Rutger Muller

Electro acoustic composer

Rutger Muller

Rutger Muller (Beek, Netherlands / Born: 1984, Geleen, Netherlands) is an electro-acoustic composer who uses technology to explore sound and culture from a spectral (textural) perspective. Besides composing contemporary music (alone or with classical instrumentalists), he makes chiptune music and is sporadically active in digital design and translation. He reviewed modern classical music for Bachtrack, organised concerts, and collaborated with game designers, animators, fashion designers, choreographers and dancers. Muller holds a BA in Multimedia Design (Avans University of Applied Sciences, Breda, 2008), and a BA + MA in Adaptive Sound Design and Composition (Utrecht University of the Arts, 2012).

As a composer focused on mysterious, abstract textures, I’m fascinated by music’s ability to transcend the drama of emotion; to reach beyond it, towards the pattern-based origins of consciousness (the micro cosmos), outer space (the macro cosmos) and nature.

Through electro-acoustic sound design and collaborations with contemporary (classical) instrumentalists, I want to shed new light on the spiritual (minimalist) essence of musical cultures — and to investigate how to make sense of this in our hectic (digital) culture. The results are often more mystic than abstract; on the edge between tranquil and uncanny.

I find most of my inspiration in entrancing, spiritual, music, mainly: ambient, drone, ancient music (from east, west and south), baroque, spectralism, (dub) techno and free jazz. Technology offers me tools to engage with (cross-) cultural wisdom: reinterpreting instrument textures, tunings and acoustics helps me to bridge the uncanny valley of “plastic” electronic instrumentation. Also, I investigate how collaborations with other arts — such as game design, lights and architecture — can connect composers, performers, venues and audiences in more profound and sustainable ways.

Rutger Muller Ensemble

Josephine Bode, Wen Chin Fu, and Rutger Muller roam around in the mystic grey zone between meditative and uncanny sound. By using improvisation, live sound processing, unorthodox instrumental techniques, historical references, and theatrical elements, the ensemble’s compositions and performances are ever evolving, and a continous opposition to time-space duality.

Founded in 2013, The Rutger Muller Ensemble bases its music on ambient abstractions of all its members’ influences, and therefore finds its strength in subtle fluctuations, counterpoints and historical references. Muller sets the composition process in motion by generating one or more drone layers, based on processed samples of acoustic instruments or found sounds. Subsequently, during rehearsals, Bode and Fu interact with this backdrop, and develop an improvisation idiom (sometimes based on character roles). Parts of these studio recordings are processed and integrated into the base of the composition, until an ethereal sound world is crystallised. In concert, Muller adds transformation to the live improvisations of Bode and Fu, which feeds back into their inspiration. Through these circular processes, the compositions keep evolving.