Beat-mixing Rock Music

Beat-mixing Rock Music: Rock and Electronic Dance Music merge to create the Manarays.

The Music

A submission presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Queensland Institute of Technology for the Master of Arts degree Music and Sound Discipline Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia 2012.

“I know my music—both Rock and Dance—and I have not heard anything of this kind.” (DJ Tim Whiteman, personal communication, January 13, 2012)

Abstract

Rock music has generally employed a static pop music song structure. Electronic Dance Music (EDM) on the other hand through beat-mixing has created an extended structure. The purpose of this research is to explore the proposition that EDM’s beat-mixing function can be implemented to create immediacy in Rock music. The term used in this thesis to refer to the application of beat-mixing in Rock music is ‘ClubRock’. Through collaboration between a number of DJs and Rock music professionals the research applied the process of beat-mixing to blend Rock tracks to produce a continuous ClubRock set. The outcome is the album the Manarays—Get Lucky. DJ techniques created immediacy in the recordings and transformed static renditions into a fluid creative work. The following research questions provided the means of investigation and the opportunity to validate the effectiveness of the album: How can Rock music implement EDM’s structural fluidity to create an album in the form of a DJ set? How do Rock audiences read the ClubRock set as a Rock album? The inclusion of rhythmic sections at the beginning and end of each song created a ‘DJ friendly’ environment to beat-mix the album. Song structure changed as a result of beatmixing the album and this divergent structure included the addition of the EDM breakdown to the Rock composition. Transformational learning resulted from the phenomenological study which investigated tempi, vari-speed, beat-mixing and breakdowns in a new context. The hybridisation of the two genres, EDM and Rock, resulted in a contribution to Rock music compositional approaches and the production of a unique Rock album.

Definitions

Beatmatching

The adjustment of “the speeds of two different records so they match and their beats are synchronized” (Broughton and Brewster 2003, 280).

Beat-mixing

The process of cross-fading to blend one track to the next while DJing.

BPM

The tempo of a particular song measured in beats per minute.

Break

“… part of a song that features a thinning of the musical texture, with strong emphasis on the rhythmic elements. Breaks are often chosen by DJs to mix with a second record or to peak a dance floor. Also referred to as breakdown” (Fikentscher 2000, 135).

Electronic Dance Music

“The term ‘Electronic Dance Music,’ or ‘EDM,’ encompasses a broad range of music produced during the last two decades, including styles such as techno, house, drum ‘n’ bass, and trance. Although fans of EDM are very much aware of the differences between these types of music, they still view them as belonging to the same overall category” (Butler 2006, 6).

Mix-break

The mix-break entails the inclusion of long intros and outros of percussion to give the DJ time to beatmatch and segué into the next track. Loop A musical phrase either sampled or played repeatedly. Adrian Carroll ClubRock viii Pitch-lock Pitch-lock is digital processing that enables the change of tempo or BPM of a track while retaining the original pitch.

Rock Music

Rock music in this study is derived from classic Rock exemplified by bands such as AC/DC, Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Easybeats and Zoot. Later examples include bands from the Punk and the Grunge scenes.

Traktor

Traktor is a DJ software programme that allows the manipulation of music with third party controllers and the storage of this music onto hard drive.

Trance Music

A sub-genre of EDM usually in a tempo range of 137-145 BPM.

1.0 Introduction

When a musical piece is too simple we tend not to like it, finding it trivial. When it is too complex, we tend not to like it, finding it unpredictable—we don’t perceive it to be grounded in anything familiar. Music, or any art form for that matter, has to strike the right balance between simplicity and complexity in order for us to like it. Simplicity and complexity relate to familiarity, and familiarity is just another word for schema (Levitin 2006, 229). This research project proposes that the application of mixing techniques and structures in Electronic Dance Music (EDM) can enhance originality in Rock music by forming divergent song formats. In this project EDM techniques—specifically beat-mixing and breakdowns—are implemented in Rock music to extend the standard album and single formats. The beat-mixing technique from EDM has been deployed to combine original Rock tracks and thereby form a continuous DJ set. I have devised the term ‘ClubRock’ to denote the alteration that allows Rock music to acquire immediacy through beatmixing. The creative output is a Rock album called Get Lucky performed by Rock musicians as the Manarays and subsequently mixed by DJs to represent the work in a new musical form—the ClubRock set. ClubRock retains the Rock aesthetic and is not Rock music with a dance beat.

1.1 Rock structure

One motivation for this research project came from an experience in the studio: While recording a cover version of Loose (The Stooges 1970) with a band called Vocal Lizard I mistakenly recorded thirty-six bars for my guitar solo instead of the usual twelve or sixteen bars. This error turned to the recording’s advantage when the non-traditional solo length built excitement—this became the main contributor to the effectiveness of the track. Even a small break from the traditional rock structure made a significant difference to the perceived originality of the recording. This serendipitous event led to questioning the three-and-a-half minute or ‘radio-friendly’ format and the need to develop a differentiated form. As a composer I became frustrated by the application of predetermined song formulae. Adrian Carroll ClubRock 2 Hit songs are composed using a limited variety of song structures (Blume 1999) and the following example is the most common: “Verse | Bridge | Chorus | Verse | Bridge | Chorus | Middle 8 | Chorus repeated to fade” (Howlett 2009, 45). The replication of this standard song structure contributes to the situation where popular songs can appear to be stereotyped. Song structure in popular music is tied to the history of music replication and is influenced by the manufacturing requirements of the 10” 78 RPM shellac and 7” 45 RPM vinyl disc formats. The typical song duration of around three and a half minutes was necessary before playback volume and quality was compromised (Chanan 1995). “The introduction of the 12-inch single in 1975 made that year important for the development of dance music. The pop song format was from then on expanded, initially through the addition of longer introductions, and the insertion of long instrumental sections called ‘breaks’” (Fikentscher 2000, 89). This constraint on composition was further removed by the advent of the compact disc with a capacity of 74 to 80 minutes. EDM’s extended musical structure has been facilitated by this expanded capacity.

1.2 EDM structural fluidity

“Although [EDM] tracks do contain passages that allow for the release of energy, the music flows continuously, never stopping for a moment of rest” (Butler 2006, 184). EDM’s ability to mix tracks together sequentially for an extended period of time is a key component in generating this fluidity, and came about through the manipulation of recorded tracks by producers. “Reggae made an artist and a star of the producer, it made records into live performances” (Brewster 2000, 121). Importantly EDM also has this capacity of producing not simply individual recordings but also a medium to create new soundtracks by live manipulation of these recordings. This immediacy in Dance music is contrasted by recorded Rock music continuing to be presented in a static form. Rock music can also utilise EDM techniques to create structural fluidity and thereby generate immediacy and spontaneity in the replay of recorded works through the creative combination of tracks. This immediacy in mediated Rock music is demonstrated in the album Get Lucky.

1.3 Exegesis

This exegesis reports on the outcomes achieved by applying EDM processes to Rock music and summarises the production process. The thesis is presented and discussed in the following manner. Firstly, it conveys the researcher’s context of inquiry and the relevant literature pertaining to EDM and Rock music. Secondly, the research methodology of phenomenology and heuristic enquiry is discussed. Thirdly, the method of research and the manner of collecting and analysing the data is explained. Fourthly, the research data is presented and analysed. Finally the findings are summarised. A number of Appendices are provided to help the discussion. Appendix 1 is a detailed representation of the song structures appearing on the album. Appendix 2 elaborates on the methodology of heuristic enquiry. Appendix 3 displays the Trance format which was used as a template to create ClubRock. Appendix 4 documents the complete process of producing ClubRock and will be relevant for practitioners wanting to further the research.

2.0 Context

Before a critical meaning or significance for a practice-led research project can be identified, a range of pertinent critical contexts must be clearly named and claimed. It is only when the practical is located within critical contexts that findings can begin to be established (Smith and Dean 2009, 59-65).

Critical contexts position my praxis within the research and give the listener a greater understanding of the creative work. The first critical context will introduce my personal musical background and define the specific sub-genre. My professional experience in relation to the study is then outlined. The technical approach utilised to complete the project is identified. Finally a statement is made on the audio context in which the research should be experienced and evaluated.

2.1 Personal background

Levitin states that music listened to at the age of fourteen has the most influence and that “part of the reason we remember songs from our teen years is because those years were times of self-discovery, and as a consequence, they were emotionally charged; in general we tend to remember things that have an emotional component” (2006, 225).

