Rutger Muller

Composer & Interaction Designer

image by R. Muller from video by Michiel Gardner

I’m an contemporary composer and interaction designer interested in mysticism (dark minimalism) and playful improvisationBy zooming in on the intricate details of sound (timbre and acoustics), I find inspiration for my sound spaces, in which musicians (and audiences) can discover fusions of ancient and contemporary music. 

By focusing on non-linearity (structures that seem to re-arrange themselves)  I aim to free music from fixed chronologies and emotions. I want to look into our pre-emotional subconscious mind, our abstract origins.

Photo by Paul Caron

I started my creative journey around 1996 with level design (in DOS games like Duke3D) – followed by hacking, web design and drumming (mostly hardcore punk). Around 2004, I became interested in interactive (and non-linear / improvised) music, gaining a BA & MA in Music Technology at the HKU Arts University.

As a composer, I often focus on fusions of avant-garde classical music and club music. This drove me to initiate my Rutger Muller Ensemble – featuring interdisciplinary (music & theatre) improvisers Wen Chin Fu and Josephine Bode. In 2014, We collaborated with creative coders NAP Labs on an A/V performance for Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw.

Since 2012, I  joined dozens of hackathons / game jams / labs such as the ICMC Hack-and-Makerthon at the Samsung Creative Campus in South Korea (2018), and the MUTEK.JP AI Music Lab in Tokyo (2019). I currently focus on new contemporary compositions and on MyuBio – a generative spatial soundsystem that simulates nature.

Composer’s Statement
Music Can Transcend Emotion

I’m fascinated by mysticism, music’s ability to sound meditative and uncanny at the same time. I aim to discover the beauty and dark energy on the bleeding edge between tranquility and friction. It has me continuously exploring types of spirituality found in avant-classical music, non-western traditions and club music.

How can we implement types of mysticism into our hectic times, and discover catharsis in it? I often start at nature: the organic intricacies of timbre, the imperfections of improvisation, and our ancient fascination for (cavernous) reverberations.

In my search for spiritual sound, I want to transcend drama and emotion, reach beyond it, towards the roots of inner consciousness and outer space. What are the roots of music, and how can we keep rediscovering them?

Exorcism at Cultura Nova (Heerlen, NL)
With dancer Nathaniel Moore (USA)
Image from video by Paul Caron

Thresholder installation at
Born Digital (Utrecht, NL)
Photo by Joram Wolters

Designer’s Statement
‘Improv is the Future of Gameplay’

Both the origin and future of creativity are improvisational. While computers might not have intuition, they can improvise using algorithms, logics, memory (data), feedback and chance.

Soon, generative arts wil happen in real-time. These instant explorations call for new (playful) interfaces that bridge human improvisation with machine intelligence.

Game design allows us to explore the roots of creativity and culture in accessible and interdisciplinary ways. I research the field of ’emergent gameplay’, which aims to gives players the ability to evolve rules, without breaking the flow/immersion.