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Chris Mann (1949-2018) : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: NUFFA THAT : song in memoriam Chris Mann by Chris Mann, from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 108.

Artist website: http://theuse.info/

An Australian composer working in compositional linguistics, Chris Mann (b. 1949) worked with Machine for Making Sense until moving to New York in the mid-1990s. His German Jewish parents were pioneers in the fields of ethnomusicology and oral literature, and these childhood influences, combined with undergraduate studies in Chinese and linguistics at the University of Melbourne, strongly influenced his compositional style. Later interests in the philosophy of language and systems theory also reveal themselves in his music. He graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1969 with the degree of Bachelor of Music, later completing a Bachelor of Education at La Trobe University.

After working with Roy Hart in London, Mann established the New Music Centre in 1972, and, in the mid-1970s, worked extensively with Syd Clayton, Peter Mummé, Warren Burt and NIAGGRA. From 1975 to 1978 he was lecturer in music at the State College of Victoria. He resigned this post in order to establish a research project on cultural definitions of information with the International Association for Mass Communications Research, the International Institute of Communications and UNESCO.

Mann was the recipient of commissions from American composers Kenneth Gaburro (a piece on the history of grammar for Lingua Press, 1979) and John Cage (Eight Whiskus, 1983), from radio stations, dance companies, and festivals. He worked as composer-in-residence with primary schools, towns and was also the ABC Staff Union's artist-in-residence and a consultant for Arts Victoria.

His solo performances included appearances at prestigious festivals such as Paris Autumn, Ars Electronica and Berliner Festspiele. His work was deconstructed, interpreted and set by Tom Buckner, John Cage, David Dunn, Gary Hill, Johnny Klimek, Annea Lockwood, Larry Polansky and Robert Rauschenberg.

His works include The Plato Songs using realtime spectral analysis and parsing of the voice into sixteen channels, and Quadraphonic cocktail for the three radio networks of the ABC. Mann's work has been published by Lovely Music, Tall Poppies, EMF, OO Discs, Frogpeak, Station Hill and collective effort press.

Mann's work over the past decade can be explored on the artist's website at http://theuse.info/. Recent work is also available via his 'the use' iPad app. For earlier work, see for example: Machine for Making Sense: On second thoughts (1994), available as digital audio and hard copy from the AMC; Shame File Music (NMA tapes 1980s-1990s, available as free downloads and CDs); Scarlet Aardvark (no. 39: collaborative works by Warren Burt and Chris Mann 1977-1993).

For details about Mann's earlier work in Australia, see: http://www.rainerlinz.net/NMA/22CAC/mann.html

Chris Mann on language: 'Language is the mechanism whereby you understand what I'm thinking better than I do (where 'I' is defined by those changes for which I is required).'

On Chris Mann's music:

'Exactly' - Herbert Brun

'Voice as vortex' - Annea Lockwood

the surfaCe
of tHis
itS body's talk

a fast Mix
of vulgArity

- John Cage


Chris Mann; AMC (2005/2018)

Analysis & Media

- Website: American Mavericks: an interview with Chris Mann
By Preston Wright, American Public Media, with Philip Blackburn, American Composers Forum, July 2002

- Website: Open Space 22: For Chris Mann
Compositions, videos composed especially as a tribute to Chris Mann