Emute Lab @ Sussex

Experimental Music Technologies Lab

Category: Musical Instruments (page 1 of 2)

Artist talk: Timothy Didymus, Kosmiches Glass

:::: Wednesday, October 12th, 1pm, @ Jane Attenborough Studio, Attenborough Centre ::::

Brighton musician and maker Timothy Didymus will present his glass Harmonica project, Kosmiches Glass.

Twelve tuned (brandy) glasses are mounted on MIDI controllable turntables, creating a playable/ scriptable mechanical acoustic instrument with beautiful polyphonic voice.

Following a demonstration of the glasses in action, Timothy will talk about the inspiration behind and development of the project and will be happy take questions on any apsects of the project – aesthetic, technical, logistical etc.

This will be of interest to music, music tech and sonic media students – or anyone with an interest in new musical instruments.

Its design and engineering is of great elegance. (…) its music of transparency and transience, the sonorous resonances of heavenly voices” — Sound Artist Max Eastley, 2015



Free entry.


Arts Research Symposium at the AlgoMech Festival – Call for Proposals

:::: Sunday, November 12th, 10.00am @ Sheffield Hallam University ::::

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Symposium – Call for Proposals

The AlgoMech Arts Research Symposium takes place within the Festival of Algorithmic and Mechanical Movement, on the 13th November 2016 at the Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, UK.  AlgoMech will celebrate a resurgence of making in performance, where creative processes are made visible during a live event. Rather than presenting technology as seamless, we pick at the seams, exposing its innards as human-made and reconfigurable. We will also go beyond fashionable notions of technology to take the long view; bringing together mechanical, kinetic, electronic, and software arts, from periods spanning the stone age to present day, building a picture of the human maker as both digital and analogue, thinking and feeling, embodied yet reaching beyond what is bodily possible. The festival will take place across Sheffield, and will include concerts, talks, hands-on workshops, and a club night.

The arts research symposium will focus on the latest developments in this field, drawing on both academic and artistic perspectives. We invite proposals for artist talks and academic papers in the form of short abstracts, describing the theme and structure of your research presentation or artist talk in approximately one page of text. As an inclusive, cross-disciplinary symposium, we are open-minded about the form of your talk and proposal, but please do not hesitate to get in contact if you have questions.

As well as talks accepted from this call, the day will include talks from artists contributing work at the festival, and panel sessions on fictive materials and maker culture.

We welcome submissions from areas that intersect with the following themes:

  • Human and mechanical motion
  • Human-machine interaction and embodiment
  • Creative computing and (live) coding
  • Robotics in the arts
  • Design and physical computing
  • Machine creativity
  • Algorithm aesthetics
  • Mechanical automata in history
  • Kinesthesis and art
  • Machine choreography
  • Maker culture
  • Materialities for motion
  • Generative design and architecture
  • Alternative histories of algorithms and mechanisms

Draft Programme

9:30 – Coffee + live coding performance
10:00 – Paper session (8 papers – we will issue a call for papers soon)
12:00 – Lunch
13:00 – Panel 1 (on speculative hardware and fictive materialities - chair: Derek Hales)
14:00 – Keynote talk with Godfried-Willem Raes
15:00 – Coffee with a performance
16:00 – Panel 2 (on maker culture – chair: Amy Twigger Holroyd)
19:00 – Performances at the Millennium Gallery

Keynote speaker

We will have a keynote by Godfried-Willem Raes, of the Logos foundation. Godfried is a composer and instrument maker, who taught at Ghent Royal Conservatory and the Orpheus Higher Institution for Music. In addition to his reputation as a composer, he is also an expert in computer technology, robotics and interactive electronic art. As an example, he is well known in this country for his work on musical robotics with Aphex Twin.


We call for three types of submissions: 15 min talks, panel contributions, and performances.

We invite proposals for 15 minute research presentations or artist talks (10 minutes talk + 5 minutes questions).  Proposals should be a one page abstract describing the presentation.  Please also submit a short (200-300 word) biography for each author and an image describing your project. Submissions should be made in PDF or Word format.

If you are interested in participating in either of the panels on speculative hardware and fictive materialities or maker culture, please send a note to symposium@algomech.com and describe in a sentence or two why you would like to join the panel.

