Callout for Scottish algo-ravers 16-2-2019

I’m looking for music and/or visual artists working with live code who are interested in joining me for an improvised algorave as part of Sound Thought 2019.

‘Livecoding’ is a practice where creative artists who work with computer code perform live, often producing music and/or visuals, with the audience typically able to watch the evolution of the code on a projected screen. ‘Algorave’ is a subgenre where the aim is to produce beat-driven music and/or visuals for dancing.

Examples of the kind of software we’re talking about include:

Sonic Pi

The Force

More about algorave and livecoding

Drop  me an email on if interested!

werk stadig

Here is the piece I contributed to the Sounding Nature project on Cities and Memory:

It is a reworking of an audio file called ‘093 SOUTH AFRICA savannah polyrhythms’. As someone who spent part of their childhood in South Africa, the bird sounds in the source recording are very familiar to me: most particularly the distinctive monotonous call of Streptopelia capicola, the Ring-necked Dove, or, as I used to call it, the Cape Turtle Dove, the name given in the edition of Roberts’ Birds of Southern Africa that I owned at the time. In the current edition of Roberts the call is transliterated as ‘work harder’, but in the older volume it is given in Afrikaans as ‘werk stadig’ which, given the slightly harsher sound of that language, actually works rather better.

I always thought ‘werk stadig’ meant ‘work steadily’ but it seems a more accurate translation would be ‘work slowly’. Whichever way: for several years now I have been working steadily, or slowly, through a process of learning the SuperCollider programming language. This composition is to some extent a study in that language: yet another attempt to use livecoding approaches as a means to develop a fixed piece. New ideas in this work include FFT as a means of cleaning up the original recording, and the use of a Routine to script JITLib objects in time.

Interview at Sheffield Algorave

A short interview that Reverb Magazine did with me at the Sheffield Algorave 01/09/2018 – talking about combining livecoding, gamelan samples, and trumpet playing.

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.

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 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…