A composition usually starts off with finding a combination of notes that I like, perhaps three or four...depending on the length of the piece. I often consult plainchant or proper nouns for inspiration. I like using groups of notes that sound harmonious in any combination. This prevents any abrupt discordance to suddenly distract the listener, offering a shallow canvas. I've also found that there is more room for 'semantic satiation', a phenomenon where familiar sounds become unfamiliar after prolonged exposure.
Structure, tempo and time signatures
I decide the length of the piece. From here, I calculate how many bars I need at a certain tempo and at what time signature. For example, if a piece is 10 minutes long, I need 150 bars at crotchet = 60. From here, I'll often use simple combinational ordering of time signatures to create this, whilst maintaining the same amount of beats.
(e.g. 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 3/4, 5/4, 4/4...)
Permutations or combinations
I then decide whether I want to order the source material in combinations or permutations. I feel that combinations offer more scope for variety and repetition of material, whereas permutations offer a more symmetrical aesthetic.
Erasure and temporal exploration
If I feel that the texture or rate of harmonic progression is too heavy or irregular, I often use process-led erasure to thin out textures. At this point, I may also explore different ways I can manipulate the structure of the piece, as to play with the listeners temporal consciousness (e.g. metric modulation)
Often tonal, static and sparse, the listener is invited to move around the sonic space at their leisure. As the combinatorial systems are maximally diverse (that is, include every possible combination or permutation), there is no point in the piece designed to be more important than another. For me, if my mind wanders and re-enters at a subsequent moment in the piece, I have often felt that I still land back where I left off.
Listening and reading
I'm enthused by all kinds of music. Relating to my own music specifically, I'm inspired by Morton Feldman, Aldo Clementi, Bryn Harrison, Howard Skempton, Laurence Crane (my composition teacher), Tom Johnson, Arvo Pärt, La Monte Young, Steve Reich, Michael Pisaro and Jürg Frey.
I spend time engaging in cross-disciplinary research about phenomenology, temporal consciousness, meditation and mental health.