Tuesday 23 June 2015

Fun with coding live: First stab at Improvisation with Overtone and Clojure

For many people, the really exciting thing about the Live Coding community (see http://toplap.org) is the stuff they are doing in Virtual Reality in the Oculus Rift (like this)

But for me the real fascination with the Live Coding environment is what we can do with music. Ever since I first started using computers this was something of an obsession: algorithmic music on a ZX Spectrum had a peculiar quality to it! But Overtone and Clojure bring a new empirical immediacy to the whole thing.

I'm just learning the language, playing with code examples, but really PLAYING (I should be writing about Heidegger... but sod Heidegger... actually, he might be interested...). Even simple things like this are great fun, and I find myself excited by new possibilities which immediately open up in front of me as I play. I find some interesting code on the web, paste into Emacs (yes, Emacs!) and run it ... and it sounds cool.

There's something deep about this. I'll write about it later. But it's reminding me of the electro-chemical computers that Pask was playing with, alongside Beer's pond daphnia which he'd fed on iron filings: what were they doing? What was their rationale? It was something to do with harnessing complexity for new kinds of computer. For me, music is the most complex thing I know - apart from myself that is: and myself and music are tied up in this playing. It's an analysable ecology. And my feelings get tied up in the machine. I become the computer.

So I'd better concentrate on doing more interesting music with it.. but this is a start....

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