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Published on the occasion of the exhibition, Samson Young: Real Music at Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh (24 July – 5 October 2019), and at Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2 May – 4 July 2020).

Real Music documents Samson Young’s major new commission created in collaboration with the Next Generation Sound Synthesis (NESS) research group at the University of Edinburgh.

Drawing on systems that model how a virtual instrument would sound in a specific environment (what would a brass instrument sound like played at 300° degrees Celcius?), Young has composed music for instruments that could never exist—bending the rules of both music and sculpture to create a host of ‘possible instruments’.

Real Music provides insight into the artist’s widely acclaimed practice to date. The first to draw out the reverse ethnographic lens that informs his practice, this publication features essays by Alexandra Chang, Alexander Rehding and Joel Stern and a conversation with Stefan Bilbao about NESS research and its application in Young’s work.


Co-published with MUMA, Melbourne and Koenig Books, London, 2019

Design by Ziga Testen and Stuart Geddes

English, 9 x 12 in, 122 pages, soft cover

​Illustrations 51 color, 9 b&w

ISBN 978-3-96098-645-4