An Aesthetic of Restriction - Poetics of Contemporary Electronic Music Production

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


In March 2018, the album Nightports w/ Matthew Bourne will be released on The Leaf Label. This music is a collaboration between co-producers Mark Slater and Adam Martin (working under the Nightports title) and pianist Matthew Bourne. Nightports is bound by a fundamental aesthetic of restriction: only sounds produced by the featured musician can be used – nothing else – though these can be transformed, distorted, translated, reworked, stretched, cut, ordered and reordered without limitation. The resulting music is a hybrid of the specific characteristics of the musician’s playing plus the interventions of the producers. Such an aesthetic is nothing new (Stravinsky talked about it in his Poetics of Music; Oval did it by assembling a library of thousands of tiny sonic fragments; Matthew Herbert encodes it in his ‘Personal Contract for the Composition of Music’), but the appropriation of a stringent set of rulesis poignant in the context of an information- and technology-rich society where choice paralysis and/or homogeneity can easily undermine the creative potential of these tools. The digitisation of technology has brought changes to music production practices that have delivered a new compositional palette, a new sense of space and place, and a reexamination of the relationship between humans and machines (Brøvig-Hanssen and Danielsen 2016). The Nightports w/ Matthew Bourne case study will be used to explore the contemporary landscape of technologically-mediated production practices including both an appraisal of the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of the project and practical examples to show how these are made manifest.
Period3 Sep 2018
Event titleCrosstown Traffic: Popular Music Theory and Practice
Event typeConference
LocationHuddersfield, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational