Category Archives: misc

Appearances elsewhere

2013-04-17 12.49.15I got a couple of kind mentions etc lately:

That’s it! Hopefully I will survive all this attention.

New projects and events

Taking stock of the new and fast-developing projects I’m involved with.

Sound Choreography <> Body Code

A performance which creates a feedback loop through code, music, choreography, dance and
back through code, in collaboration with Kate Sicchio. First performance is this Friday at Audio:Visual:Motion in Manchester. The sourcecode for the sound choreographer component is already available, which choreographs using a shifting, sound-reactive diagram. I’m working on my visual programming language Texture as part of this too, which Kate will be disrupting via computer vision..


Collaborating with other live coders and other musicians/video artists using algorithms, creating events which shift focus back on the audience having a seriously good time. A work in progress, but upcoming events are already planned in Brighton, London (onboard the MS Stubnitz!), Karlsruhe and Sydney. More info

Declaration Kriole

Working with world music band Rafiki Jazz, making a new Kriole based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I’ll be working with a puppeteer, giving a puppet a live coded voice which sings in this new language. The puppet will hopefully become a new member of the band, created through interaction within the band. First recording session soon, with live performances to follow fairly soon after. One of the more ambitious projects I’ve been involved with!

Microphone II

Working with EunJoo Shin on a new version of the Microphone. Our previous version got accepted to a couple of big international festivals, but they turned out to be too big to ship! So the next iteration will have a new body, and more of a visual focus.


Slub world is a on-line commission from the Arnolfini: “You are invited to join a new, on-line, sonic world co-inhabited by beatboxing robots. Participants will be able to make music together by reprogramming their environment in a specially invented language, based on state-of-the-art intarsia, campanology and canntaireachd technology. The result will be a cross between a sound poetry slam, yarn bombing, and a live coded algorave, experienced entirely through text and sound.” All for launch in May.. Another ambitious project then.

Dagstuhl seminar: Collaboration and Learning through Live Coding

Co-organising a Dagstuhl seminar bringing together leading thinkers in programming experience design, computing education and live coding.

Plus more in the pipeline, including neuroimaging and programming, a sound visualisation project at Sage Gateshead and hopefully a return of the live interfaces conference and live notation project.

Audio blast festival

Audio blast is a streaming festival by apo33, running in both Nantes and Piksel festival in Bergen.

I’m performing this Saturday November 24th, for an hour from 7pm GMT (8pm CET).  I’ll be streaming quadrophonic sound from my studio in Sheffield, which will be played in both spaces, with a stream for remote listeners from two AKG mics in one of the spaces.  More info and link to the network stream on the website.  If anyone wants to pop by Sheffield for a listen and beer they’re welcome too :)

SmoothDirt programme notes

I’m doing a few solo performances over the next days, in Cambridge, Uxbridge and Birmingbridge.  Here’s the programme notes/rationale;

Yaxu – SmoothDirt

From a linear perspective of time, live coding will always be somewhat distant from human experience.  As computer programming is a fundamentally indirect manipulation of sound, is live coding really live?  If we consider the flow of time from past to future, the time necessary to modify an algorithm acts as an impenetrable barrier between coder and experience.  An alternative perspective is to think of time in terms of cycles. From this perspective, if a coder’s actions lag behind the present moment, then they are also ahead of it.  They are inside time, the cycle of development enmeshed with rhythmic cycles of music, in mutual resonance.  Smoothdirt is a simple language built around this simple idea, allowing extremes of repetition at multiple scales to be explored as musical performance.

Yaxu will produce broken techno from his laptop for around twenty minutes.

Live interfaces: Performance, Art, Music conferece

Happily we’ve been awarded some funding for a conference on live performance technology from Vitae Yorkshire!  This will be a great start to my new position in ICSRiM.  Here’s the call:

Performance, Art, Music

Date: 7th-8th September, 2012
Venue: ICSRiM, School of Music, University of Leeds, UK


Live Interfaces is a conference on live, technology-mediated interaction in performance.  The conference seeks to investigate cross-disciplinary understandings of performance technology with a particular focus on issues related to the notion of ‘liveness’ in interaction.

Live Interfaces will consist of paper and poster presentations, performances and workshops over two days.   Researchers, theorists and artists from diverse fields are encouraged to participate, including: digital performance, live art, computer music, choreography, music psychology, interaction design, human computer interaction, digital aesthetics, computer vision, smart materials and augmented stage technology.

We invite submissions addressing the conference theme of technology-mediated live interaction  in performance, and suggest the following indicative topics:

– Audience perception/interaction
– Biophysical sensors
– Brain-computer interfaces
– Computer vision/real-time video in performance
– Cross-modal perception/illusion
– Digital dramaturgy/choreography/composition
– Digital performance phenomenology
– Gesture recognition and control
– Historical perspectives
– Live coding in music, video animation and/or dance
– Participatory performance
– Performance technology aesthetics
– Redefining audience interaction
– Tangible interaction

Paper submissions should be in extended abstract form, with a suggested length of 500 words.  Please format all submissions using either the Word or LaTeX template available from the website.

