Algorave – Bluedot Festival

Bluedot with OVO Energy is an award-winning festival of discovery at the grounds of a deep space observatory. Set against a backdrop of the iconic Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, bluedot combines a truly stellar line-up of music with a ground-breaking programme of live science experiments, expert talks and immersive artworks.

An Algorave is a party where electronic music is generated live from algorithms. The word was coined around 2012, initially as a kind of joke, but has since taken hold with Algoraves taking place in over 40 cities around the world.

At an Algorave, the creation of algorithms are brought into the experience of the music itself. This process is opened up by projecting the code on screens in the venue, so audience members can see how the music they hear is being made. This is often complimented by algorithmically generated visuals projected alongside the code.

Songs for Stylophone Beatbox

Stylophone Beatbox
On Wednesday 27th October I did a performance at Birmingham City University as part of my studies in Digital Arts in Performance. For this performance I wanted to look at the environment and conditions you need in order for errors to occur and to observe them. In order to observe an error you need a very rigid system and regularity. When there’s something that breaks this pattern you know it’s an error.

In this performance each person was given a Stylophone Beatbox, a pair of headphones that played a metronome and sheet music to read from. I acted as a performer and conductor, although my only instructions were when to begin and end, to read the sheet from left to right and play to repeatedly.

The errors in this system occurred due to our individual interpretations of the instructions given to us and lack of understanding of the instrument. An instrument can take years to master and, although the level learning curve is claimed to be quite low, the Stylophone is still a difficult instrument to master, as demonstrated.

You can find each of these scores on UploadDownloadPerform.net

Song for Stylophone Beatbox – Song by Victor Smith for Rolf Harris
Song for Stylophone Beatbox – Hate Me Now
Song for Stylophone Beatbox – Amen Break

Lost in the Wood #1

For the last six months or so I’ve been a regular guest on the Lost in The Wood radio show. Myself and the shows host, Nancy Bennie, have been hard at work to bring you the the first issue of the Lost in the Wood zine!

You can also view individual pages on flickr.

The first issue features an interview with the awesome Stinky Wizzleteat and articles and illustrations from Birmingham’s finest.

Printed copies will become available soon, as will details of how to get involved with the next one. Keep an eye on the blog for more updates.

Enjoy!

Chiptune Marching Band

On Saturday 24th October I was at Space Studios in London to attend the Chiptune Marching Band workshop. I was really excited to go to this as I haven’t had a chance to dedicate my time to a single project with my breadboard and Arduino board.

Chiptune Marching Band (by hellocatfood) Chiptune Marching Band (by hellocatfood) Chiptune Marching Band (by hellocatfood)

After introductions we got down to making our noise making device. Essentially we were following instructions from a booklet, but more in depth explanations to how the different parts work were available if requested. My device had a light sensor which altered my sound, as shown below.

Once we finished our devices, which happened rather quickly, we took to the streets of Hackney to engage the masses in our noise!

Chiptune Marching Band (by hellocatfood) Chiptune Marching Band (by hellocatfood) Chiptune Marching Band (by hellocatfood)

There was a performance from pixelh8, Dave Giffiths (who I saw at OpenLab earlier this year) and others later on in the evening, but a slow train back home meant I had to miss it.

As usual this is exactly the sort of thing I’d like to see happening in Birmingham and the West Midlands. fizzPOP, which I run with help from Nikki and others, and 8Bit Lounge are going some way to filling this void and hopefully there’s some good news coming up in the next few days.

libre.fm

basic_logo

Libre FM logo Copyright (c) FooCorp, CC-BY-SA 3.0 or later

I’ve visited libre.fm a few times and, from the interface, it seems like it’s trying to act as a replacement or alternative to last.fm. Whilst I think this is a good idea I think libre.fm should be different somehow. Yes, the will value your privacy more than last.fm and the source code for the website will be available to everyone, but what could be different about the way that it functions?

