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PhD Student
Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas | Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Av. de Berna, n.º 26 C
1069-061 Lisboa
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Tel: (+351) 21 790 83 00 (ext. 1583)


Guillermo de Llera Blanes currently researches at the Ethnomusicology Institute - (INET-MD), and is undertaking his PhD studies at the New University of Lisbon. He is a relief instructor for the “World Music Composition Styles” course at Berklee Online – Berklee College of Music’s online branch; CEO at Kaminari Records; member of the cult-band Primitive Reason, and an independent multi-media artist. Guillermo has fostered a career as a multi-instrumental performer and a composer of counter-paradigmatic music for over three decades. He has specialized in the practices of musical instruments from various cultures, such as the Indian tablas, North & West African percussion, Australian Didgeridoo and Turkish Saz - among others. He currently investigates various types of digital controllers, conducting research on the creative potentialities that surge forward from different configurations in hardware and software. His dedication to musical remix and cross-fertilization was at the root of his dissertation, entitled “Controllers as Musical Instruments, Controllerism as Musical Practice – studies for a new 21st century musical culture, wherein he traced the logics that inform different music-making traditions, such as Dub mixing or Tabla solo performance, and equating them with modern creative methodologies such as sample-based composition and controllerism as a performance practice. 

Ciência Vitae
  |  ORCID

Doctoral Project
Musiking in Flux: Exploring the Flow of Creativity, New Playabilities and the Bridging of Traditions in Controller Manufacture and Controllerism - The Remix Axis
The role and place of music Controllers in contemporary musical culture(s) is  pivotal to my research. As is the problematization of the role of Controllerism in musical practices and processes taking place in current times. Through various case studies undertaken in scenarios I seek challenge centre-periphery models. This is conducted by exploring the dichotomy of traditional versus contemporary musical practices, as well as musical instrument playing languages – which I chose to term simply as playabilities. The language of a musical instrument is – from this perspective – determined by potentialities arising from its physical form and constituent parts, coupled with practical methods of ‘sounding’  the instrument, - as well as societal and cultural inputs as to what constitutes aesthetic and artistic value.
I have opted to further explore various domains that inform the ethos of Controller manufacture as well as the consequential evolution of Controllerism as a musical practice, such as Remix and DIY cultures. This includes their roles and impact upon processes of musical recyclability, re-signification, hybridism, musiking ecologies and heritagization practices. Also, a movement towards renewed understandings of the importance of flow and creativity, led by artists, programmers, and manufacturers big and small is tantamount for this field of study. 
Recent outcries in academic circles calling for the exploration of methods working towards the decolonization of ethnomusicology and departure from west-centric modes of analysis, interpretation and understanding. My work – which also deals with centrisms of its own – answers with alternative methodologies such as graphic song maps, musical analyses not resorting to western notation, geo-located audio-visual essays and compositions, an interview-based remix transcription method entitled RiY3, among others.
In this way an attempt is made to add value to the field of Ethnomusicology by focusing on processes of social musical signification taking place through the use of Controllers and the practice of Controllerism in their multiple guises. Investigations into the manner in which such current practices are used to “construct, evoke or mark alterity of a musical or socio-cultural kind” (Born & Hesmondalgh, 2000:2) in a world where centralities, peripheries and semi-peripheries (Wallerstein, 2004) emerge, and where the local and the global have given way to the multiple glocals (Swyngedouw, 1992a, 1992b, 2004), allow us to touch upon one of the central paradoxes of Ethnomusicology: how the social is articulated through music.
Keywords: Alterity, Authenticity, Controllers, Controllerism, Creativity, DIY, Flow, Identity, Musical Instruments, Performance, Remix. 
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (PD/BD/150612/2020).