Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Music/Sound 2009

Mick Barr

A black and white side angle portrait of Mick Barr in front of a tree lined grassy terrain. He has long straight hair and wears glasses and a button up shirt.

As far as what impact the grant has had on my work, it's hard to say at this point as I haven't yet completed any of the newer music I started working on this past year. I guess the grant has given me much needed time to reflect and think about things, as well as finally finish some long overdue projects. And I suppose it's helped me take myself more seriously. I have lots of plans that are still gestating and I think a bit of a new perspective on things.

- Mick Barr, January 5, 2010

Artist Statement

It's hard to make a statement about what I'm trying to do musically, because my goals change often. Recently I've been trying to write using more intuition and less thought. To let the music be what it will be, rather than what I want it to be. In the past I was interested in creating a cold, inhuman form of music. Stringing non-repeating riffs together, sometimes following a pre-meditated structure, sometimes totally at random. There was also a period where I was interested in total immersion in repetition. As well as a time where I mainly focused on harmony and counterpoint. All of my music has been written on electric guitar. And I usually try to push my physical and mental limits in playing.

- December 2008


Active since the mid-1990s, Mick Barr is known primarily for his angular, fleet guitar playing and intricate avant-garde compositions. He straddles the worlds of heavy metal and experimental music and his distinctive voice is always present no matter what the context.

Barr's musical output of almost 100 releases spans a range of collaborative and solo projects. Barr was active in the math-punk outfit duo Crom-Tech (1996-1999) and his technical duo Orthrelm (2001-2012). He began producing music through his solo vehicles Ocrilim and Octis in the early 2000s. Barr is affiliated with bands like the black metal project Krallice and the Flying Luttenbachers, and he has parcipated in improvisational collaborations with musicians including Zach Hill, John Zorn, Jon Irabagon, Marc Edwards, and Zeena Parkins.

With the support of his 2009 FCA grant, Barr funded recording and mastering Absolve (2010), Oldest (2010), Coiled Malescence (2011), and Annwn 2 (2012). Since receiving his 2009 Grants to Artists award, Barr has released the solo albums Annothrith Hymns (2010), Sacreth (2010), Brave Grave #2 (2010), Ixoltion (2010), Neerdeth version—1 (2010), Groundrest (2011), and Octispile (2013). Barr has also since written chamber music for Kronos Quartet (2010), Wet Ink Ensemble (2012), and ACME (2012). He has worked with Jonathan Bepler and Matthew Barney and is featured in their film River of Fundament (2014).

Black and white photograph of Barr in a yard with a low white wall playing the electrical guitar beside children running and smiling.
Barr in performance at Ballroom Marfa, Texas, 2011. Photo by Justina Villanueva.
Black and white photograph of Barr dressed in a snowcoat with his hands in his sleeves, standing in a snowy forest of thin trees with white circles painted on their dark trunks.
Barr in Connecticut. Photo by Justina Villanueva.
Black and white photograph of Barr standing in the middle of an expansive and remote desert with sparse shrubs and gently sloping hills.
Barr in Texas. Photo by Justina Villanueva.