Tony James Morton


Grainyl – A real-time granular soundscape created from vinyl

Grainyl  is a new body of improvised electronic music by sound artist Tony James Morton. Each piece is entirely constructed, in real-time, with samples taken directly from vinyl records. Inspired by techniques that were instrumental in the development of hip-hop music, the work combines prerecorded samples from existing compositions to create an altogether new piece of music. However, Grainyl pushes the boundaries of sampled based music into new territory, exploring modern digital techniques and methods.

The work is centred around a custom built sampling instrument, entirely created with Max/MSP. This instrument uses granular synthesis to create new textures from the recorded source, allowing for new sonic exploration. Performed live, the project manifests itself as a conceptual “DJ set.” Records are chosen, exactly how a DJ would, but instead of being played in traditional form the resulting audio becomes a reinterpretation of the original recordings.

Permutations – A generative score for Xylophone, Vibraphone and Marimba

Permutations is a generative music score created in Max/MSP. The instrumentation is for xylophone, vibraphone and marimba.

Each instrument has an original two bar phrase that is notated. The program then divides each phrase into eight separate parts. These parts are then be permutated by the program, randomly. T

he algorithm contains functions to change the probability of how often repeats are likely to happen and how often empty bars are likely to occur. The first two bar phrase made up of musical content will always be the original written ostinato. The succeeding notation will always be generated.

In this example, the patch is sending MIDI note information to Ableton live.

The idea of the piece is that it is generated for each ensemble, meaning the piece is never the same on successive performances.

The Max/MSP Bach package is used as throughout for musical notation.

Reinterpretations 1

Reinterpretations 1 is a body of ambient/drone work using granular sampling, improvised in real time. The pieces are made using a custom programmed software instrument using MIDI controllers as the interface.

Source audio is created and then played through the system in real-time. It is then sampled and manipulated throughout to create granular textures and drones. The length of the piece generated is then similar to the length of the source material

This piece of work is also conceptual in that the source audio is never listened to whilst in playback (in fact, the source audio could be unknown). It is then up to the performer when to take samples from the source, using only their intuition and feeling to create the piece.


Three improvisations for violin, vocals and electronics

Three improvisations for violin, vocals and electronics is a collaborative project between myself and Yasmine Azaiez. Sound from the violin and voice are sampled and fed into a granular system. Textures are then built up in collaboration to create the soundscape.


Trump in C Major

Trump in C Major is a collection of four small pieces generated by the larger installation #max140beats. Using musical cryptography, the installation converts the tweet into a small musical composition. The name of the installation refers to the maximum character count in twitter, with each piece compromising a maximum of 140 beats. More musical layers are dependent on the content of the tweet, the use of hashtags, “@” signs and links. Varying amount of these will impact the texture of the created piece.

These works were specifically made for the Studio 47 (Amsterdam) open call.

“STUDIO 47 offers an online platform for works that counterweight the dark, misogynistic, homophobic, islamophobic and racist rhetorics currently headlining the news and circulating on social media. It does not reflect the world we live in.”

The collection of works were tweeted to @potus (Donald Trump) on his 100th day in office.

The installation normally uses a sentiment system to calculate the amount of positive or negative words. The more positive a tweet, the major and brighter it will be. The more negative a tweet, the minor and darker it will become. However, in this collection of compositions, the sentiment filter is permanently switched to positive and the “childlike” sounds used are purposeful in making Donald’s tweets less offensive!