I have decided to make my thesis available for download and reading through this blog. I put a lot of work and thought into the writing of this paper, and it sums up a lot of what I have been concerning myself with musically over the past two years. I would like to thank Moldover and Nonagon for their time, and willingness to discuss music with me. The conversations I had with these two musicians was very helpful in helping me formulate some of my ideas. I would also like to thank John Bischoff, Chris Brown, and the entire music faculty at Mills College for making my two years of study there extremely inspiring, and creatively freeing.
If you are in the mood to read some 38 odd pages of musical nerdery, here is a link to download the pdf: Computer Performance: The Continuum of Time and the Art of Compromise
Although a lot of it may only be of interest to the musically or technologically inclines, I think it provides some perspective on what exactly electronic musicians are doing (or not doing as the case may be) when we are performing on stage. There has been a lot made of the lack of skill that is exhibited by modern, popular DJ’s recently. Most notably by Deadmau5 (you can read his thoughts here), although his delivery leaves a bit to be desired I think that he makes some very valid points about the nature of performing electronic music. I am not in any way comparing myself to these DJ’s, as I have never dJ’ed in my life, nor do I plan to. I do think that there needs to be given some attention to performance by electronic musicians. The music is becoming part of the mainstream, but at the same time, the importance of a “performance” is being lost. There is a lack of creativity, originality, technicality, and above all musicality. I doubt that these things are as important to some of these people as they are to me, but I when I see someone onstage selling their actions as musically important, they should be important.
But then again, does the audience even care? Probably not. They are there for a good time. They are there to dance to their favorite songs. They are there to experience music, produced by a soundsystem that does it justice, along with hundreds of other people all wanting to experience the same thing. I think that is completely valid. I love a good loud, electronic dance party as much as the next guy. They aren’t there to take in a virtuosic show of mastery over an instrument that they don’t understand. But I am. And I would try my damndest to understand that instrument by the end of the show.
In any event, I cover a lot of ground in the writing and would love to hear any comments/thoughts that come up while reading it.
P.S. Here’s a video of the performance component of my Thesis, where I try to put my money where my mouth is.