In 1977 I was fourteen and influenced by the international and local Power-Pop and Punk movements. One defining moment was the release of the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen. “Their music had genuine anger and fire and Rotten had genuine magnetism. As he spat out God Save The Queen or its follow-up Pretty Vacant there was so much refreshing energy and charge, so much tension and volcanic dynamism that you could not fail to be impressed, even excited, perhaps refreshed, by it” (Pascall 1978, 217). Never Mind the Bollocks seemed to carry weight—a power conveyed in the sound of the songs as much as the compositions. From this point in time the sound of the recording was as important to me as the song itself. I then discovered two Detroit Rock bands—MC5 and The Stooges—and this led to The Sonic’s Rendezvous Band who featured MC5 guitarist Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith. The influence of The Sonic’s Rendezvous Band is significant and is exemplified in this research project’s composition The Most Kissable Lips inspired by The Sonic’s Rendezvous Band’s song Electrophonic Tonic. The influence is confirmed by the inclusion of a cover version of their song Asteroid B-612.

2.2 Professional background

In Sydney in 1987, I joined a band called the Splatterheads and toured from Adelaide to Brisbane playing my own compositions. After releasing two albums— Filthy Mile followed by Ink of a Mad Man’s Pen —I left to concentrate on studio production. Subsequently the Splatterheads released Bot and went on to reach audiences internationally. The Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop describes the band as “having much in common with other Sydney hardcore bands like The Hard-Ons, Massappeal and The Hellmenn, and their Brisbane counterparts The Insane Hombres, Splatterheads sprayed out a raucous brand of street-level punk rock’n’roll” (McFarlane 1999, 595). I continue to write with Chris Fletcher from the Splatterheads and the compositions on the album Get Lucky are a product of this collaboration. The album also features the Splatterheads’ dual vocals of Chris Fletcher and Simon Faulkner. I am currently actively engaged in other Rock composition and performance, writing and playing regularly in a Brisbane Punk band—The Boondall Boys. A contributing factor to the research is my thirty years experience as a recording engineer and producer including independent record production, radio imaging, commercial production, classical recording and international lecturing and voice-over production. I have an analogue tape background but currently record and rearrange Rock songs using Pro Tools, a professional-standard digital audio workstation (DAW). On this project I functioned as a composer and was also involved in the production process, utilising recording as a medium for praxis. This background outlined above has given me the technical and creative skills required to undertake this investigation.

2.3 Technical approach

Pro Tools digital technology was utilised for recording and mixing the album. The digital medium also provided the capability to increase the tempo without altering the pitch or key of the song. This process of tempo adjustment became an important part of the research and findings. Although traditional EDM practice is to use vinyl DJ techniques, these have not been represented in this investigation. Vinyl records have excellent sound quality, and the tactile dexterity required to manipulate the medium adds to the atmosphere and sonic output of the live set. However digital controllers and computer programs are replacing vinyl (Miller, Vandome and McBrewster 2009) and using digital technology avoided the expense and time constraints associated with pressing vinyl records

2.4 Audio context

The last critical context is that Get Lucky is a Rock album designed for listening. As Brewster notes, “the time scale and the momentum of any physical activity is vastly different from the attention span of listening” (2000, 174). The research has incorporated EDM transitional techniques to create a sound and an aesthetic unique in a Rock album and should not be confused with the concept of being applicable to the dance experience of the Rock discothèque. Other critical contexts will be disclosed through the literature and contextual review.

3.0 Literature and Contextual Review

The literature offers important ideologies and constructs that frame this research. It also provides support for the research and develops the contextual understanding of the study. This literature review introduces issues related to compositional structure—sometimes referred to as the form or the format of a song. It explores the history of Jamaican dancehall tradition and EDM production techniques that frame the research. The literature review then addresses the DJ techniques used in the research in a historical context. How Rock moved away from danceable forms and how Rock music has been advantaged by EDM culture in the past is discussed. Rock music is then considered in the context of EDM and the gap in the field of research is identified and specifically addressed.

3.1 Compositional structure

The song format of around three-and-a-half minutes in length imposed by the physical constraints of shellac and vinyl records is advantageous for radio programming. Social commentator Albert Goldman states that “the three minute pop tune was designed to be perfect for radio… [whereas] the dancer wants to get in a groove and stay there until he has exhausted his invention or his body” (cited in Brewster 2000, 174). What is questioned here is not the effectiveness but the predominance of specific prescribed ways to present a song and the value in creative adaptation of representation. In talking of Rock format Theodore Gracyk in his book ‘Rhythm and Noise’ notes that “we simply tire of our minor variations of the same old thing” (1996, 206). Gracyk and others (e.g. Durant 1985, Blume 1999 et al.) support the premise that most Rock music still remains fixed into a format designed for optimum radio playability. While acknowledging many notable exceptions Blume states that “whether we’re conscious of it or not, we’ve been trained by years of listening to the radio to expect one of the forms I’ve listed, or something close” (1999, 4). Changing this expected format and creating a Rock track that allows the structure to be modified artistically on playback is a principal aim of this project.

3.2 Jamaican dancehall tradition and EDM production techniques

Kai Fikentscher, in his book, ‘“You Better Work!” Underground Dance Music in New York City’, gives an insight into the development of underground Dance culture from the roots of disco from the late 1960’s to the turn of the century. Fikentscher defines mediated music as “musical sound being reproduced independent of the conditions of its initial production” and differentiates this from musical immediacy, sometimes referred to as ‘live’ or music created spontaneously (2000, 15). In the case of Dance music, musical immediacy and mediated music coexist (2000). This enables EDM recordings to be more than just a fixed representation of a song—a recording becomes a component of a new work when it encounters the dance floor, creating new life and endless possibilities. Davis Troop explains “this idea of a seamless flow of music that ran all night created by a DJ… came from disco”, and this has been “one of the most radical changes of music in the last thirty years” (cited in Shapiro and Lee 2000, 38). This radical change is not just manifest in the representation of a seamless flow but in the techniques that enable this seamless flow. Shapiro states that “with the exception of Punk Rock, every significant development in popular music since the 1960’s has in one way or another emerged from the Jamaican dancehall and its tradition of the sound system” (2000, 50). It was in Jamaica that a record stopped being a finished recording. Instead, in the studio it became a matrix of sonic possibilities, the raw material for endless ‘dubs’ (Brewster 2000, 109). “With a deejay ‘riding the riddim’ the audience was hearing something absolutely unique; with much the same immediacy as a traditional live performance” (2000, 118). “Soon enough, studio engineers began to play around with the instruments by reducing the tracks to their basslines and rhythms or by foregrounding certain instruments in the mix, thus laying the foundation for the remix culture” (Shapiro and Lee 2000, 51). “Reggae has nourished the dance culture to an extraordinary degree. It’s in the conceptualization of what you’re supposed to be doing when you make dance music. It’s in the practice, it’s in technique and it’s in the forms that have arisen out of Jamaican music” (Brewster 2000, 122). Talking of pioneer DJ Grandmaster Flash, Brewster states that he “set himself the goal of playing breakbeats with precision—[and] deliver it to the dance floor with a constant, unbroken beat. At first, he had no idea whether it was possible, just that it would be amazing—and that if he could get it right, he would make history” (2000, 214).

EDM adopted processes such as breakdowns, extended forms and beat-mixing from the Jamaican dancehall tradition. Even though not all DJs use the technique, beat-mixing enables the DJ to mix seamlessly from one track to another. The term ‘DJ friendly’ means that a track is easily mixed by a DJ on the dance floor, but not all dance music complies (Snoman 2004, 49). Making a track DJ friendly entails the inclusion of long intros and outros of percussion to give the DJ time to beatmatch and segué into the next track. One advantage of the DJ friendly approach is that it saves a lot of time in rehearsal and pre-performance editing. This project incorporates mix-breaks and other compositional and studio practices to implement structural innovations in Rock music.

The EDM structural model used in ClubRock came initially from Trance. In Rick Snoman’s book ‘The Dance Music Manual’ (2004, 49-51) the Trance track is broken down into a generic format (see Appendix 3). This was used as an indicative format for ClubRock and adapted for the project. Snoman did not write ‘The Dance Music Manual’ as a hybridisation manual but it was useful for that purpose and offered advice in the production of EDM. Other valuable resources in EDM production technique are Broughton and Brewster (2003), Webber (2008), Verderosa (2002), Brown (2000) and Adamo (2010).

