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Australian Computer Music Conference Articles

Vol. 39 No. 2 (2023): ElectroMUSE

Songs in Isolation: Social Commentary and Contagion, COVID-19, and Creative Practice in Electronic Music

October 8, 2023


Songs in Isolation is a series of nine mini-works for online multimedia distribution. The works are a time capsule of the first 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each piece was informed by Melbourne, Australia's global and locational socio-political contexts. Composition themes include frustration (at public messaging, government incompetence, panic buying, lobbying by large businesses at the detriment of the rest of society, and spreading of disinformation), socially contagious behaviours (home hairdressing, meditation, dieting), and personal reactions to stress (brain fog, dissociation, pressure to generate creative content). This research is practice-based performative autoethnography [1], [2]. The pieces and social context move together, buffeted by the movements of a virus and the success or failure of each country concerning travel movements and location-specific behaviours of the public. Various composition tools and techniques were used to suit each work, including gestural interfaces (Wave [3], MiMu [4], self-built datagloves – GLVD [5]), consumer EEG interface – Muse 2 [6]), various DAWs and field recording devices, and voice.