Competition – Win one year’s free membership to Music Hackspace

Dom Aversano

We are giving away a year’s free membership – to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this page about at least one composer or musician who has greatly influenced your approach to computer music.

We want to know two things.

  1. How has their music affected or influenced you?

  2. An example of a piece of their music you like, and a short description of why.

Anyone who completes the above will be entered into the competition on an equal basis (you are welcome to list more than one person, but this will not improve your chances of winning) with the winner assigned at random and announced on Saturday 4th of November via the Music Hackspace newsletter.

To get the ball rolling, I will provide two examples.

Kaija Saariaho / Vers le blanc

I arrived somewhat late to Kaija Saariaho’s music, attending my first live performance of her music two years prior to her death this year, yet despite this, her music has greatly influenced me in the short time I have known it.

Although I have not heard the piece in full (since it has never been released) the simple 1982 electronic composition by Saariaho, Vers le blanc, captured my imagination.

The composition is a 15-minute glissando from one tone cluster (ABC) to another (DEF). Saariaho used electronic voices to produce this. The composition raises questions about what is perceptible. For instance, can the change in pitch be heard from moment to moment? Can it be sensed over longer time periods?

The piece made me question what can be considered music. Are they notes if they never fix on a pitch? can such a simple process over 15 minutes be artistically enjoyable to listen to? what would be the ideal circumstance to listen to such music? I experienced this music partly as an artistic object of study and meditation and partly as a philosophical provocation. 

Burial / Come Down to Us

Burial’s idiosyncratic approach to technology gives rise to a unique sound. He famously stated in a 2006 interview that he used Soundforge to create his music, without the use of any multitrack sequencing or quantisation. This stripped-down use of technology gives the music an emotional directness and a more human feel.

I find his track Come Down to Us particularly inspiring. At 13 minutes long it uses a two-part binary form for the structure. The composition uses audio samples from a transgender person, and it was only after a few years of listening that it occurred to me that the form might describe the subject. At 7 minutes the entire mood and sound of the track changes from apprehensive to triumphant, potentially describing a person undergoing — or having undergone — a psychological or physical transition. Released in 2013, this was long before the divisive culture wars and undoubtedly intended simply as an artistic exploration. 

Leave your comment below to enter the competition. Please refer to the guidelines above. The winner will be announced on Saturday 4th of November via the Music Hackspace newsletter. 

5 2 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

22 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jean-Baptiste Thiebaut
Admin
6 months ago

For me, it was “De Natura Sonorum”, an electroacoustic piece by Bernard Parmegiani that I heard in a concert at Radio France in 2003. It was composed in 1975 with tape recorders. I loved its minimalist approach and radical articulations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_JHjUFfOs8

Dom Aversano
Dom Aversano
Reply to  Jean-Baptiste Thiebaut
6 months ago

Beautiful composition JB! Thanks for the recommendation.

HighHarmonics
HighHarmonics
6 months ago

Morton Subotnick is a pioneer in so many ways. I love his use of layered textures with contrasting synthesis sources. He often has 3 or 4 things going on at once but you can hear them all clearly. He inspires me to keep experimenting with combining different material, to explore patterns and pulsation in contrasting layers. And the fact that he keeps creating!

I love his work from the late ’60s and 70s. Silver Apples of the Moon (obviously!), but also Sidewinder, Until Spring, Four Butterflies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfd4Vr6w78o

Dom Aversano
Dom Aversano
Reply to  HighHarmonics
6 months ago

Great composition HighHarmonics, I’m definitely going to give it a few more listens.

Jacques Leplat
6 months ago

Time wind by Klaus Schulze. The label on the record pictured a girl who looked just like one in my year at school (970’s). Got into Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Giorgio Merroder, JM Jarre, then OMD, Heaven 17, Depeche Mode, Human League, … Got a job at Debenhams to buy a Korg Mono/Poly in the 80’s, still into it all these years later as a software developer, enjoying each new music generation since. My life, my passion.

Dom Aversano
Dom Aversano
Reply to  Jacques Leplat
6 months ago

Wonderful that your passion has lasted a lifetime! Thanks for the Klaus Schulze recommendation.

steven price
6 months ago

Mine is probably a lot different to most – its Ned Rush. I have no musical knowledge at all so creating melodies and ideas is often difficult with me either placing notes on a piano roll or attempting to play keyboards really badly. Then i chanced upon ned rush and his youtube channel and its completely changed the way i use ableton. the man is a living god.

Dom Aversano
Dom Aversano
Reply to  steven price
6 months ago

That’s a great testament to Ned. We’ll let him know!

Tim Moore
Tim Moore
6 months ago

Alessandro Cortini has influenced me both in his sound and his approach to his solo works. Listening to his music and his interviews, I’m struck by how he can make very minimal arrangements so emotionally resonant, and how the quirks and flaws of the instruments become such an essential part of the character of his music. He’s described in interviews how some of his recordings were made as improvised takes, sometimes by using a field recorder to capture the room sound of synths played through portable speakers. Listening to him talk about this process felt like it gave me “permission” (that I didn’t actually need) to let go of the idea of crafting a perfect track in a DAW and to embrace experimentation, improvisation, minimalism, and the beauty of flaws. A great example is “LO SPECCHIO” from his most recent LP. It clips, it crackles, it has a high-pitched whine playing through it, a truly wild dynamic range, bizarre EQ curve, unconventional structure—my audio analysis tools tell me it’s all “wrong”—but it’s so affecting, at least for me.

Dom Aversano
Dom Aversano
Reply to  Tim Moore
6 months ago

Hi Tim, I’m listening now. Thanks for the recommendation. It is interesting how certain artists give us permission to do something we might be holding back from. I found something similar in Burial’s approach. I’ve never been a gear collector or that interested in tweaking or meticulous production. I like the sound of Cortini’s track and can hear in it what you are describing!

Tony Morton
6 months ago

Whilst I’d originally attribute Massive Attack for sparking my interest in electronic music during the 90’s, I’d have to say that DJ Shadow was the person who truly inspired me to start making electronic music. I didn’t come from a very musical background so I didn’t play an instrument or understand music theory. The fact the Entroducing by DJ Shadow was entirely made from samples blew my mind. His meticulous approach in programming and combining snippets of other people’s music to create a totally unrecognisable composition was fascinating. This “collage” style of music making really resonated with me and started my journey of making music. Armed with whatever content was on the covering CD of Computer Music and Future Music magazine, my journey had begun. 20+ years later, I’m still scouring for samples to chop up and arrange.

Dom Aversano
Dom Aversano
Reply to  Tony Morton
6 months ago

Hi Tony, it’s a superb album; it’s actually the first I ever bought. I got home, listened and thought – wow, this is incredible, to think there is a massive record store full of records like this. I was disappointed to discover I’d actually chanced upon a classic that few records would ever match in terms of emotional clarity and craftpersonship!

Samuel
Samuel
6 months ago

Bon Iver – 715 CREEKS. The amount of emotion that Justin Vernon is able to convey in this song, which mostly consists of his voice manipulated by the op-1, is something I hope to achieve one day. The entire album, but this song in particular, is so inspiring because it uses strange, electronic/robotic elements but those elements work to increase the emotional/human side of the music. I love the balance that is able to be achieved and reminds me that in a world where technology is rapidy advancing and people are worried about being taken over by these tools, we could also work together with them to make something greater than could be achieved just by ourselves.

Dom Aversano
Dom Aversano
Reply to  Samuel
6 months ago

Nice composition, and as you say good use of a technology that is often used robotically and to deadening effect, but in this case brings something human and emotional out.

T A N Z
T A N Z
6 months ago

Stimming/ Tanz Für Drei

Martin Stimming is a magician. He is able to transcend you to that “happy place” we all long to stay in at times. His music has been extremely healing and has helped me get through some of my darkest days.

I think Stimming is a perfect example of a producer who pays homage to digital creativity in its most organic form. He does this by using many hand drawn sounds and then synthesising them with his favourite gadgets into blissful electronic grooves. He strives on composing live moments distracting you from the outside noise.

His new album “Elderberry” is quite different to his previous works in that it was made solely with hardware. Using hardware like GR-1, OCS-2, bluebox and his very own IMC he developed something truly experimental yet extraordinary with “Elderberry”.

The track I am most drawn to of his is “Tanz für Drei”. I think it’s the variation of the use of the piano for me. It evokes intense emotions. Whenever I hear this song, it tells a story of tragedy and hope. We all go through hardship but it won’t last forever when we believe it won’t. The direct translation of “Tanz für Drei” (German) means to ‘dance for three’.
I’ve interpreted the meaning as a call to dance through life no matter the adversity you face. To dance for those who can no longer dance. Just dance. It is when I am dancing I am most alive. I gave myself the nickname Tanz short for Tanushka when I discovered what the name of this song means.

From this really lengthy comment, I’m sure you can tell I am very passionate about Stimming’s music. : D

Dom Aversano
Dom Aversano
Reply to  T A N Z
6 months ago

Beautiful to see what a powerful effect his music has had on you. I hope he reads your comment. There’s a Spanish musicologist called Ramon Andres who wrote a book that translates literally as Philosophy and consolation of music, but it sounds better in Spanish. I interpret the means as more about the power of music to console and comfort us through adversity. It’s wonderful that Martin’s music has done that for you.

T A N Z
T A N Z
Reply to  Dom Aversano
6 months ago

Thank you for your response to my comment. I will definitely research Roman Andres ✨
Pity I don’t know Spanish but maybe I can find an audiobook in Spanish and read the actual book in English 😅

Last edited 6 months ago by T A N Z
Yoshi Kosača
6 months ago

Joshua Fried aka Radio Wonderland

How has their music affected or influenced you?
Joshua Fried uses sounds he finds from the radio and turn them into tracks. The making process is quite unique and enjoyable. He also uses shoes and a steering wheel to create music. I’ve seen him playing in real life and the style of his performance is pure fun to be part of.

An example of a piece of their music you like, and a short description of why.
SEiZE THE MEANS
Joshua is a pioneer of making non musical into musical in his own unique way.
He has a podcast where he listens to the radio and samples them real-time. It’s such an entertaining process. Also, the organic static noise comes in the radio is very soothing.

Dom Aversano
Dom Aversano
Reply to  Yoshi Kosača
6 months ago

Thanks for such a distinct recommendation. Anyone who uses shoes and a steering wheel to create music has won my respect!

James Molloy
6 months ago

Lili Boulanger / Vieille prière bouddhique

I only discovered this amazing piece in the last few years but it has informed the texture of my electronic composition and film scoring ever since.

The piece was written in 1917 but much like her other work, it anticipated minimalist aesthetics and electro-acoustic ambience by over half a century. As a young women working at a time where virtually no women composers were able to come to the fore, this is even more compelling.

I love the piece Vieille prière bouddhique because of the way it uses instrumentation, ambience and texture in subtle ways, rather than throwing everything into the pot all at once, like other more bombastic music of the early 20th century.

It also explores interesting scales, unique modes and doesn’t worry about the odd dissonance or clashing note. Overall an inspiring piece from an inspiring woman, who is only now being fully recognised.

https://jamesmolloymusic.dorik.io/

Last edited 6 months ago by Jean-Baptiste Thiebaut
22
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x