Samson Young

Real Music

Real Music documents Samson Young’s major new commission created in collaboration with the Next Generation Sound Synthesis (NESS) research group at the University of Edinburgh.

Drawing on systems that model how a virtual instrument would sound in a specific environment (what would a brass instrument sound like played at 300° degrees Celcius?), Young has composed music for instruments that could never exist—bending the rules of both music and sculpture to create a host of ‘possible instruments’.

Also featured, ‘The world falls apart into facts‘ (2019) is the result of the artist’s research into two musico-cultural curiosities—the popular Chinese folk song Molihua (Jasmine Flower) and Japanese Togaku court music—as well as the phenomenon of ‘tourist instruments’.

Joining the hypothetical and the curious, the publication also explores a significant strand in Young’s practice—the series of ‘muted’ performances that the artist has been producing as video and sound installations since 2014, working in collaboration with different ensembles and orchestras.

Real Music provides insight into the artist’s widely acclaimed practice to date. The first to draw out the reverse ethnographic lens that informs his practice, this publication features essays by Alexandra Chang, Alexander Rehding and Joel Stern and a conversation with Stefan Bilbao about NESS research and its application in Young’s work.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition, Samson Young: Real Music at Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh (24 July – 5 October 2019), and at Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2 May – 4 July 2020).

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