Polymer Dub

Polymer Dub is a real-time piece, where jjsauma mixes glitch, techno and dub elements in real-time, containing both natural and synthetic elements and creating an abstraction of the classic ingredients of dub music performance with modern aspects of futuristic IDM electronica in a musical entropy.

This performance exhibits an adaptation of the live performance and generative composition technique called Markov Chains, as well as Machine Learning to produce pleasing but imperfect and unexpected compositions in a real-time improvisation. It borrows generative music techniques from Steve Reich and Bryan Eno’s mechanical systems. This piece represents the man-machine interaction in harmony, building on the idea of using the mixing board and the studio as an instrument, along with the use of semantic controls. It gives the performance and the musical construction an unusual flair and unique drive. Using field recordings along with synthesized sounds creates massive textures and rhythms, with deep bass and crisp percussion and clicks. 

The sound in this piece is dry, minimalistic, precise and robotic, softened with echoes, wall of sound and field recordings, all manipulated through modulation and controlled gestures. Drums and bass are deep and percussive, creating a contrast with the rest of the composition and remains at the heart of the performance. In this aspect, Polymer Dub adds new layers and dimensions to early and classic dub techno tracks, which avoided any sense of anticipation. The use of generative processes with Markov Chains and Machine Learning on the performance creates a higher grade of entropy and hence, surprise and interest. It contrasts with the steadiness of wall of sound soundscapes, which avoid development through repetition in an alternate sense of time. The contrast of vertical time and surprise refers to what Kolioulis calls techno existentialism.  This concept stands against the pressures of urban life and a deep sense of melancholia. By representing aesthetic relationships between the soundscape of a city and its acoustic elaboration in an artistic effort to reproduce the dynamic ecology of a city.

This performance features the Max/MSP patch, Mad Perceptron. In a nod to Mad Professor, one of the best dub producers, it uses Machine Learning to control the digital mixer responding to semantic controls controlled by the performer in real-time.

Polymer Dub has been presented in Electric Fridays by SAE Institute Barcelona, and _Alineal_ by Holawave.store in Mexico City, broadcast on Ibero 90.9 FM, among other places.

Read more at:

Jimenez, J. (2020). Creating a Machine Learning Assistant for the Real-Time Performance of Dub Music. The 2020 Joint Conference on AI Music Creativity. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

Jimenez, J. (2020). Polymer Dub: Urban soundscapes, evolution and cultural values. 8th Conference on Computation, Communication, Aesthetics & X (xCoAx). 8–10 July 2020, Graz. Austria.