Raving the netbook again

Once again happily proving to myself how possible it is to work with open-source software on basic hardware. Just upgraded to Ubuntu Studio 18.04 on a refurb 11″ Dell Inspiron netbook, and built SuperCollider 3.9.3 from source. Here’s an algorave-ish test track made using this setup:


Some new code idioms:


is easier to type than


and similarly


instead of

Pstutter(32, Pseq([2,6,4,7],inf))




Livecoding Erraid

watching sunset from the observatory

On a number of occasions I have used sounds collected at a particular location as a coherent set of resources for a livecoded set. For the last week I’ve been in retreat on with the community on the isle of Erraid, which has been a welcome break from the city!

One of the features of the island is the ‘observatory’. This is a circular tin structure, about two meters across by three high: a restored remnant of the building of the Dubh Artach lighthouse that took place there between 1867 and 1872.

The sound world inside this unusual structure is distinctive. I took some recordings (available on freesound.org, or they will be once the finish uploading), that I am going to be using in a livecoded SuperCollider improvisation this Monday during one of the Sonic Nights series at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where staff and students diffuse new electroacoustic works on a multi-channel sound system. If it seems practical, I may stream the performance as well.

Not algorave

I’m interested in now taking the SuperCollider livecoding techniques that I’ve developed in the context of algorave and applying them to the creation of fixed media sound works. Here is one, using some prepared piano samples that Dr Kurt James Werner has been kind enough to put online.

It’s not perfect: there is still a strong element of improvisation in this way of working, and there are places in this track where, on listening back, I might have wished to have performed differently. A compromise, perhaps, between the raw and the cooked.

Livecode improvisation with Anne-Liis Poll

As part of the team that organised the third METRIC Improvisation Intensive at the Royal Conservatoire of Glasgow, I did not have as much time as I might have liked to improvise myself. I was pleased however to be joined for an impromptu livecoded session by Anne-Liis Poll, Professor of Improvisation at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre:

This did not quite turn out the way I had intended! In recent work I have been looking to find a way to respond in code to live human improvisations: this session turned into more of an algorave-ish groove built up from mechanical trumpet sounds, over which Anne-Liis worked with the voice. Even so, this was quite succesful. I hope to do more playing with other people along these lines.

Livecoding again


Back at the livecoding again. A couple of weeks ago, a quite succesful workshop for the students on the Interactive Composition module at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Coming up: a couple of things. In March there is going to be another long-form online algorave that I’ll be contributing a half-hour set to, Friday 16th at 1330 GMT. In April the METRIC Intensive III at the RCS sees staff and students converge on Glasgow for a week of improvisation: again, as well as leading some gamelan improvisation, expect to be SuperColliding as well.

Below, a more-or-less unedited trial run of some new stuff tonight: specifically, a collection of samples made purely from mechanical sounds of my trumpet, close-miked: springs, valve noise, slide pops and so forth.

Giving a workshop in Jakarta

My institution, The Royal Conservatoire of Glasgow, have sent me on a trip to make connections with a number of potential partners in Indonesia, including the UPH Conservatory of Music, the Jakarta Institute of Arts (IKJ), and Institut Seni Indonesia Surakarta (ISI Solo). I’ll also be visiting Singapore to see Setan Jawa, and talk to the producers about bringing this to Glasgow for a Festival of Gamelan and the Moving Image that we are planning here for September.

Here’s the poster for a workshop I’ll be giving at UPH, that will take in a livecoding demo and a performance of Steadily-Stop! alongside an analysis of Antichthon.

Ubuntu Studio, SuperCollider, Dell Inspirion 11 3000 – success!

Having a very positive experience at the moment with Ubuntu Studio 17.04 running SuperCollider 3.8.0 on a £150 refurb 11″ Dell Inspiron. Apart from an initial UEFI glitch with getting it to boot, Ubuntu Studio installed easily and works seamlessly so far. The SuperCollider install was made simple by this script install_supercollider_sc3plugins_buntu.sh from @theseansco  – thanks Sean! When it came to actually booting SuperCollider, I did not even need to mess around with Jack or any other at all, everything on the audio side seems to just work. Now to push it a little harder…