John Young

Inner has been performed in Leicester, Manchester, Montréal and Santiago…

Inner extends out of the sound and sensation of human breath — from a visceral and magnified perspective. The starting point was concentrated listening to some straightforward electroacoustic transformations of breath sound. Because the spectrum of the sound is rich and noisy, as well as capable of being articulated with seemingly infinite variety, it felt almost as though a whole world of new sound identities might be heard ‘within’ a single breath sound itself. So following that idea I tried to draw attention to the way vowel-like colourations and the rhythmic contours of the breath can be developed and related across a range of noise-based gestures and textures. In seeking to anchor the sound transformations against recognizable sound, the gesture of the opening intake of breath became a key figure, hinting at a surface of realism during some of the more abstract extensions of the material. But perhaps one of the most important motivations for me as composer was the innate potential of the electroacoustic medium to exaggerate the apparent physical scale and presence of such a very intimate and personal sound.

Along with Virtual, and Time, Motion and Memory, this work forms an integrated sequence of three electroacoustic works exploring movement between sound sources which are ‘internal’ and ‘external’ to human sensibility.

Inner was realized in 1995 in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) and premiered at Concordia University (Montréal) on February 23, 1996. The work was awarded first prize in the 1996 Stockholm Electronic Arts Award.


  • February 23, 1996, Series 14 — Concert 12: Chemins / Roads, Salle de concert — Université Concordia, Montréal (Québec)



Inner (1995), 11:57
stereo fixed medium



Date Work Program
August 26, 2006 John Young, Inner (1995), 11:57 Wreck This MeSS / Radio Patapoe: Adventures in UNsound (Netherlands)
June 27, 2011 John Young, Inner (1995), 11:57 Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
December 3, 2012 John Young, Inner (1995), 11:57 Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
March 14, 2016 John Young, Inner (1995), 11:57 Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)