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



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.


Animal People

I have composed the score along with Tom Hogan to the work “Animal People” – Directed by James Dalton

It Premiered at Bondi Pavilion in May 2015

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Good parents become bad people in Brooke Robinson’s new poetic thriller, Animal/People, a sweaty jog through a brutal suburbia, brought to life by director James Dalton (Kill the PM, Mr Kolpert).

Early one morning, a man abandons the victim of a brutal dog attack, while a woman uncovers a hidden secret in the x-rays of her patient.

Animal People

William Yang – Blood Links

Music score composed for the third documentary movie by William Yang

World premiere at GOMA, Brisbane in December as part of the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival

Photographer William Yang traces the labyrinthine web of his family history in this adaptation of his iconic live performance piece. William was born and raised in North Queensland, his grandparents having migrated from the south of China in the 1880s to dig for gold. Yet it was not until mid-life that he claimed his Chinese heritage.

William’s transatlantic exploration of his genealogy unites him with scores of relatives from all walks of life, some rich, but most ordinary folk with menial jobs, and most cannot speak a word of Chinese.

A visual feast, Blood Links examines how the Chinese diaspora establish roots in foreign soil, and how over the generations, through intermarriage, blood is mixed; yet the intricate bonds of family remain.



Adult Swim

I have composed the music and sound design for these Adult Swim TV shorts, with animator team Rubber House

Top of the Lake


I contributed score music for Jane Campion’s six part miniseries “Top of the Lake” which premiered at Sundance this year, which won one Emmy Award and 8 nominations in 2013

Here is a selection of scenes including my music from the show

Wine men of Gotham

I designed the sound and music for an Ad for a cute little TV Ad for Gotham Wines, replicating the 50s style of animation – which was animated by Rubber House

The Big Winner

I produced the sound and music for RubberHouse’s mini Animation “The Big Winner”

The Big Winner from Rubber House on Vimeo.

The Lee Ellroy Show

I composed the score to the live theatre/dance performance by SOIT in 2013 “The Lee Ellroy Show”


‘The Lee Ellroy Show’ is the new duet by choreographer Hans Van den Broeck. A compelling source of inspiration is the autobiographical novel ‘My Dark Places’ by James Ellroy. The American crime fiction writer was haunted by the loss of his mother and the unsolved circumstances in which she was murdered. He goes on a journey of wild and abundant excess and struggles to preserve his sanity.

The story is set in the 50’s. Divorced and lonely, James Ellroy’s mother moves to El Monte, part of the endless sprawl of greater Los Angeles. The new suburbia, isolated and eerie. A sordid boiling hot place risen from the dessert, a nowhere, where she was prone to meet other lost souls and eventually did. On a ‘cheap’ saturday night she met her killer, the ‘swarthy man’, a murderer who was never found. She had a night out on her own, a few drinks, a talk, a dance and was discovered in the early morning hours in the bushes of a small dirt-road. An existence halted in the grass, a life that never blossomed.

This sudden, traumatic disappearance condemns James Ellroy to a life-long search for the mother he never really knew, a loving mother.

He embarks on a disturbing journey; from a big mouthed young bully, to a shoplifting teenager, a voyeur and finally nearly losing his mind as a homeless young adolescent. About to tip over the cliff, he devotes himself to writing. It will be his salvation and a sublimation of the trauma, a life-long battle with the omen living inside him.

‘The Lee Ellroy Show’ is a visceral and wild trip in this dark and fascinating universe.

Hans Van den Broeck takes the powerful text by Ellroy as a starting point and uncovers the obsession rooted in the work. He takes us on a choreographic trip which combines haunting moments of pure dance with intense theatrical scenes.

He brings the cruel disappearance of Ellroy’s mother to the stage, creating a poetical universe in which chaos is ultimately transformed into a eulogy of love.



I composed the music for Alice Topp’s work performed by the Australian Ballet, as part of the bodytorque program, at Sydney Theatre

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The video footage as produced by The Apiary


Alice Topp, a company member who is becoming very comfortable with switching hats to choreographer, presented Scope. This work was the highlight of the program, danced by talented Chengwu Guo, Natasha Kusen and Karen Nanasca. The trio was cast perfectly, dancing like they shared a deep understanding of one another. The work incorporated projected pictures of each of the dancers onto three individual cycloramas. With inspiration drawn from a photographic exhibition and the idea of the human body as a vessel for our actual being, the work had a peaceful spirituality about it. Scope was captivating and just beautiful to watch.

Celestial Radio

I have collaborated with British Artists Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich’s to produce a radio show that will be broadcast from a sailing boat whose surface is covered by 60,000 inch-square mirror tiles, sailing over Sydney Harbour. As part of the Launch of the new MCA building. I have composed an hour of ambient music to go along with the recorded interviews

Celestial Radio is a seductive and functional sculptural object, a radio station housed on a sailing boat whose surface is covered by mirror tiles; she splinters daylight as if transmitting Morse code messages. The Celestra: Southern Star travels literally across the high seas while conceptually exploring the metaphorical oceans of life’s big questions, both cosmic and microscopic.

You can listen to the whole radio broadcast here:


Unnamed, My Eyes Ablaze

I travelled to Brussels in December 2012 to work with Anuschka Von Oppen on her work “Unnamed, my Eyes Ablaze”, which premiered at space RENOLD, Company SOIT’s new studio and rehearsal space.

Concept/Direction: Anuschka Von Oppen
Creation & Performance: James Brown, Gala Moody, Sara Sampelayo, Anuschka Von Oppen
Music score: James Brown
Light: Christoph Donse
Assistant set: Elie Desmet
Costumes: Elise Abraham
Camera & Editing: Gert Verboven


I have composed the live score for this final part of Matthew Day’s Trilogy, INTERMISSION

Intermission is the final installment in Matthew Day’s acclaimed solo series TRILOGY, following THOUSANDS and CANNIBAL

“…complete surrender…he’s asking questions about pattern and repetition, about the possibility and oppressiveness of the human body…heart breaking” – Rebecca Saffir, The Brag

“the experience of feeling time stretch and come together…the sheer endurance and intensity in Day’s performance…rewarding.”
Megan Garrett-Jones, FBI Radio

“…imperceptible movement that eventually flows through his body in actions that could be seen as a visual version of the circular patterning of music by Philip Glass.”
Jill Sykes, Sydney Morning Herald

Copper Promises – Victoria Hunt

I wrote the music score for Victoria Hunt’s new work, Copper Promises: Hinemehi Haka – Which Premiered at Carriageworks in June 2012 and toured to London (The Place, London) in 2013

Copper Promises is a new solo dance work by Victoria Hunt exploring the cultural and physical journey of Hinemihi: a female ancestor and a ceremonial space connected with Hunt’s Maori cultural heritage. Hinemihi’s story is interwoven with Hunt’s own journey: of finding family, of reconnecting with her culture and of learning from land, ancestors and peers. with Hunt’s extended family and other artists, Copper Promises creates distinctive movement and imagery, merging feeling and gesture as they echo across landscape and through time. It is a lament, a pilgrimage, a protest for ancestral treasures – Taonga.

“A stunning production…It is as if she is channelling the spirits of her ancestors and the very land they come from.”
Julia Cotton, Sydney Morning Herald

Artists: James Brown, Densil Cabrera, Annemaree Dalziel, Hedge, Horomona Horo, Victoria Hunt, Charles Koroneho, Tess de Quincey, Clytie Smith, Chris Wilson and Fiona Winning