I’m a composer working on a sound map of the landscapes around my home in Nova Scotia.

I make music with electronic instruments, by manipulating field recordings, or with the piano. My plan is to turn data collected from the surrounding ecology here, into music.

If you share my interest, I’d love to hear from you: hello (at) justinbuckley (dot) com.

Points of departure

I will be working with electronic instruments at first. The below three pieces of electronic music by other composers are major influences, both conceptually and aesthetically, on what I am about to pursue:

The Place Where You Go To Listen

John Luther Adams

A sound and light installation in Alaska which uses real-time data (time of day, season, aurora borealis and seismic activity) as the basis for music. It is generative music which, by sonifying natural events in a specific location, expresses something about that place.

Beneath the Forest Floor

Hildegard Westerkamp

In a similar spirit, Westerkamp has often composed soundscapes to say something about specific places, but she has used field recordings to do so. In Beneath the forest floor, the composition is derived from sounds recorded in the old-growth forests in Carmanah Valley, BC. It is not an example of generative music, but of a different type of music about place.

Entre Temps

Bernard Parmegiani

This soundscape piece has nothing to do with a specific location, but demonstrates the usage of field recordings to hint at a narrative. I am attracted to the resulting aesthetic: the use of processed sound together with untreated recordings and sound generated by synthesizers. I will be exploring the use of field recordings in this way, and also the possibilities of combining them with music generated from data.

Past work

Below is some of my past music created with different techniques, some of which will be used in the sound map. 2AM is short prelude for solo piano, Harbourmaster is an ambient piece created with a modular synthesizer, Self-radio is a loop-based piece with a simple melody; and the last three pieces (Meta Muzak, An I-It Relationship and Rain and Electricity) were derived from a combination of field recordings and synthesizers.

About me

I’m a graphic designer by training and I currently work as a software developer. I have been making music for the past 18 years. I have a great interest in ecological issues, which has driven other non-musical projects. In 2009, I received an Unltd Award while living in the UK to make EyeOverFishing.org, an illustrated information website about the problem of deep sea overfishing. After moving to Berlin, I helped the founders of Mundraub.org, a web-based map of publicly accessible fruit trees around Germany, get the first version up and running. Together with a friend, I co-founded Stadtgarten, a community vegetable garden in east Berlin, which I helped to run for several years.

I was also part of the performance art troupe Shazaam, an interdisciplinary multimedia group who operated on the basis of free improvisation. We performed in Berlin-based venues such as Hebbel Am Ufer, Tanzfabrik, and Dock 11.

After living in London, UK and Berlin, Germany since 2004, my wife and I moved to Nova Scotia in Autumn of 2017.

This essay explains why I’m inspired to create this current project.

I can be contacted at hello (at) justinbuckley (dot) com.