Sam Dunscombe is a Tone Ingénue working at the crossroads of experimental music, audio engineering, and spectralism. Sam has a keen interest in the ways that music allows for novel experiences of time, which has led her to explorations in sound synthesis, just-intonation, improvisation, the performance of complex-notated repertoire, field recording, studio engineering, computer programming, and live electronic performance.
In June 2022, Sam released Horatiu Radulescu: Plasmatic Works Vol. 1 on Mode Records. This album focusses on Radulescu’s early spectral works for winds and electronics, and will be followed by two more records in this series. She was awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts from UC San Diego in 2018 with a thesis exploring Radulescu’s clarinet works, and has worked as the archivist to his estate since 2018. Since then, Sam has performed Radulescu’s works around the world (including conducting the opening night concert of MaerzMusik 2019). With generous funding from Musikfonds and the Berlin Senate, Sam is currently developing works of “Mass Plasma Synthesis,” exploring new methods for sound synthesis based on Radulescu’s spectral techniques. Studies in this methodology can be heard on Bandcamp, and the results of this work have been presented internationally (the next performance will be on the acousmonium at INA GRM, Paris).
As a performer of notated repertoire Sam has worked with composers including Cat Lamb, Anthony Pateras, Taku Sugimoto, Iancu Dumitrescu and Ana Maria Avram, Richard Barret, and others. As an improviser, Sam has performed with artists including Jim O’Rourke, Toshimaru Nakamura, Seijiro Murayama, Madoka Kouno, Oren Ambarchi, to name just a few.
Sam is an avid field recordist: Outside Ludlow / Desert Disco (LP, Black Truffle, 2021) combines field recordings with audio taken from scraps of 1/4″ tape found tangled around a cactus in the Mojave Desert. A second album, Two Forests / Oceanic (LP, Black Truffle, 2023), uses field recordings and rational tuning practice to reimagine the music used for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy sessions. Alongside these hybrid works, Sam is also engaged in more traditional acoustic ecology practice, in particular an ongoing ultra-large-scale field recording work “California Grid.”
Sam is a member of several musical groups, including Berlin’s Harmonic Space Orchestra, the Australian performer-composer trio Golden Fur (together with James Rushford and Judith Hamann), Oren Ambarchi’s Carpe Diem, and duo projects with Michiko Ogawa, Rebecca Lane, Julia Reidy, and others.
In mid-2023, after a protracted period of health problems, Sam was diagnosed with aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and began immuno-chemo-therapy. She was declared in remission in late December.
OUTSIDE LUDLOW / DESERT DISCO
“Against the dusty drift of the tape, its rawness and brutality is startling” – The Wire
“Dunscombe has crafted two works of mesmeric and haunting ambient beauty that hearken back to their source and look forward to transformation and rebirth.” – The Sound Projector
“Its layers dynamically weave to reveal a tapestry seemingly depicting associations of manifest destiny and its post-apocalypse in the desert. The violent progress of military and mining and trains and western religion across the desert matching and exceeding that hostile environment’s desiccating heat, disintegrating wind, bold exhibition of death in its preservation of bones to mold a scape of desolation reflected in this bleak sound.” – harmonicseries.substack
Listen now on Bandcamp