This project also utilises bar length variation as another contributing factor to uniqueness. Shapiro observes that “a cut like Dinosaur L’s Go Bang is fantastic because you don’t know when the breaks are going to come… instead of everything happening on the four, the track shoots off in twos, threes, fives and sevens” (2000, 81). Brewster confirms that “the best disco music is full of changes and breaks, which allow for several shifts in mood or pace and usually open up long instrumental passages. If the breaks work, it becomes the pivot and anticipated peak of the song” (2000, 175). Brewster (2000) went on to state that Girl You Need a Change of Mind by Eddie Kendricks (1973) filled this requirement perfectly. These EDM processes of establishing loops and the addition of changes and breaks have also been applied to create originality in Rock music in this project.

3.3 Rock music and EDM

The subject of Rock music is reviewed here with specific regard to previous instances of the application of EDM techniques. Albin Zak III in ‘The Poetics of Rock’ discusses studio practices and the aesthetics of the recorded sound. Zak III states that the practice of dropping instruments out unexpectedly in Rock music was derived from Dance and has occurred since the 1980’s (2001) and goes on to say “when the bass drops out of a rock track it creates a sense of expectancy” (2001, 193). Shapiro’s ‘Modulations’ (2000) talks of the timelessness in repetition while discussing groove as one of Rock’s three most radical aspects. Shapiro states that “‘groove’ relates to repetition, to the loop, to timelessness – the dream of escaping history by getting back into the body” (2000, 34). At some point after playing a loop repeatedly the audience loses the sense of expectation, and surprise is more easily achieved in composition. These two elements of expectancy and surprise are compositional devices and are interpreted as originality as long as it strikes “the right balance between simplicity and complexity” (Levitin 2006, 229).

Brewster’s ‘Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey’ (2000) is a rich resource of theoretical perspectives and discusses Rock music in the context of EDM. Brewster discusses one of Francis Grasso’s signature mixes which combines Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love with the drum break from Chicago Transit Authorities’ I’m a Man and is evidence that Rock music is not totally left behind in the club scene. The Dance genre of Northern Soul consumes old rare grooves (fast paced 60s American soul music) that the DJ manipulates to create a Dance set. These records were not composed to be DJ friendly but can be made to blend through the skill of the DJ. Rock music, like Northern Soul, is not made to be DJ friendly and even though DJs are able to mix Rock music the inclusion of mix-breaks would save a lot of time in rehearsal and pre-performance editing as well as extend the possibilities for the DJ. The “general goal of mixing is to move as smoothly as possible from one record to another” (Butler 2006, 242) and beat-mixing is one way the DJs can mix seamlessly in any form of music.

Rock music does not require beat-mixing in order to be presented in a long form, especially in the live music context. In a chapter entitled ‘The death of rock’ Brewster notes that The Grateful Dead “would play songs as long as they felt good, as long as they made people dance and when most of the audience is high on something, that can be a long time” (2000, 66), but then adds that Rock “abandoned early danceable psychedelic forms” (138). Brewster describes the abandonment as “the age of the concept album, the rock opera, the tortuous guitar solo” and goes on to state that “rock, after a trip too many, would soon drift well away from the dance floor and become serious music, sounds for the head rather than the body” (2000, 70). In the early 70s Rock indulged so pervasively in the extended form that it inspired Punk bands to exclude improvisation and to resort to tight song structures. The Ramones, noted for their very short songs which are predominantly void of instrumental sections, are a very good example. John Covach states that “New wave replaces long songs and extensive instrumental soloing with short, hook-based arrangements” (in Moore 2003, 176). While comparing Yes’s Awaken with Joe Jackson’s Is She Really Going Out With Him Moore states that “while Anderson and Rick Wakeman exchange melodic lines on the harp and church organ in a meditative central section, Jackson’s spare quartet of bass, drums and piano complete their entire song in about the same length of time” (Moore 2003, 176). In reference to the 80s Kronengold (2008) discusses the introduction of four-on-the-floor into the New Wave genre and cites Blondie’s Atomic and The Clash’s Lost in the Supermarket as demonstrating borrowing or exchange. He also asserts that this exchange enabled AOR (Album Orientated Rock) to borrow from disco as well. Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust and I Was Made for Loving You by Kiss are two examples.

Talking of the Manchester Sound Brewster states “after acid house, this sound was seen as a brief resurgence of band-driven music, but it was actually a clever reconstruction of rock to make it palatable to a market that had learned how to dance” and then continues, “rock bowed to the dance revolution” (2000, 137). Following the same argument Brewster observes, “when Beck… embraced dance-derived approaches… rock started to look innovative again” (2000, 359). These examples demonstrate exchange and how Rock music has benefited from Dance music. This exchange is also of interest because although borrowing from Dance music these examples generally succeed in retaining the Rock aesthetic in the performance. The ability to exchange musical ideas and techniques while not compromising the Rock aesthetic is important for ClubRock.

Many Dance producers have incorporated Rock feels and elements creating cross-genre Dance tracks—Fat Boy Slim’s album You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby and the Junky XL remix of A Little Less Conversation by Elvis Presley (2002) are two commercially and artistically successful examples. Producers have successfully incorporated Rock music into the electronic Dance track but the aim of this study is the converse.

3.4 The gap in the field

The literature gives examples of how Rock has remained fixed in a ‘radio friendly’ format. It shows how Dance music achieves immediacy in mediated music through the application of Jamaican dancehall ideologies. The idea is also supported that Rock in the 70s went too far in abandoning its early danceable forms and describes how New Wave in the 80s allowed AOR to exchange successfully with Disco. What is not present in the literature nor the contextual review is evidence that the beat-mixing function of EDM has been used to refresh the song structure and enhance originality in Rock music.

3.5 Purpose statement

The purpose of this research is to explore the proposition that EDM’s beat-mixing function can be implemented to create immediacy in Rock music. Through collaboration between a number of DJs and Rock music professionals the research applies the process of beat-mixing to Rock tracks to produce a continuous ClubRock set. The following research questions provided the means of investigation and the opportunity to validate the effectiveness of the album: How can Rock music implement EDM’s structural fluidity to create an album in the form of a DJ set? How do Rock audiences read the ClubRock set as a Rock album?

The purpose of the research is not to make Dance derived Rock music: ClubRock is not a synthesis of Dance music and Rock music but the project will borrow the Dance music technique of using mix-breaks to join songs together and the use of breakdowns to give relief to the continuous set.

4.0 Conceptual Framework

This section explains the overriding philosophy behind the research. The project applies a practice-based qualitative research methodology that consists of 30% written and 70% practical components. The research is a phenomenological study that turns “the world into a series of representations, including field notes, interviews, conversations, photographs, recordings, and memos to the self… attempting to make sense of, or to interpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them”  (Denzin and Lincoln 2005, 3). This describes the transformation of my compositional practice into a tangible form of understanding through collecting and reflecting. The project applies a practice-based research methodology and a full understanding can only be realised with direct reference to the research recordings. Linda Candy’s definition adds clarity:

“Practice-based Research is an original investigation undertaken in order to gain new knowledge partly by means of practice and the outcomes of that practice. Claims of originality and contribution to knowledge may be demonstrated through creative outcomes in the form of designs, music, digital media, performances and exhibitions. Whilst the significance and context of the claims are described in words, a full understanding can only be obtained with direct reference to the outcomes” (Candy 2006, 3).

Lichtman states that “a good phenomenological study moves beyond just a description of the experience: it strives to arrive at the essence of the experience” (2011, 77). The essence of the experience is achieved through heuristic inquiry which “epitomizes the phenomenological emphasis on meaning and knowing through personal experience and exemplifies and places at the fore the way in which the researcher is the primary instrument” (Patton 2002, 109). The creative synthesis, in this case the album, will be able to be interpreted by others and will reveal the phenomena experientially to the listener.

Heuristic inquiry is well documented in the research field but a brief summary has been provided in Appendix 2 to support this methodology. The reason for the adoption of the heuristic approach is the emphasis on personal significance, the portrayal of essential meanings, its self-searching opportunities and the knowledge of experience that enriches the understanding of practice. The heuristic method of execution varies in different situations and Douglass and Moustakas have described it as a conceptual framework that does not prescribe a particular method (1985, 42).

5.0 Method

The specific method of data collection to produce the creative synthesis and the validation requirements are now explained. In summary: Alternate song structures were explored by applying the Trance format to Rock compositions and documenting and refining the processes; six songs were recorded—A Summer’s Day, Now It’s All Gonna Change, Get Lucky, Asteroid B-612,The Most Kissable Lips and Little Jo. Two research questions were developed to guide the research:

  • How can Rock music implement EDM’s structural fluidity to create an album in the form of a DJ set?
  • How do Rock musicians read the ClubRock set as a Rock album?

