Streaming live coding

I got a tweet the other day, pointing to a rather strange article about live coding on what looked like a fake news website designed to optimise search engine results (which I am therefore not linking to). Not only did the article contain a lot of links to the livecoding.tv video streaming website (aimed at software developers sharing their screens, rather than live coding as we know it), it was also written by livecoding.tv themselves. It mentioned me, but halfway through goes from talking about my live coding software TidalCycles, to Jay-Z’s music streaming service TIDAL.

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Looking a bit closer and the twitter account which tweeted the link at me looked a bit strange, too.. Lots of links to the afore-mentioned website.

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Doing a reverse image search on the image on their profile, and I find out their true identity, via a stock photo website, namely “Young man drinking water in forest, smiling, portrait.

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A handsome chap, that’s for sure. This has made me wonder a bit about the strange feeling I had when I tried out streaming to this website.. There was something off about it, not only the opportunity to make yourself available for ‘private streaming sessions’ which seemed to have been borrowed from a very different business model, but also the people who would drop in to the chat, ask unrelated questions and then disappear. Just how far can these streaming websites go with bots? If in web 3.0 the users are the product, who exactly are we being sold to? Are we streaming to posthuman overlords?

Anyway I deleted my videos from this website a while back, in part due to their worrying treatment of one of their users, and these days I either stream to the friendlier (and free/open source) watchpeoplecode.com, or to youtube live events via my own nginx server (previously).

Oxford Handbook on Algorithmic Music – draft ToC

Part of the reason I might have been a bit slow the past year or so – the draft table of contents (subject to change) for the Oxford Handbook on Algorithmic Music that I’ve been editing with Roger Dean. Amazing work by amazing people including many superheroes of mine. Still some work to do, but hopefully out this year!

Section 1: Grounding algorithmic music
1/ Algorithmic music: an introduction to the field (Alex McLean and Roger Dean)
2/ Algorithmic music and the philosophy of time (Julian Rohrhuber)
3/ Action and perception: embodying algorithms and the extended mind (Palle Dahlstedt)
4/ Origins of algorithmic thinking in music (Nick Collins)
5/ Algorithmic Thinking and Central Javanese Gamelan (Charles Matthews)

Perspectives on Practice A
6/ Thoughts on Composing with Algorithms (Laurie Spiegel)
7/ Mexico and India: diversifying and expanding the live coding community (Alexandra Cárdenas)
8/ Deautomatization of Breakfast Perceptions (Renate Wieser)
9/ Why do we want our computers to improvise? (George Lewis)

Section 2: What can algorithms in music do?
10/ Compositions Created with Constraint Programming (Torsten Anders)
11/ Linking sonic aesthetics with mathematical theories (Andy Milne)
12/ The Machine Learning Algorithm As Creative Musical Tool (Rebecca Fiebrink and Baptiste Caramiaux)
13/ Biologically-Inspired and Agent-Based Algorithms for Music (Alice Eldridge and Ollie Bown)
14/ Performing with Patterns of Time (Thor Magnusson, Alex McLean)
15/ Computational Creativity and Live Algorithms (Geraint Wiggins and Jamie Forth)
16/ Tensions and Techniques in Live Coding Performance (Charlie Roberts and Graham Wakefield)

Perspectives on Practice B
17/ When Algorithms Meet Machines (Sarah Angliss)
18/ Notes on Pattern Synthesis (Mark Fell)
19/ Algorithms and music (Kristin Erickson)

Section 3: Purposes of algorithms for the music maker
20/ Network music and the algorithmic ensemble (David Ogborn)
21/ Sonification != music (Carla Scaletti)
22/ Color is the Keyboard: Transcoding from Visual to Sonic (Margaret Schedel)
23/ Designing interfaces for musical algorithms (Jamie Bullock)
24/ Ecooperatic Music Game Theory (David Kanaga)
25/ Algorithmic Spatialisation (Jan C Schacher)

Perspectives on Practice C
26/ Form, chaos and the nuance of beauty (Mileece I’Anson)
27/ Beyond Me (Kaffe Matthews)
28/ Mathematical theory in music practice (Jan Beran)
29/ Thoughts on algorithmic practice (Warren Burt)

Section 4: Algorithmic Culture
30/ The audience reception of algorithmic music (Mary Simoni)
31/ The sociology of algorithmic music (Christopher Haworth)
32/ Algorithms across music and computing education (Andrew Brown)
33/ Towards a Tactical Media Archaeology of Algorithmic Music (Geoff Cox and Morten Riis)
34/ Algorithmic music for mass consumption and universal production (Yuli Levtov)

Luddites

Reading about the tactics of Luddites, a mysterious, unnamed, disorganised collective, spread out over a large geographical area, doing denial of service attacks on the technology of large corporations, with the government laughing at them while failing to keep up with them, all under the guise of a mysterious fictional character (“General Ludd”). Reminds me of Anonymous..

