My work as a laptop improviser is facilitated by my experience with software development. In advance of performance, I create software instruments which produce compelling and idiosyncratic sonic material through abstract synthesis techniques, and which enable the kinds of richly layered polyphony that reflect my compositional interests. These projects investigate software interfaces which balance expressive control with improvisational unpredictability. This dialogic relationship between musician and instrument allows for more dimensions of control than would be possible with a simple interface, and encourages creative risk and improvisational spontaneity.

In the last few years I have also been performing with electric guitar. My approach to the guitar is self-taught and idiosyncratic; I play with the instrument flat on my lap, and I envision it as a kind of amplified percussion. The visceral nature of the guitar is tremendously appealing, and opens up new dimensions for my work in improvisation.

Recorded improvisations:

Tanngrisnir (with Trevor Saint) in performance, 2016.11.18
video: Archipelago [Youtube]
Bridges of Königsberg (with David Collins and Peter J. Woods) in concert, 2014.05.04
video: improvisation [Vimeo]
Skøefst (with Trevor Saint and Amanda Schoofs) in concert, 2013.09.10
video: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 [Youtube]
Amanda Schoofs, Steve Nelson-Raney and Christopher Burns in concert, 2012.02.17
audio: trio: AS - voice, SNR - tenor saxophone, CB - guitar
Amanda Schoofs and Christopher Burns performing Fieldwork, 2011.10.27
video: Fieldwork [Vimeo]
Steve Nelson-Raney and Christopher Burns in concert, 2009.12.03
audio: 020306: SNR - saxophone, CB - laptop and guitar
audio: 120309: SNR - piano, CB - laptop and guitar
David Bithell and Christopher Burns in concert, 2009.04.09
audio: improvisation: DB - trumpet and laptop, CB - laptop
Kepler's Monsters in concert, 2009.03.04, accompanying video by Lane Hall & Lisa Moline
audio: Kepler's Monsters
Greg Surges and Christopher Burns live coding performance, 2008.12.12
video: first set [Vimeo]