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Zach Dawson

Music, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

�X for Y Hours� � Reimagining Open Duration After the Internet

My project centres on the idea that music is becoming something which is ‘unlistened’ to and ever-present in the everyday, the duration of which is as indistinct as any other lived experience. 

As cloud-based storage has dramatically increased access to a vast array of music, its material carrier (CDs, MP3s) is removed, meaning duration–linked to material–is now indeterminate. The understanding of music as ‘complete’ form is further deconstructed as live and online environments and means of listening radically alter experiences between micro and macro duration. As a result, questioning the ontological status of a musical work is recuperated in a new context after the internet.

The concept of ‘open duration’, where the material of a composition exists indeterminate of its duration, will be explored in relation to how the experience of music is fundamentally changed by the internet and online platforms. The title ‘x For y Hours’, where x (material) exists to mediate y (indeterminate time), will be employed as an overarching concept title for the generation of compositions where duration, unbounded by goal-orientated structures, is decided upon in relation to context.



Research Area

  • Music

Publications

 Dawson, Z., Stenton, R. (2017), ‘Forever Grey’ [a score with no beginning or end for any four musicians to perform in any space.] Avaliable at: http://www.stenton.press/uncategorized/forever-grey/

Other Research Interests

Experimental Music, Post-Internet, Form, Ontology

Music

'Virtual Concert' (2020), online mixed media performance-installation. Site-specific: Zoom Video Communications. 
https://youtu.be/1mOS4pr-ihM

Performances:
- 'Further_In' (music streaming channel), Jan 2021 
- Post-Paradise(23)//Zoom Edition, Dec 2020 

'Forever Returning', (2020), instrumental and electroacoustic work for MIDI keyboard, electronics, soprano. Album release. 
https://youtu.be/97Qj_1hHcWg

Performances:
- Post-Paradise Series at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, July 2019
- Braided Sound (UK Tour), Centrala Art Gallery, Birmingham, April 2019, 

'exclusive', (2019), instrumental composition for violin, synthesizer. EP release.
http://zachdawsonmusic.bandcamp.com/album/exclusive

'Forever Grave' (2019), electronic work for solo synthesizer. Single release. Written for 7balcony.
https://youtu.be/HHaqQ4olGgQ

Performances: 
- Thinking/Not Thinking Festival, Centrala Art Gallery, Birmingham, March 2019
- Portents Festival, Space Arts Centre, London, March 2019 
- Birmingham Frontiers Festival, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, September 2018

'St. Vitus' (2019), notated electronic work for field recordings, samples. Single release.
https://zachdawsonmusic.bandcamp.com/track/st-vitus

Performances: 
- Ten Acres of Sound, Artefact, Stirchley, September 2020 
- Thinking/Not Thinking Festival, Centrala Art Gallery, Birmingham, March 2019
- Portents Festival, Space Arts Centre, London, March 2019 

'higher plane^' (2018), notated electronic work for MIDI keyboard, analogue synthesizer. Written for 7balcony.
https://youtu.be/9wyx_FhEuGo

Performances: 
- Ten Acres of Sound, Artefact, Stirchley, September 2020 
- Post-Paradise Series at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, July 2019
- Supersonic Festival, Custard Factory, Birmingham, June 2018
- Ideas of Noise Festival, The Edge Gallery, Birmingham, August 2018
- Birmingham Frontiers Festival, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, September 2018
 
'fadin' / dyin'' (2018), notated electronic work for MIDI keyboard, analogue synthesizer. Written for 7balcony. Debut EP release. 
https://youtu.be/PCe_XOXNil8

Performances: 
- Ten Acres of Sound, Artefact, Stirchley, September 2020 
- Post-Paradise Series at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, July 2019
- Thinking/Not Thinking Festival, Centrala Art Gallery, Birmingham, March 2019
- Portents Festival, Space Arts Centre, London, March 2019 
- Supersonic Festival, Custard Factory, Birmingham, June 2018
- Ideas of Noise Festival, The Edge Gallery, Birmingham, August 2018
- Birmingham Frontiers Festival, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, September 2018

'Forever Expansions' (2017), for livestream, samples, chamber ensemble. Commissioned by Ensemble Klang.
https://youtu.be/BjKpaBmJLyE

Realisations and performances:
- Gaudeamus Muziekweek (World premiere), TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht (NL), September 2017
- Radio Punctum, Prague (CZ), version for four synthesisers. 

'Forever Grey' (2017), score publication with no beginning or end for any four instruments in any space. Conceived with stenton.press (publishing house). 
https://youtu.be/nPNt6pHVglM

Realisations and performances:
- Book launch at Post-Paradise[9], Centrala Art Gallery, Birmingham, November 2017 
- Birmingham Record Company NMC Launch, presented as performance installation, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, May 2019


Education

Masters in Composition

Thesis: FLUXUS: NON-AUTHORSHIP AND THE DESTRUCTION OF TRADITION

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (2012–2015)

BA (Hons) Music - Classical Music Performance

Leeds College of Music (2009–2012)

Awards

Hinrichsen Foundation – Post-Paradise Series Projects - 2017 – 2020

Arts Council England: National Lottery Project Grant – Post-Paradise Series: ‘Music in the Margin’ - 2018

RVW Trust – Post-Paradise Series Projects - 2017 – 2018

Arts Council England: Grants for the Arts – Post-Paradise Series: 'Season #2' - 2017

Orkest de Ereprijs – Commission Prize - 2016