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Benjamin Carey

Focusing on contemporary and avant-garde music, Ashley embraces microtonality and improvisation. She’s a teaching artist, chamber musician and soloist who lives in Los Angeles.

How did you first get involved with synths and electronic sound?

I first started with software, building my own software using MaxMSP, in an improvised/interactive context. About 7-8 years ago I began working with a small modular system, and the rest is history!

How would you describe the sounds you make today?

I make experimental electronic music and audio-visual work, both in improvised and composed contexts. I’ve released solo music on Hospital Hill and on my bandcamp, as well as in my improvised modular synth/voice duo Sumn Conduit.

Where do you find inspiration, what motivates you?

I find inspiration everywhere, I listen to lots of music, but mainly it’s through learning new methods of working, thinking and reflecting upon my process, and getting into the weeds of both new and familiar tools and instruments. I’m inspired by the way that these machines make me think, and by the human-machine collaborative process.

What’s been one of the most rewarding or satisfying moments of your journey so far?

Some of my most recent live projects, actually, including my Serge set for Sonorous V, and à recent Sumn Conduit AV performance got Soft Centre festival this year. In general, what satisfies me most is getting to perform live electronic music for appreciative audiences, and collaborating with close friends and colleagues. It’s also intensely rewarding being able to teach enthusiastic and intelligent students about electronic music, sound design and composition.

And the most challenging?

There are loads of challenges, but probably keeping up the momentum on larger projects, especially those without a firm deadline!

Do you have a current ‘go to’ set up at MESS? Any favourite machines or combos that you’re currently digging?

The 1975 Serge Paperface! Almost exclusively!

Are there any machines in the MESS collection you’ve had your eye on but haven’t tried yet?

Yes! The transaudio system and the GRP 8! I’ve spent time with the buchla but not dived deep as of yet.

If you could give yourself one piece of advice when you first started what would it be?

No time spent experimenting, chasing dead end ideas, or trying something new is wasted time. Each new experience teaches you something!

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