2020 has well and truly untethered itself from the lethargy of the Christmas break, but before announcing future plans, a re-cap of 2019 is in order.
My book, Tele-improvisation: Intercultural Interaction in the Online Global Music Jam Session published last year, has continued to develop an expanding audience of interdisciplinary practitioners and researchers interested in understanding the nuances of displaced creative interaction.
I’m also really excited about the number of citations I’m receiving from authors referencing ideas from various chapters. It continues what I felt was a great reception to the ideas in the book from students and researchers I met during my author talks in Europe, March / April 2019. Many were experts in fields such as HCI, musical human interaction, interaction design, musicology, ethnomusicology, and educationalists. There were many light bulb moments in the audience’s questions and responses, particularly to the pedagogical necessity of networked music-making in tertiary music courses.
This perspective is one that I explore in a chapter for a new publication, Musical practices, and virtual spaces, edited by Busch, T., Moormann, P. & Zielinski, W. for the publisher Kopaed: Munich. In this new chapter (currently in process), I outline a case study of networked music-making between degree students at the University of Technology, Sydney. (UTS), and Western Australian Academy of Performing arts (WAAPA), Edith Cowan University, Perth. It relates to the development of curriculum I pursued while I convened the subject, Contemporary Music 1, on the Sound and Music Design program, UTS 2010-2013. I feel strongly, that the deficit of networked music-making in Australian tertiary music courses is a real disservice to students, given the profession of music, will, in part, be a networked, global industry, in which musicians collaborate online with directors and editors in the US, UK, Europe and beyond. It is crucial that music students are provided with the requisite technical and experiential knowledge of remote, online interaction to fully prepare them for a future in which they will be required to interact and collaborate across international borders, times zones and cultures.
Rant over, one of the aspects of finally publishing my book was that I could once again focus on performing and creating music again, most of which was taken up in recording sessions, and editing the Ethernet Orchestra album Oceans between Sound. The album has finally been mastered; thanks to the talents of my co-producer Chris Vine, and we have handed it over to the Chilean netlabel Pueblo Nuevo, who is currently finalising the download page and links for a March release.
Thanks to Caroline Meyers for the sleeve design and artist Patsy Farrar for doing such fantastic artwork, which was inspired by painting and drawing directly to the music. Check out Patsy’s long-form design ideas as seen in the clip below.
Patsy has also suggested a novel collaboration in which she paints live to our improvisations, which is seen by online audiences. We think this is a great idea, so watch this space for future live tele-improvisatory music and painting! More about Patsy’s art and thinking can be found in her blog here.
Listen to an excerpt from the album below.
The launch of Oceans between Sound will run in parallel to a special performance we are doing with visiting artist, academic and Ethernet Orchestra keyboard player, Holger Deuter. The performance, Aquatic Movements will be staged at the UTS Data Arena on March 5th and will feature guitarist, Chris Vine, performing from his home in Londrina, Brazil with myself and Holger in the Data Arena.
I originally composed the sound design for the premiere of the work last year, but in this rendition, Ethernet Orchestra will perform a live score. The performance will also include an excerpt from our previous work Homage to Wassily Kandinsky as part of the Bauhaus anniversary last year. This event will also coincide with an author talk I am doing at the University of New South Wales, 4-5:30pm Tuesday, March 3rd, which will be the first on home turf. It will be chaired by Dr. Adam Hulbert and I’m hoping for some lively discussion.
While we have been keeping this under wraps, we will also launch a new collaboration with Thomas Park, a sound artist exploring generative music and sound. In this piece, Thomas has built an engine that randomly selects audio segments from our album Oceans between Sound and re-forms them into an ongoing generative soundscape that accompanies a video of the oceans and waterways from which the track titles take their names.
The generative mix engine can be set as a default browser page so that it acts as a screen saver, providing endless permutations of the album and relaxing images of water and scenery! It will go live in the second-week of March, so again, watch this space for the launch of this extraordinary project!
Finally, I am pleased to announce that I have become the project lead for a community music research project called Net Diasporas. The project is a collaboration with IHOM (Iranian House of Music), Sydney that enables Persian migrant musicians in interstate, urban and regional areas to collaborate and perform together online. Using SoundJack (Internet audio technology), the project aims to provide opportunities for geographically dispersed musicians and audiences to reconnect with and develop social and cultural practices through sustainable online musical collaborations and real-world performances. The project seeks to understand the ways in which Internet music performance can provide new avenues of cultural expression to diasporic musicians and audiences and how the network may shape the development of culture-specific musical repertoires online.