Anthony Papavassiliou

To Describe Continuity through Discretization in a Recorded Works Analytical Process

In my research of Intelligent Dance Music (IDM), a semi-experimental electronic music current that emerged in the early 1990s in United Kingdom, I developed an analytical methodology in order to extract the rhythmic structures from untranscribed yet musical works. It consists of three main steps which are (1) a definition of an ‘analysis window’ designed to set the analysis resolution on a time axis, (2) the transcription of sound spectrum data for each analysis unit, and (3) the exploitation of the transcribed data. Although discretization is a fundamental and ubiquitous process at every stage of the analysis, how we organize this process determines the result and therefore the interpretation of rhythmic discourse. How do we retrieve continuity while being fully engaged into uncovering structures? How do we describe these structures ? To answer these questions, I propose to present my analysis methodology used in my study of To Cure a Weakling Child (Aphex Twin, 1996). My goal is, firstly, to show how I managed to build an analysis methodology specifically designed for analysis of rhythmically rich isometric recorded musical works. On the other hand, I want to justify my choices made during the realisation of the method and to focus on their relevance for the discretization/continuity debate. We will see that the systematic separation of sound streams as well as the use of a particular ‘analysis unit’ helps to maintain the rhythmic discourse integrity when interpreting musical data in a context where rhythmic patterns are all distributed into separate units.