There is an increased recognition that musical materials are not passive; they possess the creative potential to influence digital music production. Yet, many questions remain unanswered about how materials impact digital musicking. This project will combine Actor-Network-Theory (ANT), assemblage theory, vital materialism and musical analysis to explore the materiality of digital music. The research will differ from previous studies of non-humans in digital music by centring on the dynamic processes, rather than static objects, of studio creativity. It will be supported by the observation of the recording and production practices at Kingston University’s Visconti Studio. This research will pinpoint how digital materials affect the music-making process and theorise their agency.
This research will contribute to the growing field of musical materialism by documenting the emergence of a musical form in which the materials themselves have as much agency as the musicians interacting with them. With a methodology that is material both in theory and in practice, the research contributes to the urgent effort of finding an ecological understanding of digital music. The project will present musicians as working in an ecosystem of active materials and it will highlight the ecological materials that are involved in digital music production. It will shed light on the interaction between human and non-human material agencies in the co-creative processes of digital musicking.