What do you think?
In mid-March, opposite the South By Southwest music and technology festival in Austin, TX, the Couch By Couchwest virtual festival took place on the Internet, with contributors uploading their performances and festival "attendees" viewing the submissions on YouTube and similar. (They are still up, but "CXCW" has closed for 2012.) One such performance was by Canadian DJ Jay.J.Fresh and Australian folk singer Misdivine. The result mixed two nationalities, two styles, two genres, and two hemispheres -- all without the collaborators ever having met in person. They have done a few other collaborations which can be found on Misdivine's MySpace page, but this one has a video that tells the story in greater detail:
I'm certainly not the first person to highlight this video, and I won't pretend otherwise; but this does make me wonder a bit about distance-collaboration. Using recorded sound means that while you don't always have the immediacy of live performance (which, for some in the contra community, makes the idea a complete non-starter in that context), there is the possibility of doing "virtual tours," with a DJ in one part of the world potentially playing a gig in another part through videochat or similar -- or for that matter, having different members of an acoustic band be in different locales but play the same contra. I don't know if the technology is quite good enough yet to handle that kind of scale, but it's an interesting possibility (about which I haven't decided my opinion, yet).
What do you think?
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This project has concluded as of mid-2013 (with an epilogue posted mid-2016) but we hope to see you soon on a contra dance floor! Meanwhile, head over to our Facebook page for upcoming techno contra events and other items of interest.
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I dance with abandon. I play with glowsticks. I look for music that is conducive to one or both. I play behind cameras. I write about all of the above. I'm based in Glen Echo's contra dance community outside of Washington, D.C., but I'm happy to go dance afield when I can. Lather, rinse, repeat. Always repeat.
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