Algorithmic Artistry

These DJs Are Making Music By Coding on a Huge Screen

In "algoraves," coder DJs run programs to assemble music.

3. 26. 19 by Dan Robitzski
Tag Hartman-Simkins
Image by Tag Hartman-Simkins

DJ Algorithm

In the Bay Area, according to Wiredtech-savvy DJs are creating a new style of electronic music.

Instead of using sequencers and turntables, some DJs are writing code that generates sounds and beats in real time, assembling new tracks on the fly during what’s become known as an “algorave.”

Rave Area

One show attended by Wired featured a DJ who projected his code onto the wall behind him. The crowd looked on as he ran programs to generate tunes, typing code to alter how it sounds or adjust the overall mix.

The show was part of a festival called the Algorithmic Art Assembly, which featured speakers and performances that used software to generate art or music. The festival was the brainchild of Scottish musician Thorsten Sideb0ard — yeah, that’s with a zero instead of an “O” — who told Wired that he first encountered algoraves in England and felt they’d be a hit in San Francisco.


Peak Valley

The appeal of these algoraves is that they add artistry to live electronic music shows, which can in some cases involve little more than a DJ pressing the play button.

After the fact, it doesn’t sound too different from the genre at large. But while listening, one can’t help but imagine the DJ frantically typing away, working to queue up and run each track at the right moment like a futuristic orchestral conductor.


More on music: This Musician Created an AI to Write Songs for Him, and They’re Pretty Strange


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