5.1 Data

Data took the form of transcripts of over fifty interviews, lecture presentations, compositions, ClubRock sets and field notes. I drew on my personal experience from a written journal that became a rich source of self-reflection. A Lab Book documented the whole process of recording the album (Appendix 4). Individual observations from interviews with the principle co-researchers—DJs and Rock professionals—have been included verbatim to portray the subjective views of the individuals. Some of these observations suggested new formatting approaches and co-researcher’s alternative mixes also provided ideas about structure and arrangement that were incorporated into the compositions. Key collaborators who informed the project were Tim Whiteman, an experienced DJ with a Rock background, who gave the project a DJ perspective; Alex Smith, a Rock musician, who demonstrated the manipulation of Rock music in Ableton Live (DAW); and Josh Jett and Nino Live, both professional DJs, who created alternative Rock sets. The creative synthesis of these contributions is represented as the album Get Lucky. My roles were producer, composer, engineer and project leader, and as such I was responsible for the final result. Key information was separated and a thematic structure was devised. The themes of tempi, vari-speed, beat-mixing, breakdown and the ClubRock set became apparent. These themes were evaluated and regularly checked for relevance. The themes, data collection tools, data sets and methods of data analysis relevant to each of the research questions are outlined in the Table below.

Table to be inserted

Table 1: Data collection grouped into themes, tools and analysis.

5.2 Data validation

The guiding principles of validation in this project followed the advice of Moustakas that heuristic research pertains to meaning and, as long as the researcher has rigorously and comprehensively self-searched and portrayed the experience, it is valid (1990). As Polanyi confirms, “certain visions of the truth, having made their appearance, continue to gain strength both by future reflection and additional evidence. These are the claims which may be accepted as final… and for which he may assume responsibility by communicating them in print” (1983, 30).

The validation of the data included the co-researchers reading my written representation of their observations to confirm accuracy. Crystallisation (Richardson in Denzin and Lincoln 2000) has been employed to refine and gather a number of perspectives to validate my own interpretation. Another three validation processes were taken from Creswell (2003):

  • The work was presented to non-collaborating professional peers for evaluation.
  • External auditors not acquainted with the industry were asked to review the project.
  • Negative and contrary information was reported alongside supporting evidence.

6.0 Data Collection

6.1 Recording procedure

As stated previously a full documented report of the recording procedure is contained in the Lab Book (Appendix 4) but some aspects are now summarised to provide insight into the data collection process. In the initial stages the songs were sketched with a rhythm guitar, a vocal and a drum machine using the music software program Cubase. These songs were structured in the form of standard Rock tracks but with the addition of breakdown sections derived from EDM. Lead guitar parts were added and the breakdowns gradually extended as the tracks progressed in response to feedback from co-researchers. The recordings were then transferred to Pro Tools (DAW), which is the digital recording system used in the Gasworks studio where the ‘live’ recordings were made.  The bass player Phil Dunlea and drummer Dan Sugars then performed the rhythm section for each song. These rhythm sections were recorded with both performers playing together which enabled them to interact and develop complementary lines. Once the tracks were recorded the drums were looped and copied onto the beginning and end of each track to form mix-break sections. The addition of these mix-break sections allowed the formation of a continuous ClubRock set through beat-mixing. This was achieved by overlapping the end mix-break section of one track with the beginning mix-break section of the next track. The tracks were tailored to fit into each other perfectly.

As the tracks developed it became apparent that in the context of the ClubRock set the internal song structures benefited by further expansion in a number of sections. During this process song structures expanded as they were assembled and reassembled in response to peer review. Having verified that they could be beat-mixed, the mixes were then given to the collaborating DJs to produce a ClubRock set. This process happened a number of times as documented in Table 2 below. These independently developed DJ sets were incorporated into a final ClubRock set edited together in Pro Tools.

Table to be inserted

Table 2: Change in set order and tempo over the project.

6.2 Phenomenological themes

The Manarays—Get Lucky is a creative synthesis of the research gained through the duration of the project. This final product can only be fully understood by examining the phenomenological themes derived from the research. The themes of tempi, vari-speed, beat-mixing, breakdown, and the ClubRock set explain the particular processes in making the album and these will now be discussed individually.

6.2.1 Tempi

The first theme discovered through interview and praxis was the use of tempi in the making of the ClubRock phenomenon.  Jett stated that “it’s not actually common to beatmatch a Rock album because of the huge difference in speed” (personal communication, December 10, 2011). Beatmatching is the process of matching the tempos of two songs—this is usually done by listening to the second track on headphones. When the two tracks align and are playing in synchronisation, the DJ is able to mix in the new track and fade out the old—this is called beat-mixing. To facilitate beatmatching the DJ would usually select a BPM that is close or identical in tempo. As Whiteman noted, “this enables the DJ to beatmatch the songs fairly easily and one of the problems that I encountered with the tracks was that they are so disparate. The similarity of tempi within EDM genres gives the DJ flexibility to navigate his way through a collection of tracks, without being constrained by disparate tempi. It also allows a different set configuration/order each time the DJ performs the set” (personal communication, January 13, 2012). “Some genres of dance music are defined by BPMs” (Dettmar and Richey 1999, 195) and having similar tempi is a major ontological difference between the EDM and Rock genres. The necessity for a similar tempo for beat-mixing was not initially evident and the tempi recorded were considerably different between the songs (tempi ranged from 118 BPM – 193 BPM). Disparate tempi caused problems beat-mixing the tracks. At first we tried matching the speeds to the fastest track using the process of vari-speed discussed below. This created excitement in the set, however, the speeding up process caused unpleasant audible artefacts. Eventually it was decided to arrange the tracks in order of tempo from slowest to fastest, which also produced continuity and intensity over the length of the album.

To achieve beat-mixing the following process was developed: The speed of the introductory mix-break section of the subsequent track was slowed down to match the tempo of the previous track, but only in the mix-break. The second track was then returned to pitch after the mix-break, usually in an arrhythmic breakdown section.

6.2.2 Vari-speed

In recording terminology the term vari-speed describes the increase or decrease of tempo. In the digital domain it is possible to vari-speed a track without affecting the pitch (pitch-lock). However due to the limitations of the technology unpleasant audio artefacts can be produced. The set initially required a significant amount of vari-speed to beatmatch the tracks and these digital artefacts became a problem. The first attempts at vari-speed produced fast sets that gave the album a significant lift and contributed greatly to the feel and excitement to the initial mixes, however, tempo matching through the use of vari-speed is not demonstrated in the final representation because of the digital artefacts that were present in the recording. This quality degradation was exacerbated by the DJ software (Traktor, Serato) and CD players that operated at a low resolution of 16 bit, 44.1 kHz. DJ software, professional DJ CD players (CDJ 1000 Mk3s) and most Digital Audio Workstations were unsuccessful in being able to pitch-shift Rock music without artefacts. Pro Tools X-form could complete the task without noticeable tonal artefacts but because of the slight timing inconsistencies that result from the time compression it was decided to keep the original tempo of the songs, whilst vari-speeding only the mix-breaks.

As stated previously, in the final stages of the project I slowed down the mix-break of the next track to match the tempo with the previous track for beat-mixing. Artefacts were not a problem in the mix-break because they were masked by another drum mix, and were less noticeable with the less tonal character of drums. Even though I was unable to vari-speed the individual tracks enough to enable them to play at the same speed, I was able to vari-speed the whole set by a small amount on some Rock sets. During the research the practice of speeding up the set by 103% helped pull the feel of the recording together but in the end still compromised the quality and so this was not used in the final set. Dave Robinson (Stiff Records) “was also known to take finished masters of recordings and speed them up to ‘add energy’” (Howlett 2009, 27).

6.2.3 Beat-mixing

When two tracks slowly blend together the resulting combination is identifiably EDM influenced and demonstrates a new possibility in Rock music. Josh Jett stated that the mix-breaks were configured in a “perfect way” (personal communication, December 10, 2011). This was achieved through following these mix rules created by Tim Whiteman (Appendix 4, 71, 85):

  • Each mix-break will be one minute long, consisting of 30 seconds of tonality and 30 seconds of drums.
  • Mix-break drums need to be ‘tight’ (well defined, hard edged sounds).
  • No bass-lines are to be included in the front mix-break.

