Research is a systematic investigation of some aspect of thought or reality which leads to transferable knowledge. In artistic research, this knowledge, embedded in compositional or performative work, may be expressed through diverse media, including but not confined to written text.
Giuliano Anzani (master’s degree 2017)
Dynamic Stochastic Synthesis: A Performative Approach
Based on the model of dynamic stochastic synthesis (GENDY) created by Iannis Xenakis, my master’s research aimed to investigate the timbral possibilities of this approach through the development of a dedicated live-performance environment. During the initial period of this research, a hybrid interface consisting of a specialised software and a physical controller for interacting and performing with the dynamic stochastic synthesis model was developed.
Following this path, the research carried out during the master’s programme, describes the development of a practice aiming to control the GENDY algorithm in real time. In these lines, the result of this study contributed a real-time instrument named as ExGen, which was designed as an environment for the usage of GENDY as the main source for further sound manipulations.
The stochastic nature of this synthesis technique became the inspiration and the antagonist of the performer who, through the ExGen system, can control and vary the behaviour of the stochastic synthesis.
Using the knowledge and the practice achieved from the master’s research, the next step of this project is focused on the further development of this instrument.
An optimisation of the audio synthesis used in the software appears as a next step. This implementation includes the development of different audio plugins that will be made publicly available in order to receive feedback and suggestions regarding the utility of this tools.
In the previous version, a variety of commercial MIDI controllers was recruited for the physical interaction between the performer and the ExGen. This fact resulted in a series of limitations. A further step in the development of this instrument is the development of a dedicated hardware that will overcome these limitations. Using the practice developed for the master’s thesis, the objective of this implementation is to design and build a specific physical surface for the real-time use of this environment. A simplification of the controls is also planned in order to obtain a more efficient interaction between the controller and the performer.
Simultaneously with the development of the instrument, the software and the hardware developments gathered in this research, will be documented, collected and released through a dedicated website under Creative Commons (CC) license, in order to provide freedom of use and allow further modifications of these tools.
Kyriakos Charalampides (master’s degree 2017)
Rhythmanalysis: an expressive tool for environment-aesthetics relationship
Just before the dawn of the 21st century, Henri Lefebvre envisioned an act that sought to analyse the world as a moving complexity. In 1992, the publication of Rhythmanalysis aspired to transform the abstract concept of rhythm into a method. By studying periodic temporalities through subjective prisms, Rhythmanalysis carries the vision to allow its practitioners to listen to a town or a street, in the same way as an audience listens to a symphony. The present research aims to study Lefebvre’s ideas as an alternative way of musical expression focused in the environment/subject intersection. During the first part of this investigation, micro-periodic relations between the observer and observed were studied as a compositional method. Based on the findings of this period, the second part of this research is focused in macro time scales. Current experiments aspire to retrieve coherent rhythmical relations from large sets of data, in order to transform complex sequences of events into musical structures.
Kyriakos Charalampides is a sound engineer and composer from Greece. His interest orbits around environmentally emerged aesthetics. He has been involved as a post-production engineer in several music and film productions. During the last years, he is occupied with applications of Rhythmanalysis in sonification. He holds a BSc in Sound Engineering and Music Technology and a MMus in Sonology from the Royal Conservatoire.
Görkem Arıkan (master’s degree Instruments & Interfaces 2019)
Cruising at the Intersection of Sound Art and Car Mechanics
How do car mechanics listen to and diagnose a car engine? How would mechanics approach their job in a musical or creative manner? How would they share their skills with electro-acoustic composers? What would be the outcome of an extensive relationship among mechanics and artists?
The industrial revolution brought an ocean of sounds in its wake. Since then, electro-acoustic composers and performers have been interested in industrial sounds of a wide spectrum. However, this relationship has been mostly field-recording activities in order to collect new and interesting sounds. The interest of this project is to find a new context in sound, by the way of developing a relationship with the mechanics and the locals, thus cultivating new ideas together as a community. The focus of this project is not on the artist’s own practice, but rather on the relationship with the mechanics, and the outcomes which will be realized on the fly.
Darina Žurková (PhD Erasmus 2017–2018) and Riccardo Marogna (master’s degree 2018)
DINGEN (from Dutch ‘things’, from pronunciation ‘the sound which most of our tools produce’) is an improvised electroacoustic performance which makes use of concrete sounds of various amplified objects and their live electronic manipulations.
DINGEN adapted different types of objects into the percussive palette of sounds as a blank canvas for performers’ improvisation. The main focus is to discover diverse musical gestures and structures by creating the relationships in between three entities – sounding objects themselves, the processed sound and performers, who – as architects of the sound scenes – are also influenced by the processing system itself (and vice versa) within a real time improvisation.
The live electronics environment, programmed in Max/MSP, interacts in different ways with the performers. The acoustic sound is captured by a number of microphones and sensors, and processed through a set of algorithms. The audio input is analysed in order to extract some perceptually-relevant features (e.g. onsets, spectral flux, centroid…). These parameters are then mapped in the processing logic, triggering/activating different processes/manipulations, according to the kind of sonic material. The system implements also some stochastic behaviour, resulting in unexpected responses to the performers’ sonic gestures. This behaviour challenges the improviser and contributes to a kind of dialectic confrontation between the human performers and the machine.
Video excerpt of a live performance, recorded at iii, Den Haag, 2019: https://vimeo.com/367606617
Yannis Patoukas (master’s degree 2019)
How can we approach electroacoustic-music composition from the perspective of experimental rock production? What elements can we extract by studying experimental studio practices used in rock music and how can they be used to compose new music? How can “studio improvisation” or “studio as instrument” approaches be explored further?
My recent research involves the exploration of different historical, technological and aesthetic crossovers between electroacoustic music and experimental rock music of the late 1960s and early 1970s, focusing mostly on production and compositional techniques. Being fascinated by several experimental studio practices and production techniques used during that period, my compositional work is heavily influenced by the early experiments in the field of pop, rock and jazz music where the recording studio started to be approached as a tool for composition rather than just for documentation purposes.
When inside a recording studio, I usually follow a more improvisational workflow; welcoming mistakes, trusting random or open processes and always making the most of the physicality of any analogue device in the vicinity. I approach the tape machine or the mixing desk in the same way as I approach an electric guitar; as a fully functional musical instrument.
*Manoeuvre: a movement performed with care and skill