DMSA’s own Dr Stephen Mallinder is the cover star of the August 2022 edition of Electronic Sound Magazine.
“You find us in the Grand Parade Cafe & Canteen at Brighton University’s City campus. The seaside is just down there and a short stroll that way is the city centre. On the other side of the floor-to-ceiling windows, the quadrangle is starting to fill with the lunchtime hubbub of students.
Some of them will be on the Digital Music and Sound Arts degree course, one of the tutors of which is Stephen Mallinder. That’ll be Dr Mallinder to you. His PhD thesis, ‘Movement: Journey Of The Beat’, addresses “the trajectory and transition of popular culture through the modality of rhythm”. He’s also written academic papers and articles tackling subjects like the music of second-tier cities, the night-time economy, collaborative soundscapes, and the changing perceptions of music practices. It’s unusual to find such an influential artist deconstructing their own work and experiences in this rigorous way. But then Mallinder is not your usual anything […]”
“My morning is spent tagging along with Mal as he does the rounds, like a doctor. A disco doctor. We flit in and out of recording studios, workshops and live spaces, the echoey corridors and staircases buzzing with students many of them getting ready for the final year degree shows, while passing colleagues briefly stop for a chat and a joke.
In one lab, we find a pile of children’s electronic toys with the guts ripped out of them, their sounds cards being hacked for making very different sorts of noise. We crash an MA tutorial and meet a student who has been working on a concept using the massive reverb in the disused oil tanks at the Inchindown Fuel Depot, an abandoned military storage facility near Invergordon in the Scottish Highlands.
It seems incongruous that this course exists alongside fine artists, illustrators, sculptors and printmakers. So my first question is, what exactly is a Digital Music and Sound Arts degree? “It’s an art course… but with sound” explains Mal as we head for the canteen. “Our second-year students are currently doing group work, for example, and we’ve got one lot using a corridor with speakers in the ceiling to create linear sound. There are groups working on spatialisation, immersive sound, resonance, and creating a performance with shortwave radio.”
You can see why he’s at home here. The ideas flying around aren’t far off the sort of thinking evident in the loft of Chris Watson’s house in Sheffield at the dawn of Cabaret Voltaire […]”