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Tim Story (American, b. 1957)

American composer, sound artist and musician Tim Story has received global acclaim for a career that spans four decades and counting. Called "a true artist in the electronic medium" (Victory Review, USA), Story’s continually evolving work has been documented on dozens of solo and collaborative releases, in television and film soundtracks, live performances and gallery installations around the world.

Personal and idiosyncratic, Story's Grammy-nominated miniatures often balance on a hazy, haunted equilibrium of light and shadow, where the acoustic and the electronic merge in unexpected ways. Evolving from years of early experimentation in his home studio in the 1970’s, and a deep respect for composition, Story continues to forge a unique blend of modern chamber music, spiky electronica and innovative sound design. This careful juxtaposition of acoustic instruments with electronic textures and methods, and a restlessly inventive approach to composition and concept are common threads running through most of Story's art.

" ...A goal of mine is to get listeners to put something of themselves into the experience. To encourage a real interaction, even if the feelings one exposes are sometimes uncomfortable. As Charles Ives said, 'Beauty in music is too often confused with something that lets the ears lie back in an easy chair.' I like to think of good music as a kind of sculpture, where you can never experience the whole from any one point. You must move through it, live with it for a while, before it yields its secrets." As Philadelphia's City Paper described it, Story’s music “conjures without explaining. His instrumental music comes at the listener subtly yet subversively...."

Story’s recorded output began at the start of the 1980’s with 4 self-produced albums for the independent Norwegian label Uniton, two of which were also released in Japan on Polygram. These attracted the attention of Will Ackerman, who released Story’s Glass Green on his popular US-based Windham Hill label in 1987. Story’s next works, the widely admired Beguiled, The Perfect Flaw, and Shadowplay added orchestral instruments to his haunting, carefully calibrated compositions, and were called "one of the finest trilogies in contemporary instrumental music" (Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire).

Since 2000, Story’s work has increasingly focused on the plastic, malleable nature of sound, “quietly and brilliantly deconstructing the ‘musician/composer’ paradigm for which he was known” (Russ Curry, Curious Music). Ongoing collaborations with Hans-Joachim Roedelius (Cluster, Harmonia, Eno) explore the relationships between organic and inorganic sources, and new methods of composition. A fascination with blurring distinctions between composer and listener spurred Story to further broaden his medium in 2016 with The Roedelius Cells, an immersive, elusive multi-channel audio installation. Meticulously crafted from thousands of repurposed short edits of the piano recordings of his friend and colleague, this “extraordinary, deeply satisfying visitor experience’” (Scott Boberg, TMA) is continually evolving in presentation and scope, and is currently enjoying successful exhibitions in museums, galleries and festivals across Europe and the US.

Story’s embrace of unique forms of recontextualization continues in his latest projects, Smudges 1: Virga, and Silent Cycles (2019). Built essentially by submitting other people’s music and found sounds to a process that freezes and ‘smudges’ small samples of harmonically-rich, looped phrases, this growing collection of tone poems generates ephemeral illusions of orchestral music that become "profoundly more evocative and complex than the original source material." Questioning assumptions about appropriation and authorship, these projects also offer fresh perspectives on the "inseparable nature of composition and listening."

In addition to more than 25 solo and collaborative albums, and dozens of compilation appearances, Story's work has appeared in numerous television and film soundtracks, including the original score for Caravana (2005), a feature-length documentary from the production company of acclaimed Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar. Production credits include the influential duo Cluster's 2009 swan song album Qua. Story has performed his work in live settings in London, Berlin, Vienna, Detroit, San Francisco and many others, and in new music festivals in the US and Europe.

Story's music was nominated for a Grammy award in 1988, and a NAIRD ‘Best Album’ award in 1991. Notable collaborations include five acclaimed collections with Hans-Joachim Roedelius, three with Dwight Ashley, and two with Dieter Moebius and Jon Leidecker.

Tim Story was born in 1957 in Philadelphia, and currently lives and works in the small river town of Maumee, in northwest Ohio.

Copyright ©2015 Tim Story