In the evening during symposium we are programming performances (music, dance, robotics, etc.) in the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield from 7pm (time TBC). Please submit your proposal describing the performance and indicating the technical requirements you have. The proposal would typically be a page with your name, title of the piece, a paragraph description of the piece, a representative image (if available), a video of past performance (if available) and a tech spec.

Submission Process

Submissions will be selected by a panel chaired by members of the Experimental Music Technologies (EMuTe) Lab at University of Sussex. Please email your submission in PDF format to symposium@algomech.com

Important Dates

10th October: Submission Deadline
17th October: Notifications
12th-20th November: AlgoMech Festival
13th November: Arts Research Symposium


Sheffield Institute of Arts, Fitzalan Square, Sheffield S1 2AY, United Kingdom


Symposium chairs:
Thor Magnusson (university profile with email addresse: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/164902
Chris Kiefer (university profile with email addresse: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/208667

ICLC 2015

The 1st International Conference on Live Coding took place in July 2015 in Leeds. The conference was co-organised by the MIPT Lab at Sussex and ICSRIM in Leeds, facilitated by the AHRC-funded Live Coding Research Network.

The MIPT Lab had a strong presence at the conference: Sally Jane Norman gave a keynote on liveness in performance entitled “Live Coding and Embodied Action in Performance Contexts”, Chris Kiefer presented a paper and performed at the Algorave, and Thor Magnusson performed with his new CMN language as well as at the Algorave. The event was well documented thanks to MFM research funds, enabling Paul McConnell to attend armed with recording equipment. Honorary members of the lab, Nick Collins and Matt Yee-King also performed and gave papers.

The ICLC conference will take place in Hamilton, Canada next year, organised by LCRN collaborator David Ogborn.

The Conference Programme can be downloaded here: ICLC Programme.

ICLC participants


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Research Fellow in Digital Humanities/Digital Performance

The Sussex Humanities Lab in collaboration with the School of Media, Film and Music at the University of Sussex wishes to appoint a fixed-term (4-year) fellowship (Research Fellow) in Digital Technologies/Digital Performance. While based in the School of Media, Film and Music, the appointee will work across the Sussex Humanities Lab in collaboration with colleagues in History, Art History & Philosophy, Informatics, and Education and Social Work.

The ideal candidate will have a demonstrable track record of work in performance technologies as a theorist and/or creative practitioner, with clear evidence of technical expertise in all cases. Candidates with knowledge of one or more of the following:  creative software (e.g. SuperCollider, Max/MSP or Pure Data), app development, graphic and games programming (e.g. OpenGL, Unity), physical computing, are particularly encouraged.

Further information on Sussex Jobs

A PDF with the job description can be downloaded here: Research Fellow in Digital Humanities/Digital Performance 226

Brighton Modular Meet

:::: Saturday, May 29th, all day @ Creativity Zone ::::

The yearly Brighton Modular Meet organised by Andrew Duff will take place on May 29th in the Creativity Zone at the University of Sussex. Here, modular synth buffs from across the country convene for a day of showcasing, discussing, and experimenting.

A modular synth concert is planned for the evening. Further info on that later.

Brighton Modular Meet

Fields – Tim Shaw and Sébastien Piquemal

:::: Thursday, April 9th, 1.20pm @ Meeting House, University of Sussex ::::

NOTE: Please bring a networked device – a computer, phone, tablet, etc.

In this piece, Sébastien and Tim explore mobile technology as a medium for sound diffusion. Audience members can join in by simply connecting to a specific website with their mobile phone, laptop or tablet. The connected devices become an array of speakers that the performers can control live, resulting in an omni-directional sonic experience. This project provides an alternative method for sound spatialisation as well as offering new ways in which audiences can engage in sonic works. Fields has been performed in Helsinki, Berlin, Athens, Lisbon and Newcastle.

Further information: tim-shaw.net/fields_/

In a workshop afterwards, Tim and Sebastien will introduce participants to using Fields as a performance or installation tool. We will cover technical aspects such as setting up, configuration and customisation of the system. We will also share experience gathered from a year of composing for tiny mobile phone speakers, trying different audience configurations and dealing with latency and other technical limitations. The workshop will allow for participants to create their own work using Fields and will culminate in a listening session and an open discussion.