The value of these mix rules became more apparent as the tracks were tailored to work together and enabled the project to be mixed in any song order. The one minute mix-break provided a constant predictable work-part so that the DJ knew when to start the next track. The mix-break drums needed to have tight, well-defined, hard-edged sounds so that the DJ could differentiate the tracks when beatmatching. When working with the initial mixes it was sometimes difficult to beatmatch because the sounds were very similar and being acoustic lacked the hard edge of electronic samples. Subsequent mixes were adjusted to improve this quality. Having no bass-line at the front of the mix allowed the drum track to sit over the end of the previous song without a clash in key signature. The amount of bass allowed at the end of the mix-break determined the entry point of the subsequent track.

6.2.3.1 DJ cut

We also found that another DJ technique of cutting between tracks—as opposed to cross-fading—created a faster movement from one track to another and generated excitement. The DJ is capable of transitioning between two tracks at any convenient point when both tracks are running in synchronisation. The cut occurs without missing a beat and results in a sharper and more clearly differentiated transition than a traditional cut edit between tracks of different tempi. This technique is not demonstrated on the final ClubRock set because it did not help demonstrate beat-mixing.

6.2.4 Breakdowns

In EDM there are two kinds of breakdown—one at the beginning of a track for transitioning, and one in the middle for dynamic relief and subsequent build up. In describing the function of a breakdown at the beginning of a track Josh Jett stated that “there is more than one way to mix and fair enough there is beat-mixing [but] atmospheric cross-fades will do just as fine and it’s bringing in the track as seamless as a beatmatch anyway” (personal communication, December 10, 2011). DJs use atmospheric breakdowns, i.e. sections with no rhythmic component, as a device to enable transition between songs of different tempi. When beat-mixing the album subsequent tracks of a different tempo were returned to their normal tempo usually at these arrhythmic sections.

The main breakdown in the middle of a song in EDM has a different purpose which is to create a climactic build. In Rock music we found it served a different purpose again. “In Rock music a breakdown is opposite to Dance music because the breakdown in Dance music is a huge build-up to a drop, whereas this is a relief of thick fast loud music” (J Jett, personal communication, December 10, 2011). Dance music has stratified layers that peel off and give the listener sonic rest whereas Rock music has a limited dynamic range that only occasionally breaks down. A very clear example of a breakdown in Rock is in Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin. At first I tried to replicate the EDM breakdown without much success and noted in my journal, “I feel that it requires dance music techniques to create this build that seems to be eluding me” (September 20, 2011). Josh Jett stated that the breakdown in Dance music is “a lot of work” (personal communication, December 10, 2011).

Tim Whiteman stated that the breakdowns would have been more effective if specific drum builds for each breakdown had been recorded from the outset. He also noted that the breakdowns stop abruptly in ClubRock and that a softer landing using sounds that focus the attention while the rest of the rhythm section disappears would be advantageous (personal communication, August 18, 2011). Jett commented that the breakdowns worked well in a Rock context (personal communication, December 10, 2011). This is supported by Colin Webber who stated that “the breakdowns worked well and created relief… and space to anticipate” (personal communication, January 31, 2012). Breakdowns in ClubRock did provide space in the set, an important component for a continuous Rock soundscape.

6.2.5 ClubRock set

Once the mix-breaks were constructed we started experiencing the phenomenon of beat-mixing Rock music. Tim Whiteman describes the experience:

In order to combine Rock and Dance you need to use production techniques representative of both styles. Once the sound of the genre was established we had to make it DJ friendly. To do this Adrian essentially had to sample himself (the recordings we’d done), adding a mix-break to the start and end of the songs in Pro Tools using existing pieces of the recordings… Essentially we recorded the songs and then sampled the same recording in order to create a new version of the compositions which adhered to the Dance music form (personal communication, September 1, 2011).

When asked what he felt about the Rock album being presented as a ClubRock set Josh Jett stated that “presenting it in a way that is mixed and it’s flowing as a Rock album is one step above the rest in presentation… that’s full-on, that’s like a cut above” (personal communication, December 10, 2011). Everett True, music critic, stated that “pop (and rock) songs are often about the ‘whole’. Dance music is often about the ‘moment’. Taking out the gaps between the songs blurs the boundaries, makes the music quite relentless. There are no silences. There’s no pause for reflection” (personal communication, December 29, 2011). The researchers did not feel that it held a direct association with EDM but in the end produced a very hard-hitting and exciting Rock album.

Beat-mixing created a very distinctive sound unusual in a Rock album context. The album also benefited by the mix-breaks having two drum kits playing simultaneously. This created a sonically rich new structural component. The effect was advantageous for a Rock enthusiast because it resembled twin drum productions such as Feargal Sharkey’s You Little Thief. However, Whiteman noted that because the songs were not edited to a tempo grid the drums shifted against each other and it could be seen from an EDM perspective that the DJ was not mixing accurately (personal communication, August 18, 2011). On the other hand Jett stated that “perfect is over rated, like perfect sounds in time are over rated” (personal communication, December 10, 2011). “Musicians generally agree that groove works best when it is not strictly metronomic—that is, when it is not perfectly machinelike” (Levitin 2006, 167). Finally, to resolve this problem, the mix-break sections were aligned to the tempo grid, whilst leaving the song itself in free time.

“Obviously it is a Rock genre but the structure you have come up [with] for top and tail of each track is perfect” (J Jett, personal communication, December 10, 2011). As a Rock producer it was comforting that the transitions worked in the eyes of a professional DJ. As stated previously the EDM format for this investigation initially came from Trance (Appendix 3) even though in the course of the project it developed its own form and is now totally unrecognisable. Jett stated “it is almost too nitty gritty, too full on just to get the structure for a Dance track where as Rock is free you can do what you want—it’s good” (communication, December 10, 2011).

The internal song structures in this album move away from traditional ‘radio friendly’ song structure and this was advantageous to my professional practice. Some formats ventured further from the standard format and gave the songs space or ‘air’ and an independent character not previously experienced personally in composition. The ability to repeat sections a number of times enabled the tracks to open up and be developed in a longer form. Appendix 1 fully documents the song structures. The visual representation below shows the number of bars in proportionate colour length sections (labelled on the larger sections) to demonstrate the movement away from the traditional song structure.

Figure to be inserted

Figure 1: Proportionate visual representation of song formats.

7.0 Data Analysis

7.1 Transformational learning

Analysing the process revealed a transformative learning experience. “Perspective transformation represents not only a total change in life perspective, but an actualization of that perspective. In other words, life is not seen from a new perspective, it is lived from that perspective” (Novak 1981, 2).

That which is ‘object’ we can look at, take responsibility for, reflect upon, exercise control over, integrate with some other way of knowing. That which is ‘subject’ we are run by, identified with, fused with, at the effect of. We cannot be responsible for that to which we are subject. What is ‘object’ in our knowing describes the thoughts and feelings we say we have; what is ‘subject’ describes the thinking and feeling that has us. We ‘have’ object; we ‘are’ subject (Mezirow 2000, 53).

In the course of the project some things that were subject in my knowing have become object. Knowledge that previously had me I now have and “can be in relationship to it, the form of [my] knowing has become more complex, more expansive” (Mezirow 2000, 54). In Kegan’s view this comes closest “to the real meaning of transformation in transformational learning theory” (in Mezirow 2000, 54). The knowledge area that was transformed in my practice was the ability to extend the musical form in Rock music. The research provided a fuller understanding of the application of structural fluidity. As discussed the use of tempi, vari-speed as a production device and the use of beat-mixing and breakdowns all provided additional advances in praxis.

7.2 Diagrammatic representation

Stanley (cited in Butler 2006) uses a diagrammatic representation to depict the way EDM builds and drops over its track duration. Butler states that “although certain characteristics recur quite frequently … it is clear that they treat this structure quite freely” (2006, 224). As stated above by adopting an EDM model many effective versions of the individual track were possible. My adaptation below shows how the format worked in ClubRock.

Figure to be inserted

Figure 2: Visual representation of a typical structure of a ClubRock track.

Before and after the breakdown in the centre are two larger rectangles that represent the verse/chorus sections in a ClubRock track. In EDM the first verse/chorus section is smaller dynamically than in ClubRock as a result of more elements being added as the track develops. This has not been demonstrated in ClubRock because the standard elements of guitars, bass and drums are fundamental to the Rock aesthetic. The second verse/chorus is slightly louder and has a denser texture on most tracks due to the addition of backing vocals and keyboards for dynamic increment. The main breakdown in the centre starts quietly giving relief to the set before building up to the next verse-chorus. The triangular shapes at the beginning and end of the track represent the mix-breaks that crossfade from the previous and into the next track. As is standard practice in EDM, the songs also contain an additional breakdown section after the first mix-break to help the transition into the new track.

