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MR.15.AB_23.120mm.jpg .jpg

photo: Abby Banks

Matt Robidoux is a San Francisco based composer, improviser, and educator interested in the convergence of movement and sound as it relates to free improvisation and  accessibility. Their primary instrument is the “corn synth” — (Kinetically Operated Randomness Network) a modular system that interprets physical input from two “ears of corn” sculptures cast in aluminum.


Why corn? 


I like to focus on the modularity/ubiquity of corn and this kind of illogical sculptural sound causality as a starting point for free improvisation.  The instrument was invented during my residency at ACRE in Wisconsin, where I cast two corn cob moldings in aluminum at a metal pouring workshop in a cornfield. Movement and touch determine the parameters of pitch, velocity, and duration. This makes for an accessible instrument, at once charming and absurd, while also a merging of my practice creating space for unrestricted musical improvisation.


The modular environment, configured around two touch controlled aluminum cast ears of corn, is informed by my ongoing work with Pauline Oliveros' final project AUMI  (Adaptive Use Musical Instrument) in direct collaboration with the disability community and multidisciplinary arts organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. The powerful echo and artistic legacy of Mills College CCM (1967-2022) resonates in my design of the corn synth, modeling it after the Buchla 158, the original synthesizer used at the San Francisco Tape Music Center beginning in 1963.

Matt is part of a composers collective with Sally Decker, Brendan Glasson, Briana Marela, Michelle Moeller, and Mitch Stahlmann, and has worked with Creativity Explored, Del Sol Quartet, Gerald Cleaver, Jean Carla Rodea, Sudhu Tewari, Fred Frith, Eclipse Quartet, William Winant, Jaap Blonk, Laura Steenberge, Sunburned Hand of the Man, gabby fluke-mogul, Anla Courtis, and J Mascis.

They hold a MA in music composition from Mills College, where they studied with Roscoe Mitchell, Zeena Parkins, John Bischoff and James Fei. Their scholarly work is featured as a chapter in Improvising across Abilities: Pauline Oliveros and the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument via University of Michigan Press (2024).

Matt has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Japan and has work available on Already Dead Records and Tapes, Null Zone, Crash Symbols, Feeding Tube Records, Mystra, Exploding In Sound, Ydlmier, Carpark Records, and most recently their own cassette imprint Air Tone.
Robidoux 2 corn portrait.jpg

photo: Abby Banks

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