Student Music Compositions


GSV Empiricist

Streaming Media

Document Type

Audio File


4 minutes 44 seconds

Publication Date



2-channel fixed media


Logic Pro X


Composition | Music


Sound art ; Soundscapes (Music)


The GSV Empiricist, or General Systems Vehicle Empiricist, is a ship in Iain M. Banks's Culture series of novels. In its first physical appearance, the Empiricist is described as having “no single outer hull surrounding [its] hundreds of individual components, just colossal bubbles of air held in place by field enclosures” (Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata). And it’s enormous:

Comfortably over two hundred kilometres long even by the most conservative of measurement regimes, fabulously, ellipsoidally rotund, dazzling with multiple sun-lines and tiny artificial stars providing illumination for motley steps and levels and layers of riotous vegetation – belonging, strictly speaking, on thousands of different worlds spread across the galaxy – boasting hundreds of contrasting landscapes from the most mathematically manicured to the most (seemingly) pristinely, savagely wild, all contained on slab-storeys of components generally kilometres high. (Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata)

In short, it’s a mobile city with a population of ten billion, and I wanted to try to capture a little bit of that scene here. In truth, exploring a space this vast would take hours, even moving incredibly quickly, so I composed the work from the perspective of a static drone, observing the passage of this behemoth. The piece moves throughout the ship, bringing forth several novel acoustic spaces. The composition was realized in the Composers’ Studio at Linfield College.


This composition was created as an assignment for the Music and Technology course offered at Linfield College, taught by Dr. Andrea Reinkemeyer.

Course Description for MUSC 225 (Music and Technology)
Introduction to the practical application of computers, synthesizers and audio equipment in classical and popular music.