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Playing with Something That RunsTechnology, Improvisation, and Composition in DJ and Laptop Performance$
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Mark J. Butler

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195393613

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393613.001.0001

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Looking for the Perfect Loop

Looking for the Perfect Loop

Musical Technologies of Mediated Improvisation

(p.172) (p.173) 4 Looking for the Perfect Loop
Playing with Something That Runs

Mark J. Butler

Oxford University Press

This chapter theorizes musical “technologies,” a term that refers to principles of design affording the kinds of creative actions that characterize improvised performance in EDM. Musical technologies, it is argued, are crucial to the coming unfixed of recordings within a live event. Seven technologies are presented: repeating, cycling, going, grooving, riding, transitioning, and flowing. Of these, repeating receives the most extended treatment. The chapter develops a positive account of repetition as both dynamic and intrinsically temporal. Other themes that emerge include in-time attending; cyclical teleology; groove theory; the continuous, indefinite flow of sound in EDM; and conceptualizations of performance as technologized process. The musical technologies described are shown to facilitate the improvisational interventions that transform recorded sound into dynamic performance.

Keywords:   musical technologies, repetition, cycle, groove, flow, teleology

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