Interrogating Composition in the Age of Remix: the role of format in musical composition

Anastasios Sarakatsanos

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis is concerned with composing audiovisual mashup pieces that involve filmed music performance and remix practices. I present here a number of audiovisual mashups I composed by separately filming and recording clips that were produced in other contexts and by later subsuming them into a new compositional form. These pieces, produced between 2011 and 2016, range from music clip inserts and music videos featured in television programmes, to urban development documentaries and self-commissioned projects. Focusing on hybrid audiovisual art-forms closely related to music videos, I examine the work of contemporary audiovisual artists, Ophir Kutiel (‘Kutiman’), Jack Conte (‘Pomplamoose’) and Mark Johnson (‘Playing for Change’), focusing on projects produced between 2008 and 2014, in relation to their composition techniques and methods of production and distribution. My research has included an examination of the way that music functions in this particular audiovisual context. As well as presenting my portfolio of compositions, I also perform a close textual analysis of certain specific samples from the portfolio, identifying the methods and techniques I adopted and adapted from the aforementioned artists and reflecting on their use and effects in my own compositions.
Over the last decade, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of music artists who include video in their work and make it available through online streaming of their music, especially on audiovisual platforms such as YouTube. This development has occurred in association with the introduction of new audio and video technology and within the context of remix and internet culture. I view this visually focused direction in music making as an artistic attempt to re-instate the visual relationship between music performance and audience, a relationship included in the music experience by default before the 1900’s and the advent of recording. Using Jacques Attali’s model of music networks and expanding on his ideas through Eduardo Navas’ Remix Theory, I examine the inter-relation of repetition and representation in current music production. By adding the visual element in my own music compositions I am not suggesting that live music performance can be replaced by recorded performance, as each functions within a different music network, but attempting to create a more ‘effective’ music experience, which works both as simulacrum for live music performance and as spectacle for recorded music.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
Award date29 Jun 2016
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016

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