Eulerroom tech

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I’m running an EulerRoom event this Saturday, and have the tech about ready for it..

It’ll be a live event in Sheffield, streamed online, and I want the video stream to say who is playing when. A complication is that there will be four stacks of speakers, for multichannel sound..

For the scheduling, I’m using an old Perl script I wrote for a headphone event over ten years ago. It has.. evolved over this time. But it will display who is playing now and next for on the wall for the local people, and save that out to a file, for the streaming software (the excellent obs) to pick up and render on the video. OBS will take two webcam feeds which I’ll be able to switch between/blend on the night.

For the audio, I’m taking a feed from my mixer of the four outputs that are also going to the four speaker stacks (of the phenomenal dangernoise soundsystem) and bringing them into puredata (via a focusrite 6i6 sound module). I then have a simple puredata patch which uses the soundhack +binaural~ object to turn the quadrophonic audio into binaural stereo.. So those listening on headphones will still get the ‘3d’ (actually 2d, as opposed to the usual 1d.. Well I guess still 1d but trying to follow a circle around you instead of a line in front) audio.

This then gets fed into OBS (routed with jack audio, all running under linux mint), which then streams using the RTMP protocol up to my server  (running nginx with RTMP), which then forwards the stream on to youtube live (which should take plenty of listeners) and watchpeoplecode.com (which will work for those who aren’t allowed to watch youtube live for licensing reasons, e.g. those in Germany).

That’s it! Oh and all the graphic design is by the awesome David Palmer.

Hopefully it all works. If so, you’ll be able to watch it on http://eulerroom.com/live/

Upcoming events

Things coming up..

  • Gravitational Waves in Sheffield, a new series of events planned with UoSheffield Sound Studios. The first one will be on this Friday 4th March, curated by Vanessa Massera and myself. It’ll be in celebration of the upcoming International Womens’ day.
  • On the 10th March I’ll start my ODI sound art residency.. Looking forward to getting into that!
  • Then going to FoAM Kernow in Penryn for the Tanglebots workshop on Sunday 20th March, a family workshop making robots to make tangles.
  • While in Cornwall I’ll be performing with Dave as Slub on Friday 25th March, streaming live to the SuperCollider 20 year birthday party in New York City.
  • Then back to Sheffield for EulerRoom on 9th April, another new series of events I’m doing, with focus on live stream. The first one will be multichannel, featuring the excellent Joanne Armitage and Calum Gunn, plus myself as resident live coder.  It’ll be multichannel as well, with four stacks of dangernoise PA, bang.
  • Further ahead I’ll be giving a talk at the excellently named AHEM conference on unravelling live coding on the 15th April, and a couple of weeks later joining an Algorave tour around Leeds, Newcastle and London..

Open access journals

I asked around the social media, “What are the good open access journals in digital arts, computer music etc?” Motivated by deciding that once I get some commitments out of the way, I’m not going to write for closed access publication any more, especially not with public funds. The results so far, in no particular order:

Interview in The Wire magazine

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I had an enjoyable, far-reaching chat with Emily Bick and the results are in the March issue of The Wire magazine. Emily has managed to fit in quite a lot about Algorave, Slub, Canute, Tidal, Weaving Codes and Susanne Palzer. The last time live coding was featured was March 2008, in a review of the first (and so far, last) TOPLAP CD including a track from Slub:

A prehistory of Live Coding TOPLAP CD
Four years ago, in a smoky bar in Hamburg, Toplap was formed — an organisation dedicated to promoting live algorithm programming. So far, so niche. Defying expectation however, it has since exploded into a fully functioning electronic music scene, with hundreds of practitioners improvising with live coding languages such as SuperCollider and ChucK. That is, writing, rewriting and modifying music software on the fly during performance (often with the rapidly changing code projected on a screen).

The cream of this scene’s live recorded output has now been collated on Toplap’s inaugural release. Despite superficially geeky origins — many performers are coders first, musicians second — the music here is stacked with depth, guts and soul. Opener “Water Surface” by Ron Kuivila is a featherlight study, shimmering with static broken by bursts of bee-like feedback. In contrast, The Hub’s “Hub x 6” is an
analogue-style fun fest of farty trumpet bursts and spaceship noise. RedFrik’s ticklish “Aug 19” is Luke Vibert-style acid, but with enough rhythmic aberrations to take it beyond twee. “20060401folded” by scene forerunners Slub is a compelling, edgy slice of rollercoaster Techno. In truth, it’s hard to believe much of the music here is essentially freewheeling software reined in by finger tapping humans. Live coding has so far flourished, but under a bushel. Perhaps it’s time the rest of us got a look in.  Susanna Glaser

I think it’s a nice bushel, I hope we can stay there a bit longer.