Algorave

Studing the relation between digital and analogue ways of experience I went for with  my first algorave. As the site algorave indicates: “Algorave is made from “sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive conditionals“. These days just about all electronic music is made using software, but with artificial barriers between the people creating the software algorithms and the people making the music. Using systems built for creating algorithmic music, such as IXI Lang, overtone, puredata, Max/MSP, SuperCollider, Impromptu or Fluxus, these barriers are broken down, and musicians are able to compose and work live with their music as algorithms”.

I had the experience of seeing  several livecoders doing their performances where codes and dance were constructed on the improvisation, in a feedback between the artists and the people participating. In a subsequent interview with Jorge and Ernesto, livecoders of  Mico Rex, they say that they can feel the input and contribution from the audience to the performance, and that it is a fact that doing the same work alone doesn’ t have the same effect: “there is a weird chemistry that occurs during the performance”, they claim. The power that the livecoding transmits is reflected in Norah Lorway’s words: “I like the idea of being able to make music using lines of code, and am fascinated about the kind of dexterity and variety of sounds which can come from the simplest bits of code”.

Software is helping to dissolve the distinctions between the objects, activities and roles of the acoustic paradigm: roles of composition, performer and instrument in contemporary practice, and, this is altering the ways in which we interact socially and musically (Bown, Eldridge and McCormack ; 2009). This assertion has to do with these new forms of make and experience the music in a way that is explicit in the Temporary Organisation for the Permanence of Live Algorithm Programming (TOPLAP) manifiesto, in which Alex McLean is co-founder and driving force:

We acknowledge that:

  • It is not necessary for a lay audience to understand the code to appreciate it, much as it is not necessary to know how to play guitar in order to appreciate watching a guitar performance.
  • Live coding may be accompanied by an impressive display of manual dexterity and the glorification of the typing interface.
  • Performance involves continuous of interaction, covering perhaps the scope of controls with respect to the parameter space of the artwork, or gestural content, particularly directness of expressive detail. Whilst the traditional haptic rate timing deviations of expressivity in instrumental music are not approximated in code, why repeat the past? No doubt the writing of code and expression of thought will develop its own nuances and customs.

Visibility of the programming process, interaction, software as a creative tool, experience of art, technology and life, just playing music or a kind of new avant-garde art movement, both?

There will be a new algorave next week, where, as is expressed in the algorave site, “all of these performers will make their algorithmic instruments and languages as visible as possible, but the point isn’t to understand the algorithm, but to understand the music; to reclaim technology for the people and to enjoy it together”.  I hope to go, answer some questions and have others 😉

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