• Perspectives on musical time and human/machine agency in the development of performance systems for live electronic music.

      Vandemast-Bell, Paul; Ferguson, John; University of Derby; Griffith University (08/09/2017)
      This paper investigates the exploration of musical time in Live Electronic Music and discusses the authors’ novel, technological systems that embrace experimental processes and discovery. Prevalent theories of creativity are investigated, as well as tools and techniques that can be utilised to provoke unanticipated, but satisfying outcomes. The exploratory use of digital tools and chance operations is considered alongside more determinate predictable processes. While musical metre in commercial music production often revolves around metronomic timing, and the industry-standard quantization grid can often steer producers towards chronometric precision, this is at odds with expressive human timing. By standardizing the way in which we perceive musical time, much commercial software fails to recognise the full worth of musical metre and misses opportunities to explore alternative modes of rhythm and groove. However, some software does include a capacity to move beyond quantization grid restrictions and delve into an exciting world of complex timing, and graphical programing/generative music can also offer exciting possibilities. This paper reflects on a number of practical experiments and new works that foreground rhythmical complexity. Some familiar historical examples are also contextualised alongside relevant contemporary artists. The authors foreground their own practices; Ferguson draws from recent work including ‘Drum Thing’, which celebrates the automation of percussion objects using computer-controlled solenoids, with software written in Pure data this project explores various approaches to randomisation with an Euclidean rhythm generator, where the greatest common divisor of two numbers is used rhythmically to drive beats and silences. Ferguson also discusses his work with ‘Circles’, where semi-random/quasi-intelligent sequencing and the creative negotiation of imagined agency is the main agenda. Vandemast-Bell’s work draws on contemporary Techno music in which he explores techniques not unlike those pioneered by Steve Reich and later developed by Brian Eno in their experiments with phase. He uses original electronic source material that is presented then deconstructed and improvisationally reimagined in real-time, to create synchronous / asynchronous rhythms and textures. Dynamic audio looping plays a central role in his performances and is invoked through Native Kontrol’s MIDI Remote Scripts for Ableton Live that extends Live’s looping potential. He uses a custom Ableton Push controller mapping to interact with the electronic material, which is evolved through the use of audio effects and dynamic processors. The overall agenda is to elucidate the role of human/technological agency. The authors reflect upon and compare/contrast their individual practices, from initial concept through creative process to final realization. Further to these individual perspectives, they collaboratively develop and discuss new musical materials and algorithmic processes using Pure data, these patches will be published with the paper, the overall goal being to encapsulate their collaborative perspective on the generation of complex rhythmical material in Live Electronic Music.
    • Radio 2.0: How Facebook is enhancing audience participation for Irish radio audiences.

      McMahon, Daithi; University of Limerick (Academic Conferences and Publishing International, 2014-07)
      As a traditional mass medium radio is proving its flexibility and resilience in an ever more digitalised mediascape by increasing its presence on one of the fastest growing digital platforms, Facebook. With the radio industry in Ireland as a case study, this project examines the use of Facebook by radio producers and their audiences as a medium for deeper interaction and explores the functions this contact serves for the audience member, for the radio producer, and for society as a whole. Based on recent findings, this doctoral research argues that radio producers are increasingly engaging with their audiences through Facebook for commercial reasons, in an effort to build audience loyalty and grow their audience share in a highly competitive industry. Radio audiences are following their favourite radio programmes on Facebook in growing numbers seeking an enhanced media experience and opportunities to exercise their agency as active audiences and participate in the on-air and online conversations. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that public spheres and virtual communities are created on radio station Facebook pages and that some users build social capital between one another through extended interaction. The convergence of radio with Facebook is thus allowing an old medium to remain competitive at a time when digital media is threatening the traditional mass media.The methodology involves both qualitative and quantitative research methods including interviews with radio producers and audience members combined with a survey of the latter, textual analysis of radio station Facebook pages and a longitudinal content analysis of Facebook interactivity across the Irish radio industry. The project is nearing completion and therefore this paper will present the main findings that demonstrate the capacity of radio as a medium to engage with and profit from the introduction of new digital technologies, particularly Facebook.