7.3 Tempo matching

In early attempts at beat-mixing, the tracks were brought to much more similar tempi by combining vari-speed with pitch-lock. This close relationship with tempi coupled with the beat-mix function created a unique sound and injected a sense of excitement into the work. Co-songwriter Chris Fletcher, when he heard the first demonstration which demonstrated tempo matching commented that, “the hairs on the back of my neck stood up” (personal communication, November 2, 2011). As stated above the final DJ set used breakdowns but could not use tempo matching due to the artefacts caused by the limitations of the technology. The adaptation of the beat-mixing approach of tracks of different tempi did not invalidate the research in anyway. Consistent tempo over a Rock album would not have been typical and would have lost positive aspects. Although having all the tracks at the same tempo would have added excitement the fact that the songs have a greater variation in tempi than EDM helps preserve the Rock aesthetic.

7.4 Beat-mixing

Beat-mixing as a function extracted from EDM works in Rock music. It created life and immediacy. It also created an exciting innovation to the traditional Rock album format. Fletcher supports this perception:

It can’t be beaten for dynamics and raw frenetic energy. The way the songs start all-in with mega guitar riffing (from the first note of Little Jo to the end of Get Lucky) and the way the songs roll into each other are superb. The songs are joined together with short segments of relentless drumming and the energy stays up in the air the whole time. It sounds convincingly like a band playing and yet each new sound (guitar over dubs, rhythm breaks, vocal etc…) comes in at exactly the right time to maintain interest, the formats are perfect (personal communication, October 13, 2011).

The mix-breaks create the ability for the album to be represented in numerous ways and this is realised through various DJ representations documented in the Lab Book and summarised in Table 2. This ability to create new representations live using different set orders and using different breakdown sections to segué between tracks provides immediacy and new possibilities for the Rock genre as a whole. This is unique in a Rock context where beat-mixing tracks can be difficult.

DJs playing rock music usually make a pretty good mess of the transitions between tracks; the genre is not easily mixed together because it lacks that extended form and is difficult to beat-mix” (A. Smith, personal communication, August 10, 2011).

7.5 Schematic expectation

Levitin, discussing the Beatles, notes that “when ‘Yesterday’ plays with its seven-measure phrase, it is a surprise, it still interests us because it violates schematic expectations that are even more firmly entrenched than our memory for a particular song” (2006, 115). As “music unfolds, the brain constantly updates its estimates of when new beats will occur, and takes satisfaction in matching a mental beat with a real-in-the-world one, and takes delight when a skilful musician violates that expectation in an interesting way” (Levitin 2006, 187).

This violation of expectation has taken place in ClubRock and feedback from the co-researchers and Rock professionals involved has indicated delight in the differentiation of structure. At some point after playing a loop the audience loses any sense of expectation, it is in this state that surprise acquires increased affect (Shapiro 2000). As a radio producer I experienced this timelessness as I elongated instrumental sections of Rock songs to dramatize backdrops for promotional material. The soundscape was comprised simply of the rhythm section looped over and over again. I came to appreciate the rhythm section in its own right, void of vocal lines and instrumental improvisation. The ability for ClubRock tracks, particularly Asteroid B-612, to loop for an extended period of time is aided by its capacity to entertain without requiring melody. This enabled the format of the song to be fluid, to be lengthened and still be a viable Rock structure.

The extended format derived from the research created freedom in praxis and an extension in creative thought. These techniques can now be incorporated easily in my Rock composition without the use of beat-mixing that developed them. The lessons learned from the research have developed an armoury of production tools that are applicable to many different recording situations.

7.6 Personal reflection

Get Lucky works as a Rock album and is reminiscent of early Splatterhead recordings—especially the period when the band was called the Lompoc County Splatterheads. As is supported by peer review, I also feel that the presentation of the tracks benefits greatly by being seguéd through beat-mixing. The continuous soundtrack has the tendency to hold the listener’s attention until the end. The extended structure of the individual songs also creates another dimension of interest and adds to the listening experience. The extended form creates an environment where the listener can be immersed, even lost, in the music without the interruption of the gaps that accompany the traditional album format. If the compositions were played individually in a traditional album format there would be a significant difference in the listening experience. However, the addition of mix-breaks allows the situation where recorded or mediated Rock music can be reproduced with variation to introduce spontaneity or immediacy through the medium of a DJ.

Black Sabbath extended their music through strategic melodic journeys and deeply influenced the genre of Heavy Metal, which utilised long form as standard practice. The use of extended introductions, breakdowns, key changes and time signature variations all contribute to a genre that is unique. Popular Rock bands like Tool have used this form to present their songs in a way that mainstream Rock audiences can now embrace. Many other bands have experimented and used extended forms effectively in recording and live performance. Similarly, James Brown’s Live at the Apollo makes good use of a theme as a segué between each song to form a continuous soundtrack. ClubRock is not claiming uniqueness in creating a long form rock soundtrack—The Who, The Beatles, David Bowie and Pink Floyd have already successfully achieved long form recordings. ClubRock is another variation of long form presentation in Rock music but with an approach that is independent and with unique outcomes.

The application of beat-mixing, as discussed above, required regular breakdowns to introduce dynamic variation in a continuous set. Once the set was produced it was discovered that extending the form allowed diversity of arrangement. This diversity of arrangement was a positive research outcome from the application of the mix-breaks and breakdowns.

On reflection, re-recording the compositions at the same tempo would have allowed easier integration of DJ techniques. A set of the same tempo was achieved by vari-speed and was effective but to be able to provide a satisfactory master the compositions would ideally have to have been re-recorded. Similarly, the structure developed as the project progressed and in the end was far removed from what had been recorded originally. The ability to re-record with this new structure, rather than looping pre-recorded material, would have been advantageous.

An interesting extension to the research project would be to explore the possibility of live performance using two drum kits playing simultaneously to create the crossover of the tracks. This would create a situation where the audience would be able to experience a live nonstop Rock set. With the research results presented on the album the continuous set has been demonstrated and is achievable live.

8.0 Conclusion

Get Lucky as an album has made a contribution to the exchange between Rock music and EDM. The research questions were explored and answered through the process of making the album. Rock music can implement EDM’s structural fluidity to create an album in the form of a DJ set in an effectual and exciting way. The use of mix-breaks enabled the compositions to be blended together in a continuous soundscape that holds the listeners attention throughout. The process of adding mix-breaks created immediacy in recorded or mediated Rock music. Rock audiences read the ClubRock set as a differentiated Rock album: An album that adds excitement to the standard format but does not detract from the Rock experience. As a practioner it created a framework to explore the extension of the internal structure of the composition.

During the process of this project a number of alternative DJ sets were produced by professional DJs and illustrated the ability to have numerous representations of the album. The final set presented on the album is just one of many possible configurations of the material and was chosen as a good representation of the concept. As stated previously mediated music is music reproduced independent of the conditions of its initial production and musical immediacy is music created spontaneously (Fikentscher 2000, 15). Now in Rock music, musical immediacy and mediated music can coexist. The album demonstrates how a recording can be manipulated live to make a new spontaneous work and this can be claimed as a new contribution to Rock music. Beat-mixing in Rock music as a function extracted from EDM production techniques can provide a new and exciting representation of Rock music.

The value of this research, in addition to the creative synthesis, is evident in what has been learnt and is transferable in the application of various EDM production principles to Rock music composition. Further value lies in how the production processes and principles of extending musical form can be utilised in future record production.  It certainly produced something distinctly different from my usual professional practice.

8.1 Future research

What’s next? Who knows – all that’s certain is that something somewhere is busy evolving, just like it’s always done (Brewster 2000, 408).

The addition of structural fluidity to my praxis has led to an interest in the study of compositional triggers in live performance. Sawyer denotes compositional triggers as signs: “In group creativity—synchronically mediated action—interaction between creating agents is immediate, durationally constrained to the moment of creation, and is mediated by linguistic or musical signs” (Sawyer 2003, 119). From my initial investigation, music improvisation theory seems to address two areas only—rhythmic improvisation and melodic improvisation. In order to perform ClubRock in a live band context it would be desirable to be able to improvise song structure with fluidity and spontaneity. This would require verbal and non-verbal communication between performing musicians in a live environment. Future research will investigate the use of non-conventional compositional triggers, both musical and non-musical, to signify sectional changes in live performance.

