Dance bands in Chester: An evolving professional networkThis thesis addresses the live music scene in Chester in the mid-20th Century, and in particular jazz-based styles of dance music, played for the most part by local musicians. The basis of the study is a set of interviews with musicians, promoters and fans who were all active in the Chester area during the period between 1925 and 2008, in settings ranging from military bands and youth clubs to resident dance hall bands, touring concert parties, summer season shows and radio broadcasts. Thirty interviews were undertaken, and along with many hours of taped conversation, these yielded over 200 photographs and other pieces of evidence In this thesis I have synthesised existing theoretical approaches from a number of fields to account for the large number of part-time dance-band musicians who were active in the Chester area, especially during World War II and in the decade that followed. Ideas from popular music studies and jazz studies were part of this framework, but were not sufficient, as both fields have historically had a tendency to concentrate on musicians and places considered to be highly significant or exceptionally influential, rather than routine and local. I have therefore turned to other disciplines in search of appropriate analytical approaches, and used ideas from geography, economics and sociology as alternative lenses through which to view the problem. In the process, I have shown that this dance band scene grew from the people and entertainment infrastructure of the previous, inter-war, period. In turn, the musicians, promoters and venues of the dance band scene, combined with changes in technology and society which fundamentally changed the economics of live entertainment, formed essential parts of the environment in which much better-known rock and pop musicians of the 1960s and 70s emerged and developed.
Moments of repetition in the process of art production: Temporalities, labour, appropriations and authorshipThis practice based PhD is an enquiry into repetition found in relation to the visual art object, specifically the repetition that operates within the process of art production. There is some precedence for the consideration of repetition observed as a repeated subject or object, and especially the Warholian like repeated image. Rosalind Krauss observed in The Originality of the Avant-Garde: A Postmodernist Repetition that many artists are 'condemned to repeating as if by compulsion, the logically fraudulent original' (1981). This research considers a different presentation of repetition, the repeated action of labour that accumulates during the process of production. A body of artworks, that for the purpose of the research I describe as labourwork, was conceived and made with the concerns of repetition at the core of its process. Personal reflection and a close critical analysis of each labourwork, allowed for the identification of a number of issues that are significant to the consideration of repetition as it relates to the process of production. They include 'failure through repetition1, 'temporality', 'erasure' and 'shifting authorships'. The emergent themes are considered within the thesis, where broader theories of repetition are addressed in order to position this form of art production within a larger theoretical framework. The purpose of the repeated action within the labourworks was found to be more complex than a means to an end. It was not just a prerequisite to forming a critical mass or achieving a particular form. When observed from the standpoint of different schema such as time, the simulacra, mimesis or theories of replication, the repetition within the labourwork was observed to be identified within many different constructs. It was seen to affect the object, its relation to the viewer, authorship and the subject. Yet, these multifarious roles are not differentiated within the single word 'repetition'. The conclusion to this thesis summarises the effect repetition has been found to have within the labourworks, separating out its roles and offering opportunities to identify its individual operations, over-and-above the general term 'Repetition'.
The 'auto cannibal'The relentless triumph of technology is increasingly dismissive of the human desire for interaction; we are deprived of experiences with the ordinary and become less aware of the potential such objects contain. The author primarily considers art as a means of understanding the world and his practice is based on personal observations and autonomous processes. This can often lead to an over-analysis of the mundane, which is directly confronted in each of my projects through an enthusiasm for the objects we not only take for granted, but do so to the extent that we barely notice their existence. Drawing inspiration from literature, philosophy and ideas which surround permanence in a society which is frequently considered throwaway, the author is influenced by personal insecurities and have developed a creative style that not only explores construction - in the obsessive means by which a work is made; but also one that celebrates the process of destruction - in that the materials the author uses have the potential to instigate their own demise in a process I generally refer to as autocannibalism.
Evading do-re-mi: Destruction and utopia: A study of Einstürzende NeubautenThis thesis represents the first comprehensive examination in English of the work of the Berlin-based music collective, Einstürzende Neubauten. It intends to offer evidence that the sonic forays of this group have not only defined a particular cultural moment but have also created new musical possibilities (to appropriate words from Brandon LaBelle). It does this by investigating why the work of these musicians is important within contemporary music, what cultural concerns their music reflects and how the music is created, performed and disseminated. These questions are explored through a range of contexts, including post-war Berlin, Germany’s problematic relationship with music, the development of Musique Concrète, Noise/Music and strategies for creative independence. There is a detailed analysis of Neubauten’s performance and textual techniques. This thesis argues that Einstürzende Neubauten are one of the few examples of ‘rock-based’ artists who have been able to sustain a breadth and depth of work over a number of years while remaining experimental and open to development; that their work offers evidence that they are one of the most complete examples of Artaudian practice in contemporary performance and that their Supporter Initiative (2002-2007) provided a unique working strategy for independence of the consumerist model of music. Finally, it argues that their work helps to present the case for the re-evaulation of European, non-English language contemporary music. Note -this version contains German spellings, corrected after final submission at the author's request.