Abcousma is a live performance intersecting aesthetics and methodologies of electronic dance music, dub, and electroacoustic music. The laptop-based system involve an array of processing chains through which the performer sends streams of recorded or live material, in a manner informed by dub studio compositions and live performances. The effect chains are designed to vary the rhythm, texture, and frequency content of the incoming signal, with the parameters of each processing unit attached to a self-modulating array. The level of modulation is determined by detecting the variations in the original signal’s dynamic and spectral properties, with the output of each effect chain becoming an independent and self-evolving composition which the performer is able to mix between. Some control over global effect parameters is maintained by the performer, whose principle method of forcing each effect chain to vary its output is by adjusting the mix of the recorded streams feed.
Abcousma was developed between August and September 2015 at the John Thaw Studios, University of Manchester, as part of the NOVARS Research Centre residency programme.