9.0 Acknowledgements

I would like to thank my principal supervisor Associate Professor Mike Howlett for the expertise that has benefited the project immensely not just academically but contextually and aesthetically. Mike was exceptionally supportive personally throughout my candidature from conception. I would also like to acknowledge Dr Andy Brader, associate supervisor, who gave me confidence in my abilities to satisfy the requirements of the Masters Degree and who supplied insight into the world of the DJ in an academic context. The compositional process and research has been a collaborative effort. Chris Fletcher had a very important role as lyricist and co-writer of the songs. I would like to acknowledge Tim Whiteman as the principal co-researcher-producer-engineer-DJ who has made the phenomenon of ClubRock possible. This project would not have materialised without the principal players in the band the Manarays—Chris Fletcher vocals, Simon Faulkner vocals, Phil Dunlea bass, Dan Sugars drums, David Kershaw on the keyboards and Justine Johnson singing backing vocals. Kenya Carroll who designed the album artwork while completing her studies. I would like to also thank the additional DJs on the project, Nino Live, Monique Davison, Alex Smith, Alan Dyer and Josh Jett.

I would also like to thank all the other contributors and co-researchers on the project: Aaron Quathamer, Adam Quaife and the House of Q, Alice Baroni, Alice Steiner, Ben Ricketts, Bill McMahon, The Boondall Boys, Craig Desilets, Daniel Fisher, Daniel Newstead, Dr Daniel Mafé, Dr Cheryl Stock, Dr Colin Webber, Dr Gavan Carroll, Dr Kris Plummer, David Neil, Edith Burrows, Everett True, Gary Slater, Hudson Graham, Hugh Brown, Ian Amos, Ian Taylor, Jeremy Mortimer, Jet Carroll, Jimmy Watts, Joel Hodgkinson, John Dagwell, John McKeering, John Reid, Kayne Hunnam, Liam Cusack, Martin Sol Robinson, Matt Oliver, Miro Mackie, Nicko Turbo Barclay-Bertram, Ommy Butler, Patrick Drake, Peter Mengede, Peter Willersdorf, Rita Carroll, Scott Gellatly, Sean Tracey, Seth Jackson, Sly Faulkner, Steven King, Tom Mason, Tristan Hoogland, Dominic at DOMC Mastering, Clinton Bell and Maxine McCabe.

10.0 Statement of Originality

The work contained in this exegesis has not previously been submitted to meet requirements for an award at any higher educational institution. To the best of my knowledge and belief, the exegesis contains no material previously published or written by another person except where due acknowledgement is made in the text.

Adrian Carroll

16/06/2013

11.0 References

Adamo, M., D. Felton and Sample Magic. 2010. The secrets of house music production: a reference manual from Sample Magic. London: Sample Magic.

Blume, J. 1999. 6 steps to songwriting success: the comprehensive guide to writing and marketing hit songs. New York: Billboard Books.

Brewster, B. and F. Broughton. 2000. Last night a DJ saved my life: the history of the disc jockey. 1st American ed. New York: Grove Press.

Broughton, F. and B. Brewster. 2003. How to DJ right: the art and science of playing records. 1st American ed. New York: Grove Press.

Brown, R. J. and M. Griese. 2000. Electronica dance music programming secrets. 2nd ed. Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall.

Butler, M. J. 2006. Unlocking the groove: rhythm, meter, and musical design in electronic dance music. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Candy, L. 2006. Practice-Related Research. Creativity and Cognition Studios, University of Technology, Sydney.

Chanan, M. 1995. Repeated takes: a short history of recording and its effects on music. London: Verso.

Creswell, J. W. 2003. Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Dean, R. T. and H. Smith. 2009. Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Denzin, N. K. and Y. S. Lincoln. 2000. Handbook of qualitative research. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Denzin, N. K. and Y. S. Lincoln. 2005. The SAGE handbook of qualitative research. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Dettmar, K. J. H. and W. Richey. 1999. Reading rock and roll: authenticity, appropriation, aesthetics. New York: Columbia University Press.

Douglass, B. G. and C. Moustakas. 1985. Heuristic Inquiry – the Internal Search to Know. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 25 (3): 39-55.

Durant, A. 1985. Rock Revolution or Time-No-Changes: Visions of Change and Continuity in Rock Music. Popular Music 5: 97-121.

Fikentscher, K. 2000. “You better work!”: underground dance music in New York City. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.

Gracyk, T. 1996. Rhythm and noise: an aesthetics of rock. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Howlett, M. 2009. The record producer as nexus: creative inspiration, technology and the recording industry, Doctoral dissertation. University of Glamorgan, Wales.

Kronengold, C. 2008. Exchange Theories in Disco, New Wave, and Album-Orientated Rock. Criticism (50): 43-82 (accessed April 30, 2010).

Levitin, D. J. 2006. This is your brain on music: the science of a human obsession. New York, N.Y.: Dutton.

Lichtman, M. 2011. Understanding and evaluating qualitative educational research. Los Angeles: SAGE.

McFarlane, I. 1999. The encyclopedia of Australian rock and pop. St. Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Mezirow, J. 2000. Learning as transformation: critical perspectives on a theory in progress. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Miller, F. P., A. F. Vandome and J. McBrewster. 2009. Electronic dance music. Beau Bassin, Mauritius: Alphascript Publishing.

Moore, A. F. 2003. Analyzing popular music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Moustakas, C. E. 1990. Heuristic research: design, methodology, and applications. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

Moustakas, C. E. 1994. Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage.

Novak, J. 1981. Achieving perspective transformation. Doctoral dissertation, International College, CA.

Pascall, J. 1978. The illustrated history of rock music. London; New York: Hamlyn.

Patton, M. Q. 2002. Qualitative research and evaluation methods. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage.

Polanyi, M. 1983. The tacit dimension. Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith.

Sawyer, R. K. 2003. Group creativity: music, theater, collaboration. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.

Shapiro, P. and I. Lee. 2000. Modulations: a history of electronic music: throbbing words on sound. New York: Caipirinha Productions.

Smith, H. and R. T. Dean. 2009. Practice-led research, research-led practice in the creative arts. Research methods for the arts and humanities. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Snoman, R. 2004. The dance music manual: tools, toys and techniques. Burlington, MA.: Focal Press.

Verderosa, T. and R. Mattingly. 2002. The techno primer: the essential reference for loop-based music styles. Milwaukee, Wis.; Great Britain: Hal Leonard.

Webber, S. 2008. DJ skills: the essential guide to mixing and scratching. Oxford: Focal.

Zak III, A. 2001. The poetics of rock: cutting tracks, making records. Berkeley: University of California Press.

12.0 Bibliography

Abbey, E. J. 2006. Garage rock and its roots: musical rebels and the drive for individuality. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company.

Adamo, M., D. Felton and Sample Magic. 2010. The secrets of house music production: a reference manual from Sample Magic. London: Sample Magic.

Adorno, T. W. and H. Lonitz. 2006. Towards a theory of musical reproduction: notes, a draft, and two schemata. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity.

Anfara, V. A. and N. T. Mertz. 2006. Theoretical frameworks in qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications.

Ballou, G. 1998. Handbook for sound engineers: the new audio cyclopedia. 2nd ed. Boston: Focal Press.

Bambara, C. S., C. P. Harbour, T. G. Davies and S. Athey. 2009. The Lived Experience of Community College Students Enrolled in High-Risk Online Courses. Community College Review 36 (3): 219-238.

Barrett, E. and B. Bolt. 2007. Practice as research: approaches to creative arts enquiry. London New York: I.B. Tauris.

Berg, B. L. 1989. Qualitative research methods for the social sciences. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Berkowitz, A. 2010. The improvising mind: cognition and creativity in the musical moment. New York: Oxford University Press.

Blume, J. 1999. 6 steps to songwriting success: the comprehensive guide to writing and marketing hit songs. New York: Billboard Books.

Bowden, J. A. and E. Walsh. 2000. Phenomenography. Qualitative research methods. Melbourne: RMIT University Press.

Brewster, B. and F. Broughton. 2000. Last night a DJ saved my life: the history of the disc jockey. 1st American ed. New York: Grove Press.

Brewster, B. 2006. Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey. Rev. Ed. ed. London: Headline.

Broido, E. M. and K. Manning. 2002. Philosophical foundations and current theoretical perspectives in qualitative research. Journal of College Student Development 43 (4): 434-445.

Broughton, F. and B. Brewster. 2003. How to DJ right: the art and science of playing records. 1st American ed. New York: Grove Press.

Brown, L. B. 2000. Phonography, rock records, and the ontology of recorded music. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 58 (4): 361-372.

Brown, R. J. and M. Griese. 2000. Electronica dance music programming secrets. 2nd ed. Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall.

Butler, M. J. 2006. Unlocking the groove: rhythm, meter, and musical design in electronic dance music. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Butler, M. J. 2012. Electronica, dance and club music. Library of essays on popular music. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.

