In this film, we meet a community of artists who are harnessing algorithms to make live and improvised electronic music. “If music is a form of code, then perhaps code can be a form of music.”
Algorithms drive the way we see, hear and interact with the world. And these days, there’s a growing backlash against them. But “algorave”—short for algorithmic rave—offers a different way to harness these mathematical formulas. Algorave artists sit behind a laptop while their keystrokes are broadcast onto screens or walls around them, laying bare the mechanics behind the music. They run processes that create the sound in realtime, allowing for a truly live, improvisational and unpredictable form of electronic music.
This transparency is part of what makes algorave such an intriguing musical movement. It’s a welcoming community with its own anti-hierarchical code of ethics. The tools of the trade are given out freely to anyone who wants them, with no special software necessary. Some think of algorave as an evolution of punk, while others value the way it bypasses music industry norms around performance, ownership and composition, demystifying the nature of algorithms in the process. Resident Advisor spoke to Renick Bell, Alex McLean, Lucy Cheesman, 65daysofstatic and more in an exploration of the scene’s history, its values and its future.