james brown /// composer
james brown /// composer
james brown /// composer
james brown /// composer
james brown /// composer



I have composed the score and 360 Ambisonic Spatial audio sound for this new work, a collaboration between ERTH, and AFTRS – which premiered at ACMI in Melbourne and will be screen as part of Adelaide Film Festival

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Prehistoric VR is an immersive encounter by internationally renowned makers of large-scale puppetry experiences Erth Visual & Physical Inc, and award winning visual artist and filmmaker Samantha Lang.

Based on Erth’s stage show Prehistoric Aquarium, Prehistoric VR invites kids big and small to travel back 200 million years to encounter some of the strange, wonderful and terrifying creatures of the prehistoric deep. Up close and personal with an amazing array of aquatic creatures from the Ediacaran to the Cretaceous periods, this groundbreaking VR experience connects audiences to the real science of paleontology.


The experience sends you back 200 million years to the ocean floor for an encounter with ancient sea creatures who were once native to the region that became Australia. Expect to have run-ins with bioluminescent jelly fish, anglerfish, anomalocaris, paracyclotosaurus, dickinsonia, plesiosaurus and kronosaurus. 

Prehistoric VR, which you watch via the Google Daydream View headset, shows the 360-degree puppet stage for slightly over eight minutes. It takes you from the sea floor to shallow waters, introducing large and small creatures at varying depths.

Scott Wright, artistic director for Erth, told VRScout in an email that VR heightens observation “in a way that film can’t.”

“Combining the ‘realness’ of puppetry with VR’s transportation to a ‘virtual place’ we in effect trick the human mind twice, enhancing the suspension of disbelief beyond anything we have been able to do to date,” Wright said.

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I have composed the score to the documentary film “Anubumin”, A film by Zanny Begg & Oliver Ressler

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The film focuses on Nauru, a tiny remote island in the Pacific with 10,000 inhabitants. The title “Anubumin” is Nauruan for “night” and symbolises a certain darkness that surrounds the island.

The film combines a poetic narration written for the film with conversations carried out with whistleblowers in Australia. The narration discusses different voids that have shaped the islands past and future.

The largest void is a physical one, the island is a raised reef consisting of calcite and phosphate on a volcanic base, which since 1906 has been mined and exported to Australia, to fertilise the former colonisers’ farms. When phosphate extraction came to a stop in the 1980s, Nauru was bankrupt and 80 percent of the land area uninhabitable and infertile. In an attempt to generate income, in the 1990s Nauru became a prime money-laundering haven. After the disappearance of soil and money, today Nauru involves in the “disappearance of people” – housing one of Australia’s offshore refugee detention centres.

In a reaction to the criticism on terrible human right situation in the detention centre, Nauru severely restricted access to the island. Four whistleblowers, who worked as doctors and nurses in the detention centre, describe the institutionalised human rights violations in the offshore detention. They uncover a truth the Australian government tries to cover through intimidating people into silence.

Today a new void threatens the island, rising sea-levels threaten the coastal edge, which is the only area left for its inhabitants to live. The people who warden the political and economic refugees of today may well become climate refugees of tomorrow. The night is always darkest before the dawn.


Whistleblowers: David Isaacs, Mark Isaacs, Anonymous, Alanna Maycock, Hasantha Gunasekera
Footage shot on Nauru by anonymous whistleblowers
Camera by William Robertson
Composition by James Brown
Poem by Matthew Hyland & Oliver Ressler
Narrated by Renée Gadsden
Thanks to Gabby Sutherland
Audio recording poem, colour correction by Rudolf Gottsberger

In Real Life

I have composed the score to the new Australian work, In Real Life which premieres at Darlinghurst Theatre.

Julian Larnach’s In Real Life offers an unnerving portrait of our digital lives, a cautionary tale about our rapidly changing world where technology has pushed us beyond our moral compass and is rapidly breaking down societal norms.

In the not too distant future, Theresa is the CEO of a global digital company and inventor of the Drum, the world’s most popular personal device. One evening she argues with her daughter who walks out of their secluded holiday retreat and vanishes without a trace.





I have created the live score for this multi-sensory performance and dining experience created through a new collaboration between Studio A and Erth.

