ICARUS

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Abstract

ICARUS explores improvised musical structures within a game setting, where the player navigates between five musical chapters. Each of these levels defines a particular set of musical interactions, sonorities, and performance possibilities through distinct mappings and level design. The performer is free to improvise, fail, explore, and through trial and error understand what the game rules are and complete each chapter. This results into a dynamic audio-visual performance, where while the rules are fixed, each level can be completed in multitude of ways. The game is designed specifically for the augmented drum-kit and the instrument's affordances; performance minutiae, digital electronics and musical parameters are analyzed and used as control input to the game. As the musical instrument offers a much wider range of expressive possibilities compared to a conventional game controller, the result is a musically expressive game play performance where the game acts as the mediator to the improvised drum-kit performance, while the music becomes the live soundtrack of the game.This piece, through a series of fixed game levels explores mapping relationships between game, instrument and musical output. The fixed nature of each level aims to introduce very specific musical problems to the performer/improviser that need to be solved as part of the game mechanics in order to proceed to the next section. Some of the theoretical underpinnings of the work and findings are documented the upcoming article ‘Designing Musical Games for Electroacoustic Improvisation’, to be published on the upcoming Organised Sound Journal Vol.26, Number 1 Issue, by Cambridge University Press.The piece has been performed and exhibited internationally at CHI Creatitity & Cognition (2019), San Diego and at xCoAx (2020), Graz (online), while numerous performances throughout 2020 were unfortunatelly cancelled due to C-19. 
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

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