There is a lot of free music out there online. I don’t mean the ‘free’ music you can get illegally, but freely availble. Websites like Jamendo and archive.org let people upload their music and offer it for free on their terms. Think of it this way: you’re free to download, share and use the music however you want, but if you want to use it commercially (make money from it) you’ve gotta pay, which seems fair in my opinion.

There’s a lot of this free music out there but I doubt many people know about it. Using last.fm people are recommended music by any artist, whether they offer their music for free or not. It’s unique selling point is that it presents this music to the users, rather than them having to search for it. What about if there was a recommendations website that only recommended music similar to your tastes but from free artists and musicians only? This is a niche I think libre.fm could fill. It fits exactly in with the ethos of the copyleft movement and could help propel more underground musicians.

libre.fm is still a very new service, so we’ve yet to see where it goes. I do hope this is one option they consider.

Gameboy Video

Now that I have the Gameboy Camera and Printer, LSDJ and will soon have the Transferer and 32M Cartridges I’m hoping to make something like this

One thing I also really like is this dance piece:

I would’ve like to have seen the dancers incorporate more erratic movement and even some sort of costumes (Princess Peach and Mario perhaps), but overall I think it shows that Gameboy Music isn’t just for the hobbyist

Stewarding at Festivals with Oxfam this Summer

I’m only mentioning this once, as I get asked about it every year, sometimes by the same people.

In the Summer months I usually steward at festivals with Oxfam. I’ve been doing this since 2005 and it really is a great experience for a great cause. Applications for the general public opened yesterday (31st March), so apply now to avoid disappointment.

Although not my primary reasons for doing this (I’ve supported Oxfam in other ways for years) some of the benefits of stewarding with Oxfam, from my point of view, include:

  • By paying a £165 depost you can steward at as many festivals as they cater for (up to ten festivasl)
  • You’ll be helping a great cause.
  • In my experience of Glastonbury and Reading the separate stewards camping area is safer (though not completely), cleaner (depending on the weather) and you get to know lots of friendly people, ’cause you’re all there for one common purpose
  • Free meal tickets! These (usually) equal one ticket for each day of your shifts. It may not sound like a lot, but trust me, it is!
  • In my experience of stewarding at Reading we’re allound to walk through the backstage areas to access other stewarding areas, which means there’s a small chance you might meet some of the performers/semi famous people (sorry, had to brag), though don’t count on it, especially at Glastonbury. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
  • The responsibilities and shifts aren’t taxing, but it’s a great experience if you want to get into running events and such
  • You’ll be helping a great cause. DUH!
  • When you’re not on one of your eight-hour shifts you’re free to see the festival! In my experience of stewarding at Reading many of the shift posts/locations are actually situated in or near music tents, so whilst you’re on shift you’ll see acts and when you’re not you can see more! However, some shift posts aren’t located in or near music tents.
  • I’ll be there
  • You get the £165 deposit back upon them recieveing notification that you’ve completed all of your shifts, which is usually around November

By the time you’ve read this the Glastonbury vacancies may have already been filled, but there’s plenty of other festivals to choose from. This is great for anyone who supports Oxfam or who just couldn’t get a Reading/Leeds or Glastonbury Festival ticket.

Oh yeah, it’s all volunteer work, so you wont be paid.

Apply, damn you! If you’ve got the Summer free and £165 to lend you’ve got no excuse 😉

If You Go Down In The Woods Today

A followup to the last post. Here’s the blurb from the video caption:

Insectoid went to Earlswood and engaged in a silent, collaborative painting experiment.

We decided the basic plan beforehand, but no verbal communication took place during the 2.5 hours of painting.

The process of carrying back to the studio had an effect on some sections of the painting

Insectoid is now on last.fm, so get scrobbling!

VJing

I need to get more done on my vjing work. So far I’ve done very little of it, and even less djing. I’ve been messing around with Pure Data, Xaos and Processing in an attempt to get some live processed images, and I’m now taking a peek at Ben Neal‘s Phlumx software, but what I wonder is if I need to go look at more professional software…

Here’s a sample of what I’ve done. It was for a project at university to create a video about ‘Speed’ (created in Adobe Premier).