Tim Exile’s Online Jam – The Musical Event of 2011?

Engaging his audience in an age of disinterested online socialising, Rowan looks at the music of Tim Exile.

There is a certain irony that in a hyperconnected age we are still no more familiar with the strangers that we are potentially connected to via the internet. For example, much of Twitter documents the mundane details of other’s lives (Tyler, The Creator – I’m looking at you), which we would not normally be privy to. However, in reality this is providing little more than an illusion of intimacy as these relationships are rarely reciprocal; a ‘one-way’ relationship is something of an oxymoron.

Whilst it is true that there are retweets and replies, I can’t help but suspect that there is a bias in favour of a popular tweeter – their number of followers will almost invariably dwarf the number of people that they follow. In summary, despite all the promise of ‘web 2.0’ we are often little more than spectators, which in effect is no different than our experience would be through other media.

In this respect Tim Exile appears to be going against the grain and truly engaging with his audience. His new ‘online jam’ platform timexile.tv is the latest in a series of interactive music projects that really are pushing the envelope with the use of technology in a way that few others (to my knowledge) have. The platform allows any audience member to upload sounds via Soundcloud to Tim who then mixes, mashes and contorts the sounds together; all in real time, all of which is viewable on a live video feed.

What really excites me is that during the jam the audience know just as little about what direction the music will take as the performer,  and so it feels more of a shared experience, rather than the traditional audience/performer dichotomy. This seems particularly relevant to electronic music; most people can understand how guitars/drums/bass are played, but there is a much larger knowledge gap with the creation of electronic music. This I believe reinforces the performer as ‘expert’ and audience as ‘naive’, which in my experience, means that an electronic performance very rarely excites me in the same way that a hardcore gig in a sweaty basement might.

Despite being a virtual experience, watching the first online jam last week was genuinely gripping, not to mention hilarious ( ‘put a danke on it’ being a particularly absurd highlight) and was almost certainly my favourite music related event of the year.

The next jam takes place on the 27th of August, 8PM UK time, be there. For the time being, here’s the audio of the previous jam.

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