Performance proposals should include a description of the performance and the live interaction technology used, as well as a list of technical requirements.  Attaching recordings of past performances is strongly encouraged.

We hope to announce a journal special issue on performance technology following the conference as a publication opportunity for extended papers.

Extended abstracts must be submitted electronically via the website by midnight (GMT+1) on the 17th June 2012.  All submissions will be subject to cross-disciplinary peer review, and notified of acceptance by 1st July.

Please address all queries to

Key dates:

– 17th May – Submissions system open
– 17th June – Submission deadline
– 1st July – Notification of selected papers/performances
– 29th July – Camera-ready deadline for accepted papers
– 7-8th September – Conference

Registration will open nearer the date, with a fee in the region of £25, including lunch for both days.

Please keep an eye on one of the following for updates, including information on conference workshops and co-located events.


Planning committee:
Alex McLean, University of Sheffield, University of Leeds (from August)
Kate Sicchio, University of Lincoln
Maria Chatzichristodoulou, University of Hull
Scott Hewitt, University of Huddersfield
Ben Dornan, University of Sheffield
Stephen Pearse, University of Sheffield
Phoebe Bakanas, ICSRiM, University of Leeds
Ash Sagar, York St Johns University

Senior advisor:
Kia Ng, Director of ICSRiM, University of Leeds

Supported by Vitae Yorkshire, the University of Leeds and the Arts and Humanities Research Council


I’m excited to be joining Kia Ng in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Scientific Research in Music (ICSRiM) within the faculty of Performance, Visual Arts & Communications (PVAC) for the new academic year, as a two year fellowship.

I’ll be a research fellow in Human/Technology Interface, a research strand supported within the cross disciplinary Culture, Society & Innovation Hub.

All very central to my interests, the ideal context for developing embodied approaches to live coding, perhaps.  I’m really looking forward to getting started, although it won’t be for another four months or so..


A busy couple of weeks ahead:

  • This weekend (Saturday 17th March) I am playing as part of slub at a live algorave in London.
  • Then the following weekend I’m doing a few things at the 2012 Lovebytes festival in Sheffield:
  • Friday 30th March – A performance at PRISM in Sheffield, in collaboration with choreography hacker Kate Sicchio.
  • Plus heads up for April 5th, a live coding seminar followed by performances at King’s College, London.

Quick custom Linux live CDs for workshops

People bring all kinds of laptops to workshops, and installing your software on them might take hours.  So it’s nice to just give everyone a bootable USB stick or CD, containing a live linux distribution (i.e. one that runs straight from the USB stick/CD) and the software.  This can get a room full of people up booting into an identical system in a matter of minutes.  Here’s an easy way that I’ve found to do it:

Choose your base distribution

For workshops, I like Linux Mint LXDE edition. It’s lightweight so works with less powerful machines that people might bring, and is based on Ubuntu.  There’s also a debian based edition of Linux Mint which is great, but it only comes in DVD size which doesn’t fit on cheaper USB sticks, and the customisation process takes long enough compressing a CD’s worth of OS.

Whatever version of linux you choose, download the .iso file of the installation CD or DVD.

Load the .iso file in a virtual machine

Install VirtualBox OSE, create a virtual machine with enough disk space for what you want to do, and set the CD of the virtual machine to point at the .iso you downloaded.  Then start the virtual machine, install the distribution to it, and boot into it.

Customise the OS

Install everything you need for the workshop.  You might want to remove some stuff too, especially if you want everything to fit back onto a CD.

Create a new .iso

Install remastersys and run this command:

sudo remastersys backup

This takes a fair few minutes to run, but is fully automated.  You end up with an .iso that is a live CD of the system you’ve customised.  Remastersys is really the hero there, I’ve gone through a manual process before and it was painful.

I have had one strange problem with running this under linux mint lxde — failed boots due to lack of ubninit.  For USB keys this is easily fixable by grabbing the initrd file from /boot in the virtual machine, and copying it into /ubninit on the USB key.  Not sure how you’d do it for CDs and DVDs, I guess you’d have to edit the .iso somehow.

Burn to CD or USB keys

I really recommend USB keys, I’ve found booting from CDs really slow on some machines, especially those apple mac laptops for some reason…  Plus a lot of laptops and netbooks don’t have CD drives these days.  To burn an .iso to USB I recommend unetbootin.  Be sure to unmount/eject/”safely remove” the USB key properly before removing it. **update** It seems Macs can’t boot from a USB key without hassle, so you have to burn CDs for mac people, or get them to buy a better computer.


Install an .iso distro into a virtualbox, get it right there, then use remastersys to make a new iso and burn to CD, or preferably write to USB keys with unetbootin.