“All five human senses have been engaged in this truly groundbreaking work. – Artshub”


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My Dinner with BIRDFOXMONSTER – Realtime

“Entering the mysterious world of birdfoxmonster, we are encouraged to wash our hands before eating, which we duly do on moist, warm towels handed through an opening in a black wall by unseen persons. Then, all 30 of us gradually file into a darkened space towards a spotlit pumpkin stuck with forks wrapped around with spaghetti and spinach, which we pull out and eat. A soft, rumbling voice, somewhere between the Cookie Monster and (as a fellow audience member observes) Tom Waits, riffs upon the delights of spaghetti smothered in melting butter.

We are here for an unorthodox dinner designed by artists from Studio A (a Sydney-based organisation that fosters the professional development of artists living with an intellectual disability) and Erth, the live-theatre company known for creating up-close, exhilarating puppetry encounters for children. Gathered in this dimly lit space, with its promise of anthropomorphic characters, there’s more than a hint of having fallen down the rabbit hole…….”



I have composed the score to the Alice Birth Work of REVOLT at The Malthouse, directed by Janice Muller.

Revolt. She said. Revolt again. is a theatrical assault on the language that has reinforced violence against women* for centuries, and an explosion of what womanhood means in the 21st century.

In a series of equally funny and disturbing events—the everyday is turned upside down, dirty talk is stripped naked, a marriage proposal is interrogated, and nudity is embraced in the dairy aisle—playwright Alice Birch rallies language to revolt upon itself, commanding it to bear arms against the conventions of work, sex, motherhood, aging, and love




‘… electric cast generate a riotous brilliance that will leave you buzzing’
-       Cameron Woodhead, The Age ★★★★

‘A testament to the strength of feminist performance in Australia’
-       Jane Howard, The Guardian

‘playful, provocative and shrewd’
-       Chris Boyd, The Australian

‘downright brilliant’
-       Kara Bertoncini, The Au Review

‘superb performances’
-       Tim Bryne, Time Out

‘daring and honest’
-       Victoria Beal, Broadway World

 ‘exciting and captivating’
-       Liddy Clark, Stage Noise

Frank Enstein

I have composed the score to the dance and theatre work “Frank Enstein” – produced by The Farm and Co3 Australia

Frank’s a lonely guy who wants to make his imaginary friends real. Harnessing electricity from a storm he animates his world with nothing but his imagination and a cardboard box. Battling a physical impairment, Frank creates monsters to fulfill his desire to be normal and to be accepted by others. Can he control what he creates? And where is the real monster anyway?

Frank Enstein is a retelling of the classic tale for children and adults – magical dance-theatre illuminating a path to self-acceptance. This is theatre as if made by Michel Gondry, handcrafted and full of the love of old fashioned techniques.

Bleach* Festival, Gold Coast Season presented by Bleach* Festival, The Farm, Co3 Australia and The Arts Centre Gold Coast
March 31- April 1, 2017
Tickets on Sale December 1 through www.theartscentregc.com.au
More info: https://theartscentregc.com.au/theatre/frank-enstein/


A Faint Existence

I have composed the score to Kristina Chan’s work A Faint Existence, which premiered as part of Liveworks Festival 2016 at Carriageworks.

The stunning full-length solo debut from acclaimed Australian dancer-choreographer Kristina Chan, A Faint Existence is a powerful physical meditation on impermanence, fragility and mortality in the age of climate change. Chan’s performance explores our complex connection to the environment, our desire to make a change and the feelings of helplessness that derail our best intentions.

Kristina Chan is one of Australia’s foremost dance artists—a dancer of great precision, intuition and exceptional physical virtuosity. Acclaimed composer James Brown has created a live electronic score that connects to the intricacies of Chan’s choreography in a shifting environment created by Clare Britton.


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Kristina Chan blows away audience in solo performance tackling climate change ★★★★★

“James Brown’s electronic soundscape takes us from threatening deep decibels to silence with great subtlety. The way all the elements of this piece have come together so coherently reflects the teamwork of the artform collaborators, including dramaturg Victoria Hunt.”


I have composed the score to the work “Dignity of Risk” – by ATYP, Directed by Natalie Rose

This stereotype-smashing show is made by and about young people – but is essential viewing for anyone who has ever felt like they don’t ‘fit the norm’

We grow up with boundaries. They determine how we should behave, where we can go, what we can do on our own. You could say the process of ‘growing up’ up is testing those boundaries, pushing them, finding out when they break or when you will. But not everyone gets that chance. Some people are thought to be too fragile, too vulnerable or just not ready. Which is fine until you realise … actually, it isn’t. That’s the point of growing up!

