Photo Credit: Jennifer Reiley

Photo Credit: Jennifer Reiley

For Immediate Release: May 31, 2019

Synth master and renowned composer Todd Barton has reissued his shakuhachi album Ro today via Flying Moonlight--the experimental NYC based label responsible for recent releases from Laraaji, Arji OceAnanda, and Dallas Acid. 

Known best, perhaps for his momentous collaboration with Ursula K. Le Guin (Music and Poetry of the Kesh), he is also a well known educator, teaching Buchla, Serge, and Hordijk synthesizers to curious music students around the world. 

Originally self-released in 2003, Ro is a meditative, solitary work focused on achieving rich timbral expressions from the shakuhachi (a Japanese bamboo flute). "Ro" is defined as the lowest note on the shakuhachi, with all finger holes closed. "Ro is the root," Barton says, and "blowing the Ro note repeatedly for 10 minutes to an hour a day is traditional training for shakuhachi players, as it focuses breath, embouchure, timbre, and listening."

The brief compositions on Ro are meant to be experienced as sonic, timbral haikus, with each track offering its own unfolding character. The video for the title track was created by Linda Beecroft of Dallas Acid. 

Barton has also announced a partnership with MakeNoise, in which he has offered an exclusive shakuhachi reel (from Ro) for use with MakeNoise's Morphagene. In a YouTube video that explains the collaboration, Barton says, "With the re-release of my shakuhachi album Ro I’ve chosen two minutes of samples from the album which you’ll be able to download at from the MakeNoise section. Just pop the reel of samples into the Morphagene and begin creating your own soundscapes. Just two samples can become an entire track." 

For media inquiries, please reach out to Caitlin Pasko at Drunken Piano.


After four decades of exploration, Todd Barton is still delving deeply into the ever-expanding frontiers of musical expression: from his DNA derived Genome Music to his innovative scores for plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; from performances of Zen Shakuhachi Meditation Music to avant-garde music for electronic synthesizers and computers; from performing with luminaries of jazz and poetry to lecturing on music and composition from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century.

Todd Barton is currently a trainer for MacProVideo Buchla courses. And continually consults about and teaches analog synthesis via Skype sessions around the world. He is also Resident Composer Emeritus for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

His compositions have been performed by the KRONOS Quartet, Oregon Symphony Orchestra, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, the Shasta Taiko, and the Rogue Valley Symphony to name a few.

Barton has received numerous awards for his theater music including the ASCAP Award for Popular Music, Dramalogue Critics Award, and the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award. He recently received a Jeff Award Nomination in Chicago for his original score to The Oedipus Complex.

His music has been heard on NPR’s Morning Edition, Westcoast Live, and the Curve of Wonder.