music from music from music

Something very interesting happened recently.

A while back I released a scene for RjDj called Ascend. It creates melodies by detecting sharp attack sounds in the environment and choosing melodies from a predefined set of possibilities based on the dynamics of the sounds. At the point of onset detection, it also samples the environment and dynamically adjusts a delay line to induce the sensation of ascending.

The scene has been downloaded 229 times so far. Not so many – but not bad considering its had zero marketing. The only place I have even described it is on this blog. Its sold at $1.99 each time – which is pretty high compared to an mp3 – but of course with reactive music the listener / user gets a unique experience every time.

Between 5 and 6 pm on Saturday 23rd of October, somewhere between Mauchline and Ayr, Scotland – a car crash happened. It involved the artist Chris Dooks. Thankfully Chris was ok.

During his recovery, Chris made a number of recordings using RjDj scenes. One of the recordings featured the Ascend scene. Another featured Mike Dixon‘s ( of MAKE magazine ) Noble Choir scene. Chris took these recordings, did some editing and adjustments, and incorporated them into a new work called the Elephant EP. He is now selling that work on Bandcamp for £1 or more to raise money for his physio treatment following the accident. He has graciously and clearly credited both scenes.

The interesting thing for me here is how Chris has used the RjDj scenes. How they should be interpreted in terms of the roles of the artists involved and if money should be made from the derivative works is fascinating. In some ways its just like sampling ‘normal’ music, but in other ways its very different as this distributed form is also ‘playable’ by the user.

For me it was great to be contacted by Chris and I was happy that he could use the work he created to make money which would be helpful for him in this particular situation.

It’s really got me thinking about the things I would like to enable with music. The fact that the scene as a distributed form of music, became a sort of meta-instrument for Chris was really great. What if that could happen at a gig ?

More on these thoughts as they develop and turn into real musical stuff :) In the meantime – here is the place you can get the Elephant EP


2 thoughts on “music from music from music

  1. Thanks for mentioning this. It does indeed raise questions of “authorship” and collaboration. I think a lot of musicians who don’t like programming will use other scenes in this way – or perhaps there will be more hook ups between the two – most programmers are also musicians or hybrids or offspring I guess anyway. I’m thankful you gave me permission. I’ve released ever release I have ever made on the bandcamp site now for your perusal. I also think there’s a gap in the market for more scenes that are explicitly designed for composition and licensed to do so from the word go. What do you think? Chris x

  2. Hey Chris,

    Yes I think it is a very interesting gap in the market, or creative space for composers / musicians / programmers. I hope to explore it much further in the future!

    Look forward to checking out your Bandcamp :)


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