Fields Fields

Tim Shaw

Tim Shaw has worked internationally as a professional composer, performer, sound designer and researcher. His practice incorporates diverse approaches to sound capture and processing, and includes creating immersive and site responsive sonic installations. His compositional methods include field recordings, synthesized sounds and live electronics, providing a wide scope for creative diversity. At the heart of his work lies a concern with the auditory reflection and mirroring of real world environments through sound and technology. He is currently studying a PhD in Digital Media at Culture Lab alongside managing Newcastle based record label Triptik. Tim has created commissions for Warp Records, The British Council, The British Science Association, Pacitti Company, Tender Buttons and Transform Festival.

Sébastien Piquemal

Sébastien Piquemal is a computer engineer, obsessively exploring the artistic capabilities of machines. After working several years as a full-stack web developer in Helsinki, Finland, he decided to dedicate himself fully to making music. Since then, he has been an active contributor to the open-source software community, leading various projects such as WebPd (Pure Data patches running in the web browser). As a lover of Jazz and improvised music, Sébastien is seeking new ways to place human interaction at the core of live music. He is presently doing a MA degree in sound in new media at Media Lab Helsinki.

Interactive Music Theatre / Hertzian Field #1

:::: Monday, April 6th, 11am, @ Creativity Zone, Pevensey III ::::

Thanos Polymeneas-Liontiris / Stephanie Pan

(Research in progress) A study in interactive music theatre: In this first experiment of Thanos’ research on interactive music theatre, he is embarking on an exploration of the voice. Aided by improvisation as well as by fully written score, we have considered the instrument’s range, colours, and expressive possibilities. Moreover, this first study engaged with the subject of audience interaction beyond the traditional operatic setup.

Stelios Manousakis / M.Eugenia Demeglio

Hertzian Field #1

Hertzian Field #1 is an augmented reality surround sound environment that sonifies the dispersal of radio waves in a space caused by bodies and movement. The first of a series of pieces to come, this environment features an innovative interaction system inspired by an obscure surveillance technique. “We make wide daily use of electromagnetic radiation and depend on it increasingly to wirelessly transmit and receive information of all sorts, for all sorts of uses. Apart from carrying and distributing our data, wireless communication has a side effect: it conveys physical information about space and our own bodies as we move unawares through turbulent rivers of radio waves.”

Hertzian Field


Stelios Manousakis is a composer, performer, sound artist, and researcher, currently based in The Hague. He operates across the convergence zones of art, science, and engineering / composition, performance, and installation / the rich tradition of western sonic art and ‘digital folk’ idioms.

M.Eugenia Demeglio (IT/UK) is a maker and educator. She is an Associate Lecturer: Dance at Falmouth University and a freelance maker based in Brighton. Her practice includes move­ment and impro­vi­sa­tion per­for­mances, instal­la­tions, participatory events, videos, com­mu­nity projects and (body) sculp­tures.

Stephanie Pan (USA/NL) is a singer and multi-instrumentalist, performance artist, and maker based in The Hague, specializing in experimental music, new music, and experimental theater. Her work is rooted in the search for pure communication; finding contact with the audience stripped of expectations and distractions, which speaks beyond the conventional limitations and constructs of language. Her work is visceral, passionate and intense, often exploring the limits of the voice and body.

Thanos Polyemenas-Liontirs (GR/UK) is a composer, performer and sound artist. His practice comprises computer-aided compositions, interactive audiovisual installations and interactive music for dance, theater and multimedia performances. He is currently a PhD candidate at Sussex University researching on the development of audience immersive and interactive music theatre.  Stephanie Pan

Composing and Performing with the Magnetic Resonator Piano

:::: Thursday, March 26th, 1.20pm @ Recital Room, Falmer House 120 ::::

The magnetic resonator piano (MRP) is an electromagnetically augmented acoustic grand piano which uses electromagnets to induce vibrations in the strings. The MRP is played from the piano keyboard using an optical scanner that measures the continuous position of every key. The instrument is capable of infinite sustain, crescendos from silence, harmonics, pitch bends and new timbres, all produced acoustically by the piano strings and soundboard without any external speakers.

