Polyphonic Me Module Task 5 – Evaluation

Performance evaluation: Approx 300 words

You will need to write an evaluation and description of your performance work:

  • Describe the work in terms of concept, genre and artistic references.
  • What was the approach to performance – list the equipment you used and any techniques for the production.
  • Evaluate the outcome and how it could develop further.

Place this text on your Process Folio (Make sure it is tagged/categorised).

The main idea that Rachel (rachelirwinmusic.tumblr.com) and I used to build the  performance presented for this module was to craft a rhythmically and texturally interesting track, layer by layer, then use that as a base for a more melodic ‘solo’ part. To be totally honest I think we met our brief pretty well and I’m incredibly pleased with the end result, especially considering we procrastinated for most of this term and admittedly left most of the preparations for this assessment till the last minute.

Rachel Irwin, Polyphonic Me Assessment 002

I’ve found it difficult to engage with the subjects presented in this module, perhaps due to a close-minded view of my path as a musician or for a general dismissive attitude towards electronic performance tools. Whatever it was, I was wrong. Figuring out how to use Ableton and giving this performance is one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had as a musician. I regret not throwing myself into this module earlier on because there is so much more I could have implemented into this final performance.

Rachel & Dylan Performing

On a technical level our setup was pretty basic:

  1. Two MIDI controllers – A Behringer FCB1010 Foot Controller to control my record arms, record functions and the starting and stopping of the overall track and an Akai APC 25 Key MIDI keyboard for Rachel to record her keyboard parts, control the record arm and record functions of her audio channels and the switching off of each track.
  2. One Microphone – For Rachel to sing a simple vocal melody to round out the track.
  3. One Guitar Amp – A Fender Mustang IV with a line in to Ableton Live for recording guitar parts.
  4. One Guitar – A Fender 50’s Reissue Telecaster for recording guitar parts.
  5. One iMac – For the running of Ableton Live.
Dylan Evans Polyphonic Me Assessment 002

From watching the video of our performance I’ve picked out a few things that could be developed a little further. On a general level the track itself is a relatively good concept, but it needs more. We could benefit from adding different sections and creating differentiations in drum beats, chord structure and texture (create space and sparsity/closeness and density). From the performance perspective, changes in how we carried ourselves on ‘stage’ could be made. Though we were new to using Ableton, particularly in a live setting, we were also fairly confidant in our setup and what we were playing so we could have made the performance more interesting by acting more animated, engaging with the audience and spending less time staring at the iMac screen.

Rachel & Dylan Performing

Aside from the changes suggested above I feel that the performance and the track itself were to a decent standard and considering the relative newness and unfamiliarity both Rachel and I had with Ableton, was realised in a way that best showcased our ability to adapt to a totally new style of performance. As of right now, having completed this module, I’m happy with our work.


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