huygens-Fokker Foundation "Organ Series", Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam.
Henri Bok and Eleri Ann Evans + 31-tone Fokker organ
17th Mar. 2014 - St Paul's Hall, Huddersfield.
a string vibrates in two directions
Diego Castro
21st Feb. 2014 - Bristol University.
a metastable harmony
Quatuor Bozzini
23rd Nov. 2013 - HCMF.
Surfaces of Emergence
metastable collective (6 electric guitars)
19th April 2013 - Leeds Contemporary Music Weekend.
Histories have been replaced by maps
8th Feb 2013 - Sankt Peter Köln.
1st Feb 2013 - Klub Katarakt, Hamburg.
At least two things
Trio Scordatura - (Mezzo, synth, viola)
23rd Jan 2013, 1.15pm, St Paul's Hall, Huddersfield
There are Neither Wholes nor Parts (Ia)
Iain Harrison (Saxophone)
7th Jan 2013 - Phipps Hall, Huddersfield
Bifurcations in Continuous System
Sebastian Berweck (synth + MaxMSP)
26th Nov 2012 - Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
A Metastable Harmony
Bozzini Quartet
22-24th June 2012 - BEAM Festival, Brunel University
Resonant Systems
15th March 2012 - North American Saxophone Alliance Conference, Arizona State University, USA.
There are neither wholes nor parts III
Duo Hevans [Henri Bok (bass clarinet), Ann Eleri Evans (tenor saxophone)]
27th Jan 2012 - Rymer Auditorium, University of York, 7pm
Peyee Chen (voice) and live electronics
1st Dec 2011 - St Paul's Hall, Huddersfield, 1pm
Ann Eleri Evans (saxophone)
27th Oct 2011 - Phipps Hall, Huddersfield, 5pm?
Bifurcations in Continuous System
Sebastian Berweck (synth + MaxMSP)
25th Sep 2011 - InTime Symposium, Ellen Terry Building, Coventry University, 1.30pm
Ann Evans (saxophone)
26th June 2011 (11am) - BEAM Festival, Brunel University, Uxbridge
at least two things
Trio Scordatura - (Mezzo, synth, viola)
25th May 2011 - Ökumenische Jahrestagung der Polizeiseelsorge, Rastatt, Germany
Music in Two Dimensions no.3
Duo Contour - (quartertone trumpet and electronics/malletkat)
19th May 2011 - Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany
Music in Two Dimensions no.3
Duo Contour - (quartertone trumpet and electronics/malletkat)
15th April 2011 - Staller Center Recital Hall, SUNY Stony Brook, New York
Action at a distance ("no one is an island")
Sarah O'Halloran (voice) and live electronics
4-7th March 2011 - Trio Scordatura tour
at least two things
Trio Scordatura - (Mezzo, synth, viola)
4th March 2011, UK Microfest 4, Vortex Club, London
7th March 2011, UEA Norwich, time/venue TBA
8th March 2011, 1.15pm, St Paul's Hall, Huddersfield
4-5th(TBA) March 2011, UK Microfest 4
Music in Two dimensions no.3
Duo Contour (quartertone trumpet and electronics/malletkat)
27nd February 2011, 7pm, GEMdays,Phipps Hall, Huddersfield
Action at a distance ("no one is an island")
Peyee Chen (voice) and live electronics
22nd February 2011, 1.15pm, St Paul's Hall, Huddersfield
There are Neither Wholes nor Parts (II)
Jonathan Sage (Clarinet)
20th January 2011, 1.15pm, St Paul's Hall, Huddersfield
There are Neither Wholes nor Parts (Ia)
Iain Harrison (Saxophone)
13th November 2010, November Music Composers Club, s-Hertogenbosch, Holland
There are Neither Wholes nor Parts
Iain Harrison (Saxophone)
23rd October 2010, 8pm, Project Arts Centre, Dublin
Marja Gaynor (violin), Fergal Dowling (computer)
12th October 2010, 8:30 p.m, Karnatic Lab, Amsterdam
Clockwise Counter-Clockwise
Xenia Pestova (toy piano)

For older performances please see here.


Scott Mc Laughlin was born in Ireland (Co. Clare) in 1975. He played in indie-rock bands until his mid-twenties, then studied music at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown where he gained a BMus degree in 2001. He completed an MA, then PhD at the University of Huddersfield with Pierre Alexandre Tremblay and Bryn Harrison in 2009. Currently, he is a part-time lecturer in the School of Music at the University of Leeds.

His music is concerned with relationships between minimal processes of transformation and proliferation: ideas of resonance, recursion, hysteresis, difference, cluster-microtonality, chaos/complexity theory, interactivity. Scott is also an improviser (cello or live electronics), and plays in the pop/alt-folk duo Phantom Dog Beneath the Moon. Recent performances have been given by Quatuor Bozzini, Sebastian Berweck, Iain Harrison, Jonathan Sage, Metapraxis Ensemble, Crash Ensemble, Trio Scordatura.