This explosive new work fuses movement and dance with the personal stories of young adults. Shopfront’s Harness Ensemble joins forces with actors from ATYP to interrogate the worlds we find ourselves in. Merging performers with and without disability, we hold a mirror to our preconceptions of what is appropriate, what is possible and what can be expected. There’s a dignity in the freedom to make mistakes. That’s where we learn the important stuff.

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Wonderbabe the Terrible

I have composed the live score to the spoken word performance piece “Wonderbabe the Terrible” by Kate McDowell.

I perform the work live on stage, mixing dance music underneath the text the whole way through.


The Adventures of Wonderbabe the Terrible is a full-length live storytelling performance set to a thumping DJ set, made for music and cultural festivals. The story deals with the deep traumas running through young people’s sexual and political lives, and it is an allegorical text written in epic poetic prose.


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Brown Lips

I have composed the score to the short film “Brown Lips”, directed by Nakkiah Lui.

Two cousins from Sydney’s outer suburbs decide that the only way to feel loved is to turn their back on their family for good, causing a family to implode, and two lives to be changed forever.



I have composed the live score to the work “Ich Nibber Dibber” by POST, as part of Sydney Festival 2017

The score features ambient re-works of 35 pop songs from the years 2007-2017, created in a way to be subliminally recognisable and more apparent as the show progresses.

Natalie Rose, Mish Grigor and Zoë Coombs Marr sure talk a lot of shit. First loves, bowel movements, birthing moans and the global financial crisis: they tackle the messy issues, and it’s all on tape.

post are an acclaimed collective known for fiercely intelligent and entertaining theatre. In this colossal act of self-examination, Nat, Mish and Zoë fast-forward through 10 years of camaraderie and captured key moments, embarrassing, hilarious and profound.

In a single sprawling conversation, the three post women come of age and a decade of history is distilled to gleeful incomprehensibility and wild revelations.

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WRITTEN, DIRECTED & PERFORMED BY / post (Zoë Coombs Marr, Natalie Rose & Mish Grigor)
SET & COSTUME DESIGN / Michael Hankin
LIGHTING DESIGN  / Fausto Brusamolino
DRAMATURGY / Anne-Louise Sarks


I composed the original score for Kristina Chan’s work CONFORM in New Breed 2015, by Sydney Dance Company

“Conform is one of the most powerful dance works of the year, lingering in the mind long after the performance has ended. Watching Conform, choreographed by Kristina Chan for the Sydney Dance Company’s New Breed season at Sydney’s Carriageworks, is a visceral experience. The electronic score by James Brown drills down deep into the body and brain.”  – dancelines 2015


“Kristina Chan’s Conform, for eight men, is the standout. It sets a sombre mood in its exploration of pressures that are put on men, beginning with a subtly nuanced scene of slow physical crumbling that draws the viewer in.” Jill Skes – SMH


“Set to composer James Brown’s dramatic, electronic war zone soundscape, Conform is bursting with formidable images, all devoid of empathy or love: the intimidating jolt of a shoulder in passing, the group descending on an individual, the gang that morphs into a military troupe marching mindlessly and subserviently in formation. The dancers enact the clichéd and empty routines of masculine gesturing.” –  Rebecca Whitton, Australian Stage 2015


The standout piece of the evening was Kristina Chan’s “Conform.” The work explores what it is to be a man in modern Western society. From a female choreographer, it is an interesting exploration. From the outset the work is intriguing, confronting and ultimately powerful. With Sydney Dance Company’s eight male dancers performing the piece, we watch as the work explores pack mentality, conformity, self-expression and the individual. It is perhaps the most innovative contemporary dance piece I have seen in Australia this year.  The highlight is a replacement scene, where each male dancer replaces another, each dancer rolling seamlessly off the stage, their replacement illuminated in a spotlight. It is intensely captivating but also offers moments of reflection. Contemporary choreography in Australia is in good hands, Chan is a rising star.” – Claudia Lawson, FJORD



Chasing Hope

I have composed the score and sound design for this short film about seeking asylum

“Chasing Hope”

Directed and Produced by James Brown and Bill Irving
Written and Edited by Bill Irving – vimeo.com/billirving
Cinematography by James Brown – jameslbrown.com.au
Production Designer – Ruby Challenger – rubychallenger.wordpress.com/
Composer and Sound Design – James P Brown – jamespeterbrown.com
1st AC – Anne-Sophie Marion
Colourist – Tristan La Fontaine – atthegrade.com.au
Drone – Jasper Glavanics – ground-control.tv
VO Sound Recordist – Steve Foy
Camera Equipment – River Road Films
Title Design – Brett Glover

Lake Disappointment

I composed the score and sound design for the show Lake Disappointment, which premiered at Carriageworks in April 2016

A new Australian work by Luke Mullins and Lachlan Philpott with collaborator James Brown and Director Janice Muller, Lake Disappointment plunges beneath the surface of an image obsessed world and strums an unnerving riff on contemporary identity.

