EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

Site Specific Live Electronic Music: A Sound-Artist’s Perspective

Marinos Koutsomichalis

Marinos Koutsomichalis, Music Research Centre, University of York, Heslington, North Yorkshire, YO10 5DD, UK


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Abstract What makes live music aesthetically intriguing or meaningful? How can live music be essentially site-specific and in what ways a work can manifest itself in a particular space? In turn, why would this be of any interest to an audience? To what extent is improvisation still meaningful? Should a work remain live at any cost? What is communicated in a performance and why would it be of any interest? Does a performance necessarily aim to some sort of expression?

Such are the questions the author attempts to answer via his artistic output. This paper describes the main goals of this practice, and identifies the key elements that make a work substantially live, site-specific and (hopefully) aesthetically intriguing. It is further shown how this practice originates from a profoundly-rooted exploratory attitude to form a unique aesthetic ethos. It is of paramount concern for the author to address the technical challenges that a live electronic music paradigm poses while remaining faithful to his aspirations.

Aesthetically speaking, the author describes his general strategy in terms of three interrelating concepts: ‘Ekstasis’ (to bring someone out of their usual way of being), ‘Gelassenheit’ (the state where sound is found unequivocal and mysterious – its phenomenological quintessence), and ‘Psychagogia’ (to enact a shift in one’s state of being). Various techniques allow the artistic output to be consistent with the aforementioned concepts, and selected examples are described.

EMS11 Proceedings