Article: Breaking Boundaries of Role and Hierarchy in Collaborative Music-Making

Published in March 2017 in a Contemporary Music Review special issue “Collaboration in Contemporary Music”

Abstract: This paper explores the collaborative relationship between Jess Aslan and Emma Lloyd in the context of two projects: a set of three pieces for violin and computer and an electro-instrumental duo album under the band name KUBOV. Beginning with discrete roles as composer and performer, our working relationship progressed naturally into one of equal authorship, and equal performative contribution. In exploring this creative relationship, we will examine the effects of working primarily with sound, over notation. We look at how building and extending our instruments affected the hybridity of our sound and contributed to the development of our musical language. We will analyse the importance of improvisation to our development as a duo, in the generation of ideas and the discovery of new sounds and potential in our instruments. This allowed us to retain a certain freedom when we returned to a loosely composed format to record our album. Over the course of this paper, we will examine the terms of our collaboration, with reference to other relevant work. We contextualise this collaboration with theoretical analysis and we reflect on the practicalities of our joint musical development and the growth of our musical partnership. The initial classically informed hierarchy of the composer/performer duo dissolved as we each took on a balanced creative and performative role.


PhD Thesis: “A practical Examination of Computer Presence in Electro-instrumental Music”

Completed in July 2017, viva assessed by Prof Peter Nelson and Prof Simon Emmerson.

Abstract: This thesis explores the following questions: What is the influence of algorithmic software on the composition process? How can spectromorphologies be manipulated in search of coherent and lucid coupling in electro-instrumental (emph{EI}) music? What are the practical implications of the performance of EI music?

This thesis will unfold practicalities, creative approaches, and new directions for the practice of EI music, drawing together spectromorphological theory and instrumental techniques. Framed around a body of work for solo instrument/ensemble with computer, I will assess each aspect of my musical process. Musical vocabularies, grammatical organisation and collaborative performance practices will be discussed.

Specifically, my research breaks down components of composition into context, materials and an attempt towards categorisation and grammatical organisation including spectral and algorithmic techniques. With the knowledge that the computer has influence on the music making process, I identify and discuss some of its key contributions. Additionally, knowing that the tools and spaces that facilitate performance also impact the music, I seek to understand how these tools and environments contribute in order to get the best musical responses from them. Collaboration is a key theme, and throughout the thesis I pay attention to performer presence in the music making process. This thesis should be read in conjunction with my submitted portfolio for relevant case studies and musical examples.

Please email at for a copy.

Article: From Input to Output: Harnessing Hardware in Mixed Performance

Paper presented at CIM conference, 2014.

Abstract:At the core of this paper is the notion of hardware as compositional material and sound engineer as performer, specifically in the practice of electro-instrumental (mixed) performance. The key issues that I aim to examine are the practical matters surrounding the performance of mixed music, which information is best communicated prior to performance and how this can be done. I explore the impact of hardware and venue architecture on performance and remark on some existing communication issues regarding musical intention. I then present various case study documents, addressing some of the points that I have examined

Article: Degrees of Interpretation in Computer Aided Algorithmic Composition

Paper presented at International Computer Music Conference, Athens 2014.

Abstract: In 2012 Michael Edwards introduced his open-source com- position system, Slippery Chicken (sc). Since then I have been working with the software, experimenting with the possibilities and limits of its output and identifying its con- stants and mutations. In this paper I will analyse some of the different compositional methodologies that sc offers, tracing its digital fingerprint and examining its persistent presence through degrees of composer and performer in- terpretation. I will include a discussion of the broad spec- trum of opportunities for the parallel generation of ideas and maintenance of each user’s compositional voice, not only through choice of input material but flexibility of out- put formats from the software.

Masters thesis: The Augmented Piano

Masters thesis submitted 2010. An examination of my final submission, The Augmented Piano.

Abstract: The Augmented Piano is a work for solo piano and live electronics. By exploring the implicit feedback of electroacoustic instruments and extended piano technique during composition,the author approached different forms of interaction between acoustic and digital media. Of import to the work is the practice of electroacoustic performance and its current concerns,which required a brief interrogation of audience expectations and the aesthetics of laptop performance. Also,being largely improvisational,The Augmented Pianonecessitates a critical engagement with the nature of spontaneous music,particularly in digital music,in order to successfully advise it. Whilst offering a detailed analysis into the form and materials ofThe Augmented Pianothis paper addresses each of these concerns in context of the work.

Research project: Designing Digital Interfaces to facilitate Music Workshops

Research project based at STEIM, Amsterdam

Abstract: In 2011 I was very lucky to receive an award from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to pursue research surrounding electronic music instruments to support workshops for individuals with additional needs. I carried out this research at STEIM, Amsterdam and brought back new instruments and workshops based around electronic music making.

Following this computers and electronics became fully integrated into the music centre, and we ran an Electronic Music Month, where we devoted an entire month to electronic music pursuits.

This project was kindly supported by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

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