Bygrave, M. and L. Nash. 1977. Rock. London: H. Hamilton.

Candy, L. 2006. Practice-Related Research. Creativity and Cognition Studios, University of Technology, Sydney.

Chanan, M. 1995. Repeated takes: a short history of recording and its effects on music. London: Verso.

Coker, J. 1987. Improvising jazz. New York London: Fireside.

Cranton, P. 1996. Professional development as transformative learning: new perspectives for teachers of adults. 1st ed, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Creswell, J. W. 2003. Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. 2002. Flow: the classic work on how to achieve happiness. Rev. ed. London: Rider.

Cunningham, M. 1996. Good vibrations: a history of record production. Chessington: Castle Communications.

Dean, R. T. and A. C. Brown. 1989. Creative improvisation: jazz, contemporary music, and beyond: how to develop techniques of improvisation for any musical context. Milton Keynes England: Open University Press.

Dean, R. T. and H. Smith. 2009. Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Denzin, N. K. and Y. S. Lincoln. 2000. Handbook of qualitative research. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Denzin, N. K. and Y. S. Lincoln. 2005. The SAGE handbook of qualitative research. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Dettmar, K. J. H. and W. Richey. 1999. Reading rock and roll: authenticity, appropriation, aesthetics. New York: Columbia University Press.

Douglass, B. G. and C. Moustakas. 1985. Heuristic Inquiry – the Internal Search to Know. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 25 (3): 39-55.

Durant, A. 1985. Rock Revolution or Time-No-Changes: Visions of Change and Continuity in Rock Music. Popular Music 5: 97-121.

Emerick, G. and H. Massey. 2006. Here, there, and everywhere: my life recording the music of the Beatles. New York, N.Y.: Gotham Books.

Eshelman, R. 2009. Performatism, or, the end of postmodernism. Aurora, CO: Davies Group.

Etherington, K. 2004. Becoming a reflexive researcher: using our selves in research. London Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Everest, F. A. 1989. The master handbook of acoustics. 2nd ed. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: TAB Books.

Fikentscher, K. 2000. “You better work!”: underground dance music in New York City. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.

Fornäs, J. 1995. The Future of Rock: Discourses That Struggle to Define a Genre. Popular Music 14 (1): 111-125.

Garza, G. 2006. A clarification of Heidegger’s phenomenology. American Psychologist 61 (3): 255-256.

Gracyk, T. 1996. Rhythm and noise: an aesthetics of rock. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Green, J. 2005. DJ, dance, and rave culture. Examining pop culture. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.

Greenwald, J. 2002. Hip-hop drumming: The rhyme may define, but the groove makes you move. Black Music Research Journal 22 (2): 259-271.

Howlett, M. 2009. The record producer as nexus: creative inspiration, technology and the recording industry, Doctoral dissertation. University of Glamorgan, Wales.

Hustwit, G. 1991. Releasing an independent record. Costa Mesa, CA: Rockpress Intl. pub.

Katz, R. A. 2007. Mastering audio: the art and the science. 2nd Ed. ed: Amsterdam; Boston: Elsevier/Focal Press.

Keen, E. 1975. A primer in phenomenological psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Kronengold, C. 2008. Exchange Theories in Disco, New Wave, and Album-Orientated Rock. Criticism (50): 43-82.

Kumar, R. 2011. Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners. 3rd Ed. ed. London: Sage.

Levitin, D. J. 2006. This is your brain on music: the science of a human obsession. New York, N.Y.: Dutton.

Lichtman, M. 2011. Understanding and evaluating qualitative educational research. Los Angeles: Sage.

Lynch, T. D. and P. L. Cruise. 2006. Handbook of organization theory and management: the philosophical approach. 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis.

McFarlane, I. 1999. The encyclopedia of Australian rock and pop. St. Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Mezirow, J. 1990. Fostering critical reflection in adulthood: a guide to transformative and emancipatory learning. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Mezirow, J. 1998. On critical reflection. Adult Education Quarterly 48 (3): 185-198.

Mezirow, J. 2000. Learning as transformation: critical perspectives on a theory in progress. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Miller, F. P., A. F. Vandome and J. McBrewster. 2009. Electronic dance music. Beau Bassin, Mauritius: Alphascript Publishing.

Moore, A. F. 2003. Analyzing popular music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Moustakas, C. E. 1972. Loneliness and love. Spectrum book. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Moustakas, C. E. 1990. Heuristic research: design, methodology, and applications. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

Moustakas, C. E. 1994. Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage.

Muirhead, B. 1984. The record producers file: a directory of Rock album producers 1962-1984. Poole: Blandford.

Mullins, G. and M. Kiley. 2002. ‘It’s a PhD, not a Nobel Prize’: how experienced examiners assess research theses. Studies in Higher Education 27 (4): 369-386.

Neill, B. 2002. Pleasure beats: Rhythm and the aesthetics of current electronic music. Leonardo Music Journal 12: 3-6.

Novak, J. 1981. Achieving perspective transformation. Doctoral dissertation, International College, CA.

Paprock ,K.1992. “Mezirow, J. “Transformative dimensions of adult learning” (Book Review)”. Adult education quarterly (American Association for Adult and Continuing Education), 42 (3), p. 195.

Pascall, J. 1978. The illustrated history of rock music. London; New York: Hamlyn.

Patton, M. Q. 2002. Qualitative research and evaluation methods. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage.

Pohlmann, K. C. 1989. Principles of digital audio. 2nd ed, Howard W. Sams & Company audio library. Indianapolis, Ind., USA: H.W. Sams.

Polanyi, M. 1983. The tacit dimension. Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith.

Rooksby, R., R. Fogg and J. Roberts. 2011. The songwriting sourcebook: how to turn chords into great songs. New, 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Backbeat Books.

Salmon, P. 1992. Achieving a PhD: ten students’ experience. Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire: Trentham Books.

Santi, M. 2010. Improvisation: between technique and spontaneity. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.

Sawyer, R. K. 2003. Group creativity: music, theater, collaboration. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.

Schoenberg, A., P. Carpenter and S. Neff. 2006. The musical idea and the logic, technique and art of its presentation. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press.

Schön, D. A. 1983. The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.

Schön, D. A. 1991. The Reflective turn: case studies in and on educational practice. New York: Teachers College Press.

Shah, A. K. and D. M. Oppenheimer. 2008. Heuristics made easy: an effort-reduction framework. Psychol Bull 134 (2): 207-22.

Shapiro, P. and I. Lee. 2000. Modulations: a history of electronic music: throbbing words on sound. New York: Caipirinha Productions.

Smith, H. and R. T. Dean. 2009. Practice-led research, research-led practice in the creative arts. Research methods for the arts and humanities. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Snoman, R. 2004. The dance music manual: tools, toys and techniques. Burlington, MA.: Focal Press.

Stavrou, M. P. 2011. Mixing with your mind, Mosman: Flux Research.

Stenhouse, L. 1981. What Counts as Research. British Journal of Educational Studies 29 (2): 103-114.

Tacchi, J., D. Slater, G. Hearn and Unesco New Delhi. 2003. Ethnographic action research. New Delhi: UNESCO New Delhi.

Tagg, P. 1994. From Refrain to Rave: The Decline of Figure and the Rise of Ground. Popular Music 13 (2): 209-222.

Tobler, J. and S. Grundy. 1982. The record producers. 1st U.S. ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Van Manen, M. 1997. Researching lived experience: human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. 2nd ed. London, Ont.: Althouse Press.

Verderosa, T. and R. Mattingly. 2002. The techno primer: the essential reference for loop-based music styles. Milwaukee, Wis.; Great Britain: Hal Leonard.

Von Appen, R. and A. Doehring. 2006. Nevermind The Beatles, here’s Exile 61 and Nico: ‘The top 100 records of all time’ – a canon of pop and rock albums from a sociological and an aesthetic perspective. Popular Music 25 (1): 21-39.

Waugh, P. 1993. Postmodernism: a reader. Repr. with minor corrections. ed. London New York: Edward Arnold.

Webber, S. 2008. DJ skills: the essential guide to mixing and scratching. Oxford: Focal.

Wicke, P. 1990. Rock music: culture, aesthetics, and sociology. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Wisker, G. 2008. The postgraduate research handbook: succeed with your MA, MPhil, EdD and PhD. 2nd ed, Palgrave study guides. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Woram, J. M. 1976. The recording studio handbook. 1st ed. Plainview, N.Y.: Sagamore Pub. Co.

Zak III, A. 2001. The poetics of rock: cutting tracks, making records. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Advertisements