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iXi Quarks Laptop Ensemble Critiques

Today we all presented first drafts of our group ensemble task. Here i express my views and opinions of the pieces presented

Group 1
I feel our piece went rather well, we had a very loose structure, with each person playing a part in turn (James starting), then moving on to a more free-flowing improvisation. We concentrated on listening to the other players in our group, and tried not to clutter the ‘soundspace’. I tried to listen and either complement or contrast to sounds played by the other members of the group. We left the duration of the piece up to Andy, who played a specific sound/solo on soundscratcher, followed by a similar sound/solo from Sol which indicated the ‘winding down’ of the piece, where we each started slowly removing parts from the piece until James was left playing the sound he started with.

Group 2
Group 2’s ensemble was a great example of process music, gradually building up, adding extra elements to the piece, then once all parts were present, slowly removing each section till all parts have finished. They thought about and picked sounds that worked very well together giving the piece a really good theme. I think we could benefit from using a more structured approach, for at least part of our piece.

Group 3
Group 3’s piece was another good example of process music, working in a similar manner to group 2, but to me it sounded a little less polished, The sounds were very nice on the ear, but i think they could have picked noises that worked together a bit more.

Group 4
Group 4’s piece i felt a bit too random, not being as well structured as the previous pieces, and that the percussion loop was used too much without change. The tonal elements seemed to work well, but need more work to make the separate elements complement (or contrast) more obviously.

Group 5
Group 5’s piece seemed to start very well, the vocal stuttered loop, and the stretching of the percussive element worked nicely, and also the two tonal elements worked well with each other, but as a whole it didn’t seem as well gelled as other ensembles. I think they need to think more about which direction they want to take the piece in, either taking lead from the tonal parts, or the percussion and vocal loop, as these seemed to me like 2 separate themes.

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