Music Meeting - Human and Non-(Human) Improvisers

Ritwik Banerji meets Zamyatin (Bown) Aram Shelton meets Maxine (Banerji)

Ollie Bown is an electronic musician, programmer and researcher in computing, evolutionary and adaptive systems, and music. He creates software, music and research papers. His band Icarus recently created an album in 1,000 variations, available as a limited edition for the digital age. He comes from London but moved to Sydney in 2011 to work at the University of Sydney's Design Lab.

Zamyatin is a simple improvising system that has been creatively hacked together by its maker in a bricolage manner. It is part of an ongoing study into software systems that act in performance contexts with autonomous qualities. The system comprises an audio analysis layer, an inner dynamical system exhibiting a form of complex dynamical behaviour, and a set of "composed" output modules that respond to the patterned output from the dynamical system. The system has been tweaked to find interesting degrees of interaction between this responsivity and internal generativity, and then 'sonified' through the composition of different output modules. Zamyatin's name derives from the Russian author whose dystopian vision included machines for systematic composition that removed the savagery of human performance from music. Did he ever imagine the computer music free-improv of the early 21st Century?

Ritwik Banerji is an improvising saxophonist and designer/mentor/student of Maxine, an autonomous software-based musical agent. He is currently a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley in ethnomusicology. His research interests focus on the development of artificial improvising agents which would “pass for” human improvisers of post-jazz styles. In this project, Maxine serves as co-ethnographer, allowing for the explicitation of an improviser’s values, expectations, and aesthetics of real-time musical interaction. Maxine appeared in early 2009 as a being deeply inspired by Banerji’s work with children in Chicago. Like one would hope of a child, this project focuses on the creation of a social agent, finding ways through sound to make its presence known, while respecting and enhancing the presence of others.

Aram Shelton is an avant jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, improviser and composer. Originally from southeast Florida, Shelton lived in Chicago from 1999 to 2005 and currently lives in Oakland, California. In Oakland the groups Stratic, Ton Trio, These Are Our Hours, and Marches represent his music. He stays connected to Chicago through his Quartet, the Fast Citizens (Delmark), and Jason Adasiewicz' Rolldown (Cuneiform). His writing and playing is grounded in and influenced by the rich history of avant-jazz and free improvisation in America and Europe since the 1950s and has been documented through more than a dozen albums since 2003.

Ritwik and Ollie will also present papers about their work at the 1st
International Workshop on Musical Metacreation, October 9th at Stanford

General Price
Student Price
Contact name
Ritwik Banerji