Friday lunchtime lecture: Live coding, algoraves and opening up music algorithms

Friday 02 September 2016, 1:00pm - 1:00pm

Open Data Institute, 65 Clifton Street, London EC2A 4JE

Friday lunchtime lectures are for everyone and are free to attend. You bring your lunch, we provide tea and coffee, an interesting talk, and enough time to get back to your desk.

Code is all about pattern. Beyond computer programming, this means code can also be well-suited to creating musical patterns – not only in recordings, but also during live performances.


In this lecture, algorave pioneer and ODI Sound Artist in Residence Alex McLean talks about live coding of music and how it’s development over the past 16 years. He relates this history to the open data movement, describing how live coders have opened up and shared the underlying structures of their music as free or open source software. Alex wraps up with some thoughts and predictions around where he thinks live coding is going, both in terms of creative practice and its wider cultural influences.

Alex McLean is a live coding musician and software artist based in Sheffield UK. He’s been making people dance to code since 2001 through a range of musical collaborations, including with Slub, Canute, xynaaxmue and aalleexx. He releases his "polyrhythmic and hyperreal strand of techno" ( on Sheffield label Computer Club, in particular Peak Cut EP (2015) and his forthcoming album Spicule. Alex co-founded the Algorave and TOPLAP live coding movements, and the AlgoMech festival of algorithmic and mechanical movement, the first edition of which takes place 12-20 November 2016 in Sheffield. Alex works as a generalist as a member of FoAM Kernow. During 2016 he is Sound Artist in Residence at ODI HQ, supported by the Sound and Music national organisation for new music.