AN INTRODUCTION BY OSCAR

Firstly. welcome to my corner of our ‘universe’! I’ll be writing about all sorts of things which take my interest, sometimes in detail and sometimes in passing -- I hope that you will find it all interesting, educational, thought-provoking or at least entertaining!


I actually prepared a completely different introductory article for today, diving directly into philosophy about music theory. I decided to add a short personal introduction as I was uploading the text and it became a slightly long personal introduction! I’ve split off the original discussion here into the second post in order to keep everything divided up into suitably sized articles.


Anyway, here’s a ‘brief’ introduction to my musical self:


I worked as a session musician in Northwest UK for about 10 years. Through this time I developed my profession as a bass player from applying the instrument in a ‘traditional’ manner into developing contemporary playing techniques, modifying instruments to create new possibilities for expression, later introducing digital instruments and exploring interesting control mechanisms to incorporate these sound manipulation techniques fluidly with my bass playing.


Here's a video of some over the top bass playing with Russ Cottier, as 'The Spectacular Resurrection Men Of Cheshire':

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QR0gL5lFwU


One of my core ideas through this time was the idea of an ‘extended instrument’ -- the concept that ‘the instrument’ doesn’t simply end at the limits of its physical form and that any additional possibilities available to the performer

(including digital sound manipulation or mental preparation in a theoretical manner) can be considered as an extension of the instrument itself.



My equipment set up, waiting to perform as the audience enters. This performance was working with Gary Edward Jones at Liverpool Acoustic Festival.

I happened to cross paths with my (then) future wife and co-collaborator in UDAGANuniverse, Saydyy Kuo, at WOMAD Festival in 2011. We were both performing that year in our separate touring groups of the time. I didn’t just get a glimpse of destiny at that time, but while watching her performance I also discovered a new universe of music which previously I’d had no idea existed. Khomus music broke every fundamental law that I considered music to be bound by. I had thought that I understood music so thoroughly -- on that day the door was opened into a larger, unknown musical universe, full of mystery and undiscovered potential.



Saydyy Kuo & Oscar South performing live at The Mekan, Istanbul, 2015.


At the time when we moved away from the UK to Ireland, I was performing with the bass playing and extended instrumental techniques described above in live and recording session environments, working with artists who wished to play with the limits of sound creation in an expansive manner! Myself and Saydyy were frequently performing together and often using digital instruments to fuse our sound creation in unique manners. Here’s an example of how we combined digital performance with Saydyy’s amazing vocal abilities.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT_TUQF82OY


The video is a live recording of the exact unedited audio for our part, which was commissioned for and used on the final version of a track by the UK based artist ‘Elfin Bow’. The released track can be listened to here:

https://open.spotify.com/track/2wAMBbeuWyae6UHiM7GewU?si=c2vUqbfyTbmsOBYN3Kyg9Q


My last contribution before leaving the UK towards this path of development was to complete the original conceptual version of my paper ‘The Harmonic Algorithm’ (2016). The theory layed out in this paper was the origin of what propelled me into the next stage of my musical development -- ‘the algorithm as an instrument’ and the realisation of this concept in performance through Live Coding! Much more on this later!


I’m going to wrap this up here. In my next post I’m going to share some thoughts on the nature of music composition and how my personal approach to thinking about music has changed and developed over time.


Catch you then!


Oscar

UDAGANuniverse


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