Paul Gilgunn is a composer and musician working across the peripheries of classical and popular music – primarily, encompassing avant-rock, improvised music, and post-minimalist composition. His aesthetic is characterised by a defiant avant-gardism and a fascination with creating new musical representation to engage and expand subjectivity, encompassing a variety of forms, genres, instruments, and techniques. These projects often involve cross-disciplinary activities with literature, video, video games, and visual art. He has collaborated and performed with leading avant-garde composers Rhys Chatham, Tony Conrad, David Daniell, and Jennifer Walshe, and his own ensembles regularly feature outstanding musicians including Nick Roth, Jay Oglesby, Robbie Malone, Conor Brady, Ray Boyle, and Danny Snow.
Paul’s compositions frequently use alternate tuning systems (just intonation), bricolage, extended techniques, improvisation, layering, polyrhythms, noise, overtones, repetition, and volume to engage a listener. A bold and innovative new work HERE WE ARE NOW (2018) was debuted and released as a studio recording in February 2019, building upon his earlier collaborative, solo, and ensemble works such as What is Growing On The Riverbank? (2014), I.S. Complex (2015), and DDÁDADORHELYO (2016). He outlines his approach in this new project: “layers of iterated patterns and pulses – awash with justly-tuned drones and overtones – transform Irish folk modalities and rhythms into bold, distinct new music; a ten-part form using dense timbres, duration, repetition, and volume to engage listeners on a number of levels and reconfigure how we are now”.
As an educator and researcher, his areas of interest include cultural theory and philosophies of music, musicology, music theory, performance, popular music, post-1945 composition, and underground music. His PhD thesis (2017) studied aesthetics and practice in Rhys Chatham’s pioneering works for electric guitar, supervised by Keith Potter at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has taught music in a professional capacity for over a decade, including providing lectures, seminars, and tutorials to students at BIMM, Dublin (Europe’s largest and leading contemporary music college). He is also a committee member of the Music Generation South Dublin partnership, working with local funding partners, arts advocates, and music educators to provide access to music education for all young people in that area.
Paul is currently preparing collaborations, installations, performances, and recordings featuring music for analogue synthesiser, electric guitars, electronics, percussion, and voice.
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