Livestream: TidalCycles – growing a language for algorithmic pattern

Thursday 20th May 6pm UK / 7pm Berlin / 10am LA / 1pm NYC

In this livestreamed interview, Alex McLean retraces the history and intent that prompted him to develop TidalCycles alongside ‘Algorave’ live performance events, contributing to establish Live Coding as an art discipline.

 Alex started TidalCycles project for exploring musical patterns in 2009, and it is now a healthy free/open-source software project and among the most well-known live coding environments for music.

TidalCycles represents musical patterns as a function of time, making them easy to make, combine and transform. It is generally partnered with the SuperDirt hybrid synthesiser/sampler, created by Julian Rohrhuber using SuperCollider. 

Culturally, TidalCycles is tightly linked to Algorave, a movement created by Alex McLean and Nick Collins in 2011, where musicians and VJs make algorithms to dance to.

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Overview of speaker

Alex McLean is a musician and researcher based in Sheffield UK. As well as working on TidalCycles, he also researches algorithmic patterns in ancient weaving, as part of the PENELOPE project based in Deutsches Museum, Munich. He has organised hundreds of events in the digital arts, including the annual AlgoMech festival of Algorithmic and Mechanical Movement. Alex co-founded the international conferences on live coding and live interfaces, and co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Algorithmic Music. As live coder has performed worldwide, including Sonar, No Bounds, Ars Electronica, Bluedot and Glastonbury festivals.

Enrico Bertelli

Enrico Bertelli

PhD candidate in Contemporary Performance – Percussion and Electronics. Website.

Deeply interested in alternative performance solutions, focussed on the theatricality of the percussive gesture. The regular performances in various European festivals showcase an interest in creating a strong connection with the audience. The speech is consistently present between pieces and is also incorporated directly into the more theatrical one. The public is led seamlessly into the performance, unable to distinguish the boundaries with the presentation or to identify the gestures.


An investigation of MIDI and live-electronics applied to percussion, in a creative way. The research aims to overcome the spacial and logistic problems that every percussionist has to face day after day: noisy, small and cluttered rooms.

Samplers and various ad hoc patches have been used to collect an original library and to transform aseptic MIDI instruments into responsive and organic one-man-band instruments.

The electro-acoustic side of the research looks into how to generate longer and, most of all, pitched sounds, from the short outbursts of a snare drum. New sticks, new techniques, new approaches.