Machine's Song

Stillman, R. (2011) Machine's Song. [Audio]

Machine's song evidence of diss.pdf

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Machine’s Song is a sound recording that explores the notion of autonomous musical creation. The album uses a ‘one-man band’ of piano and foot-operated percussion as the basis for large-scale, layered studio productions that incorporate a wide variety of overdubbed instrumental recordings. The project seeks to foreground the way in which the ‘ensemble of one’, whether performed as one-man band, or constructed through multi-track recording, can create a uniquely focused expression of musical identity.

The music of Machine’s Song explores characteristics that arise when one creative will controls multiple musical forces, including elasticity of tempo, coordination of rhythmic nuance, and close synchronization of expression and dynamics. In these recordings, as in one-man band performance, these aspects of interpretation, mapped across multiple instruments, are inscribed as integrated aspects of the composition.

To expose the composite nature of the multi-track process, each piece on Machine’s Song is presented in two versions: the ‘Song’, which uses overdub recordings to create a narrative composition, and the ‘Collage’, which fractures the same multi-track material into an abstract deconstruction of the composition, highlighting the studio’s compositional capacity to repurpose the same sonic material twice, with strikingly different results.

The production utilizes a process of tracking directly to a cassette four-track recorder, and manually re-synching digital conversions of this audio in a software sequencer. This method seeks to engage more directly with the process of overdub-based composition. The subtle desynchronization that results from this approach functions to expose a studio process that is traditionally made transparent. The ‘lo-fi’ tape-hiss of the tape recordings seeks to underscore the materiality of the recorded form, and, when juxtaposed with more contemporary digital textures, disrupts the listener’s ability to sonically ‘date’ the work.

Machine’s Song’s sleeve design is based upon a letterpress-printed, limited edition release of the CD, featuring text and imagery contextualizing the project.

Item Type: Audio
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music > M0005 Instrumental music
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Mr Robert Stillman
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2016 11:20
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2016 11:20

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00