Mutations (megamix): exploring notions of the ‘DJ set’, ‘mashup’ and ‘remix’ through live piano-based performance

Robert Ratcliffe, Jonathan Weinel, Zubin Kanga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mutations (megamix) is an interactive work for piano and electronics, which explores notions of the “DJ set”, “mashup” 1[1. The term “mashup” is used within popular music to denote a specific compositional technique in which two or more existing records are superimposed to create a new track. This often involves the use of vocal a capella material, which is layered against other recordings. One of the most commonly cited examples is Freak Like Me byRichard X and the Sugababes (2002), which combines Adina Howard’s Freak Like Me with Are Friends Electric? by Gary Numan and the Tubeway Army.] and “remix” through live performance. Conceived by Robert Ratcliffe, this project has been developed through a variety of different approaches to performance, the most recent of which utilises a custom-designed software application constructed within Max/MSP. 2[2. This patch and further documentation are available from Weinel’s website.] The following article will trace the development of Mutations (megamix), featuring a description of the various components and compositional techniques employed, and a technical explanation of the custom electronics used to facilitate the performance. There will also be a consideration of performance practicalities and issues relating to the realisation of the piece, together with an evaluation (in terms of the æsthetic and technical goals), and the consequences for future work. The article is intended to stimulate thought for creative practitioners interested in the field of musical hybridism, and specifically hybrid performance practice which combines traditional components with elements sourced from electronic dance music 3[3. Electronic dance music is a collective term used to denote rhythmic-driven, dance floor-oriented styles of electronic music, such as drum ‘n’ bass, dubstep, house and techno.] and DJ culture. In addition, it is hoped that the article will highlight the practical advantages of custom-designed software to aid the realisation and accessibility of a performance.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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