Julian Day is a composer, artist, writer and broadcaster.
Day’s work treats sound as a vital means of examining the world. He looks to sound’s deeply relational and territorial properties as a series of tensions between abstract and political forces. This plays out in site-responsive performances, installation, video and text.
Day performs as An Infinity Room (AIR) and co-directs Super Critical Mass, a large-scale participatory project that uses sound and social connection to frame public places as heightened sites for interaction. He has presented work at Cafe Oto, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art and Sydney Opera House among other institutions. His work has been acquired by the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Day’s music has been performed by Lisa Moore, TILT Brass, Third Angle, Synergy Percussion, Ensemble Offspring, Australian String Quartet, The Song Company, Decibel and Zubin Kanga and featured in the Bang On A Can Marathon, MATA Festival, Royal Academy of Music Piano Festival, Spitalfields Music Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Metropolis New Music Festival.
Composer website: www.julianday.com
Rhetoric, for two identical synthesisers
I was once asked why I liked drones and repetition. I think the person was implying that in doing so I was giving up on things like movement and dynamism which I guess underpin much classical music. I disagreed then and now. For me, sustaining a note is not about standing still but about holding on to an energy for as long as possible before letting go. It’s about using a partition, like a wall or a window, or in this case a temporal structure, to contain the perpetual material turbulence we exist in. A flawed but perhaps poignant gesture.
Rhetoric is unusual for me in that formally it really is quite static – you’ll hear the same tones and patterns over and over – however as with other pieces in the project An Infinity Room the resulting sound is vibrant and active. This is because you’re hearing two identical and cheap portable synthesizers playing the same material almost-but-not-quite-together which due to their predictable wave forms creates shimmering beating patterns in the air. Clearly there is not much classic rhetoric going on here except the rhetoric of restating your point until it is heard.
Featured in Minimalist Waves October 2016
Julian Day was interviewed for the Making Conversation: Australian Composers’ Podcast, Episode 22, June 2016.