This event will begin with a performance by music composed for, or adapted to, the magnetic resonator piano. A talk and workshop will follow the performance. The talk will present the design of the instrument, including how its evolution has been shaped by working with composers and performers. The MRP was first created in 2009, and underwent a significant design revision in 2011 in response to feedback from musicians. The talk will also discuss how other digital musical instrument creators can build a community of musicians around their instruments.

The workshop will explore techniques for composing and performing with the magnetic resonator piano, working directly with the instrument. Examples will be taken from recent pieces composed for MRP, and there will be an opportunity to try new ideas on the resonator system.



Andrew McPherson is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London. With a background in electrical engineering and music, his research focuses on augmented acoustic instruments, new performance interfaces, and study of performer-instrument interaction. He did his undergraduate and Master’s work at MIT, completing his M.Eng. thesis in Barry Vercoe’s group at the MIT Media Lab. He completed his PhD in music composition in 2009 at the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining Queen Mary in 2011, he spent two years as a post-doctoral researcher in the Music Entertainment Technology Laboratory (MET-lab) at Drexel University.

In addition to the magnetic resonator piano, he is the creator of the TouchKeys multi-touch keyboard which launched in a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013. More recently he has studied how musicians appropriate and misuse technology for creative purposes, creating a new digital musical instrument, the D-Box, specifically designed to be hacked and subverted by the performer using circuit bending techniques.

SLÁTUR – Experimental Composer Collective

After Tom Betts’ talk on the Sublime in Computer Games, we are lucky to have visitors from Iceland in the form of the experimental music SLÁTUR composer collective. They will perform a concert with compositions by SLÁTUR members. The performance includes electronic compositions with live electronic processing as well as music using animated notation, found objects as musical instruments and video projections.

Slatur pianoShort description:

SLÁTUR – an artistically obtrusive composer collective centered in Reykjavík, Iceland. Since 2005 its members have been working on various types of experiments. These include animated notation using computer graphics, interactivity, various experiments with sounds and tunings, performance art and the development of limited and isolated musical universes. The members share ideas and methods freely while the final products are usually independent efforts.

Slatur headquarters slatur instrument


Visiting Researcher: Halldór Úlfarsson

The Music Department welcomes a visiting researcher – Halldór Úlfarsson – from the Icelandic Academy of the Arts. Halldór is a specialist in acoustics and new musical instrument design, and will discuss his work with Music and CHASE consortium PhD students, give masterclasses, and a lecture for students in the Creative Music Technology module.

Detailed programme:

Wednesday, March 18th – 1pm (Creativity Zone) – “Reflections from a decade of open ended acoustic investigations”

This talk will be twofold. In the first part, Halldór will present the research and conceptual development of the halldorophone instrument here wonderfully played by Hildur Guðnadóttir who releases with the London-based Touch label.

The second part will introduce a module taught at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts, in a collaboration with composer Þráinn Hjálmarsson, structured around open-ended investigation of acoustics as artistic medium for composition students. This part will summarise the work done during the course, discussing some of the more successful outcomes of that process (including experimental clarinet barrels featured in a piece performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in 2014).

Thursday, March 19th – 4pm (Recital Room – after the Tony Dummet Event): Post-graduate Masterclass: “Music as a by-product of other narrative systems / Culture as Material”

Discussing in more detail the hacking of timbre and scale in classical instruments with students of composition at the IAA and examples of projects from the new music scene in Iceland that inspired and informed that process. Halldór will discuss his design practice as a prop in the context of visual art and on the effort of creating a culture for a new musical instrument. Also musings on the ontological classification of the products of this effort.

Friday, March 20th – 11am – Lecture for CMT – “The halldorophone”

Students in the Creative Music Technologies module will get an overview of the exciting field of developing new musical instruments: the concerns of tradition, materiality, legacy and sustainability. Halldór will provide a deeper discussion of the technical ins and outs of the Halldorophone, design goals and problems…


Short bio

Halldór Úlfarsson is an artist and designer who collaborates with composers, musicians and institutions on projects relating to his string instrument the Halldorophone. These projects are presented as performances or recorded and presented as films or installations.

Halldór studied at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts with an overlapping MA in applied art and design at the Aalto University in Helsinki Finland. He has exhibited his art in Europe and Iceland where he lives and works for the Icelandic Academy of the Arts.

Website: http://www.halldorulfarsson.info


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