Matt Wakefield > Orientation106 // Steim time

mattMy name is Matt Wakefield, I am currently a music composition student studying at Falmouth University, I have been playing bass, and electric guitar in an improvisational jam project since I was around 16years old with a group of musicians I knew well, well enough to understand each others sound, this stopped when I began university. I have always to be obsessed with the idea of having no theoretical knowledge and purely working from ear within a communicative environment.

In recent times I have become fascinated with the development of compositional methods using electronic/sonic resources and theorising as tools, mainly as a way to improve my communication with other musicians on a practical level. I have been using the ableton sequencer over the last year or so and its approach has opened many doors for me. Also I have just completed a short introductory course in MaxMSP at Goldsmiths (University of London), which has given me a taste of how many possibilities a musician has to communicate with the computer in more interesting ways than just using it as a sequencer.. I still regard bouncing off others as the most important of all writing process’s which is a philosophy I will never let go of.
When I first started using a sequencer I saw it as the perfect opportunity to jam when no-one is around, and has consumed most of my time for the last 3 years. It has now got to a point where I want to start joining the freedom and organic subtleties you can get when using an acoustic instrument, also the most prominent occurrence of spontaneity when improvising with other musicians, and combining this with my understanding of electronic music. There has been a clear division in my experience of both of these things to date, I came to Steim in an attempt to begin rendering this issue.
In my brief introduction to Steim today I am beginning to realise there is a strong emphasis on communication here, to almost personify computer based software and hardware making it less rigid to work with, hense allowing more freedom to put emphasis on my own desired sounds. This is exactly what I need to infuse into my live set up, and what I have come here to get inspiration for.

Uni work – Something that I have been working towards in a university project (C.E.P) is to input data into the computer which would reference some of the progressions that occur a lot in my compositions and trigger predictions in relation to what I am playing, making live improvisation a bit easier. Although I wanted improvisation to be present in performance, I really wanted the emphisis to be on live composition. I wanted to use a certain amount of algorithmic aspects to achieve this, but limit them so things didn’t get too crazy! However my direction has changed quite a lot now, a lot of questions have risen to the surface that are beginning to make me think there is something wrong with the way I have been approaching a more comfortable live set-up . In the lectures we had today, the more i listened the more I began to realise that it’s perfectly reasonable for me to want to take some pressure off in live performance. However the focus should definitely be making the computer more playable for me as a musician, rather than just pressing playing and trying to look busy! After spending days/weeks working on a track it seems a waste not to take more time in focusing on performance.

Ideas are flowing uncontrollably at the moment! I’m loving my time here so far, and look forward to solidifying my ideas as this orientation workshop continues.


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