Can: for 5.1 surround sound acousmatic composition

Tom Williams (Artist)

Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchComposition


Output Title: “Can”
Music Composition
Acousmatic, 5.1 and stereo formats – CD submission
(N.B. acousmatic music (sonic art) has no performers and no score)
“Can” is a complex, abstract sonic art composition of visceral intensity that explores energy-motion trajectories (sonic gestures) through space and spectromorphology. The piece is conceived for 5.1 (immersive) environments although a stereo mix can be used.
The research imperatives that underpin the work are:
1. to analyse and compose with limited metallic-source material
2. to transgress the electroacoustic convention and exploit instrumental forms and structures of repetition and variation in a sound-based work.
3. To compose a dynamic, visceral work that exploits an immersive environment.

In order to establish a compositional (timbral) coherence and to fully exploit the underlying formal discourse “Can” takes a single sonic gesture to generate the whole work. This abstracted sound-sample undergoes a series of analytical and generative processes to uncover its spectromorphological potential related to the research imperatives. Ultimately produced is a range of abstract material from extended gestures to sharp attacks. Through ‘reduced listening’ material is selected dissected and looped. Every loop is then varied - never a direct repeat to cultivate shifting, unstable rhythmic patterns and textures. “Can” is then assembled and shaped (spatially and sonically) to ensure musical ‘comprehensibility’ by adapting the instrumental form of a sonata; ensuring that a clear formal design underpins “Can”.
“Can” is an international award winning composition: 2010 Special Mention and medal of the Senato della Repubblica Italiana for the “electro-acoustic music”  section - VIII International Contemporary Music Contest "Città di Udine".

Can is released on CD on the Taukay Edizioni Musicali label.

The work has been performed and broadcast in America and Europe including: SEAMUS 2011 Miami; ICMC2010 Stony Brook, New York; NYCEMF at CUNY, New York; Weimar Festival (Germany)and Udine Festival 2010 (Italy); as well as festivals, conferences and concerts in Louisiana, Sheffield, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool and Stafford.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUdine, Italy
PublisherTaukay Edizioni Musicali
EditionCD label
Media of outputCD
Size9 mins
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2012

Additional Information

Prize: medal of the Senato della Repubblica Italiana for the “electro-acoustic music”  section - VIII International Contemporary Music Contest "Città di Udine" 2011, Italy.


  • acousmatic
  • electroacoustic music
  • immersive
  • digital music
  • 5.1


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