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Beautifully performed and powerfully staged, this is the most intriguing work of theatre in Sydney at the moment. You have until Saturday to see it.



I composed the score and sound design for the play “Broken” at Darlinghurst Theatre.

Broken is a two times winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. It won Best Drama and is the first play ever to win the Literature Prize, one the most prestigious literary awards in Australia.

Broken is a powerful story of hope and human resilience in the face of adversity.




Broken begins with a near fatal car crash in the Desert with Ash trapped in her car. Ash is rescued by a stranger and in that extreme moment of life and death they form a bond. The stranger however has a partner and they have recently lost their unborn child.

Supported by a moody underscore composed by James Brown, and Ben Brockman’s slow-fading lights, the effect is entrancing.
Director Shannon Murphy’s clever, stripped-back production makes this lyricism even more potent. It eschews a formal ‘set’, and each actor delivers their lines directly into hand-held microphones.
James Brown’s sound design is equally low fi and similarly powerful: a tray of scattered pebbles becomes the sound of Ham’s feet trudging through gravel to find Ash’s upturned car; popping bubble wrap recreates the crackling fire lit while they wait for the ambulance.
4/5 stars – Timeout 

A Brilliant Genocide

I have composed the score to the feature documentary “A Brilliant Genocide” which premiered in Los Angeles in April 2016




Fallout 4

I designed the sound and music for these 7  videos for Bethesda’s Fallout 4.
The animation was produced by Rubber House Studio. I designed the sound to emulate a 50’s style public service announcement.
The videos were used in the game to teach players about different abilities and skills within the world of Fallout 4.


I composed the Live score to Tangi Wai – The Cry of Water

Victoria Hunt has drawn together an impressive creative team to investigate the transformative qualities of light, water, incantations and embodiment. Hunt has choreographed a company of eleven women in a striking work that explores the concept of Te Arai, a place of remembrances – bodies abandoned by spirit, urged by unknown forces

“Hunt’s dance is at once organic, suggestive of primordial times, and electrifying.”
– Julia Cotton, Sydney Morning Herald

Tangi Wai…the cry of water merges installation, theatre and dance – guided by Maori protocols and cosmology.

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 “The Sound Design of James Brown, has his imagination engaging like a sorcerer, sound and technical inventions from a multitudinous resource, thrusting the work forward propulsively and harnessing it, extraordinarily, within the atmospherics of mythical time, and still, yet, vibrating the constant evolutionary forces of the present. The aural impact was immersive and massive. I felt, was affected, to be a witness to a beginning of it ‘all’ in Time Present and Time Past, at once. The sense of TIME connect, association, with the fictional explanations of our homo sapiens ancestors as to the origins of nature, and the importance of the mist, water, still, now, nurturing the earth, underlined my seeping (once unconscious) panic as to its value and fragility in the eco-balance of our present days.”

Kevin Jackson – Theatre Diary



One Day for Peace


I have composed the score for the Documentary “One day for Peace”

One Day for Peace was screened over two weeks in high pedestrian traffic locations across Western Sydney from 14–27 September 2015. The film was projected onto buildings, screens and in train stations in Auburn, Bankstown, Blacktown, Canley Heights, Liverpool, Mt Druitt and Parramatta.

In one of the most multicultural cities in the world, One Day For Peace takes us on a journey across the suburbs of Western Sydney to ask: what do you believe? This multi-faith, observational documentary combines everyday ritual with reflections on humanity, impermanence and social justice. An epic undertaking, One Day For Peace wrestles with some big (and not so big) questions inside homes, prayer houses and from the back seat of a taxi.


Top of the Lake

I have composed music for the miniseries Top of the Lake : Season 1, Directed by Jane Campion.
Music: James Brown and Mark Bradshaw // Director: Jane Campion 
Selection of music: