Hello and welcome!

This blog bundles some documentation and personal reflections regarding a two-year research project called ‘artificial extensions of acoustics in music practice‘ at AP Hogeschool Antwerp, conducted by Vitja Pauwels, Hendrik Lasure and Casper Van De Velde (2018-2019).

We wanted to explore the richness of our instruments in terms of timbre, time and form, regardless of any means and in interaction with each other. This resulted in the use and development of different hardware and software tools that seemed interesting to us, to build setups with which we like to improvise together. Since there is an endless amount of possibilities within the field of real-time audio manipulation, one would need several lifetimes to complete this work, not to mention the technological improvement that is ahead of us. Hence, this blog is doomed to be far from complete.

However there seems to be a lack of a deep (old) tradition in this kind of music making and in educating this music. For instance, everybody who’s working with audio software has a different approach and know-how, which is mainly experience-based. Therefore we thought it could be helpful to share our personal experience and to open up our process, so everybody who is interested can have insight in what tools we developed, how we developed them and why.

“What are we looking for and what music do we intend to create?”

These questions seem obvious but were crucial throughout the whole process. We didn’t put the music forward as a premise, but rather evaluated our output to our taste. These answers made us choose paths and offer aesthetic consequences. For instance: we never used a clock (click-track) or any quantized matter because we didn’t intend to make music on a tempo grid, resulting in a more free approach to time-related manipulations. This can also be seen as a side effect of the use of live sampling devices that we started developing, giving rise to a sound pallet that seems to originate from multiple ensembles playing together.

A big part of the process consisted of making music together and reflection upon that. We called the ensemble ‘leap/detach’ and considered this the playground of the project. In this blog we will often refer to the ensemble for practical examples. There is also a tab called ‘ensemble & aesthetics’ in which we discuss some consequences of our extended instruments to the music and our decision making when performing together.

Note to self: Anything that has not worked out for us can work for other people (or in other contexts). Experience is valuable but does not necessarily include an aspect of truth.