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Matt Robidoux is a San Francisco based composer / improviser interested in accessibility within contemporary music and the communicative capacities of sonic energy. In 2017 he/they established the Adaptive Instrument Ensemble (AIE), a community based practice focused on expanding the improvising community across abilities, demographics, and geographies. Beginning with a pilot workshop in 2019, they founded the Prepared Guitar Ensemble in collaboration with Creativity Explored, a studio-based collective that partners with people with developmental disabilities to celebrate and nurture the creative potential in all of us.

"at dust"
October 1, 2021

"The Bouquet" was the one of the first pieces in the process for the album at dust — for which all of the rhythms and textures on each track derive from a simple initial gesture. The gestures in this song are very connected to movement, and started as a motion tracking to MIDI fragment. The lyrics start from Jacques Prévert's poem "Le Bouquet,” which spoke well to my experience of joining movement with sonic energy. I sent the track to Matt Norman (Lily and Horn Horse) who did something stupendous with the layering of the horn solo! "Blue" by Eiffel 65, and "Crazy Frog" by Axel F were reference points for the design of the video, and Peter Nichols (Banny Grove, Nicey Music) gave the green screen footage I sent a full Teletubbies style treatment. The 8mm video style puts it out of time, in some kind of utopia that promotes body positivity and dedicating plenty of time for working on music.

Prepared Guitar Ensemble

In collaboration with Creativity Explored and with  major contributions from our project partner, instrument builder Sudhu Tewari, Creativity Explored artists have remotely designed their own idiosyncratic prepared guitars, and through collective process will develop a vocabulary on them for zoom improvisation sessions / eventual in person sessions. Our instrument design and production phase is the first step in what aims to become a long running ensemble project.

visit our page on the Maker Music Festival 2021 virtual campus!

Adaptive Instrument Ensemble (AIE)

(AIE) is a neurodivergent improvising group founded at Mills College, Oakland, CA in 2017, featuring a range of adaptive and traditional instruments with a focus on Deep Listening Institute's Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI), a software interface that enables the user to play sounds and musical phrases through movement and gestures.  

Book chapter forthcoming in Improvising Across Abilities: Pauline Oliveros and the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (University Of Michigan Press, 2021).

Brief Candles

"On the last weekend before the cancellations, before the venues shuttered and gathering in a room to experience live music emerged as a threat to public health, I went to a show at Adobe Books in the Mission District of San Francisco. Eight musicians set up on the floor, with mismatched chairs and benches bringing observers within inches of the performers. There was brass and guitar, percussion and strings, and it was intimate enough to hear fingers meet frets. Leading the winsome baroque pop ensemble was Matt Robidoux, a San Francisco composer and improviser steeped in the experimental music community orbiting Mills College. That night at Adobe they were playing material from Robidoux’s latest album, Brief Candles, which evokes the mix of pop and new music created by earlier Mills figures such as “Blue” Gene Tyranny."

—Sam Lefebvre, KQED

Irish Collection

"Irish Collection (2017) and Irish Need Not Apply (2019)
are vulnerable and honest mining Irish and
Irish-American cultural exports for source material—alternately
connecting himself to his heritage and distancing himself
from it—Robidoux traces the shaky line between pride and insularity,oppressed and oppressor."

—Leah B. Levinson, Post Trash

Irish Need Not Apply (2019)

Recorded by Eclipse Quartet:

Sarah Thornblade, Sara Parkins,

Alma Lisa Fernandez, Maggie Parkins.

Sonifying Differently Structured Posibilities

Multichannel audio performance using EMF sound emitted from the lights in Dana Hemenway’s sculptures as a starting point for processed improvisation.


In collaboration with Sally Decker and Mitch Stahlmann,

Eleanor Harwood Gallery, San Francisco, CA, October 5, 2019.