Expectations on style of music at Algoraves

I recently organised an Algorave for the Kensington and Chelsea Art Weekend. The event went great but a comment the Director of the festival received was that one visitor was expecting the music to be less “glitchy” i.e. more like 4/4 techno. Tbh myself and the Director both loved all of the acts, but it did get me thinking about what organisers/visitors expect regarding style of music.

Organisers and performers: Have you had any similar comments? One for organisers specifically: If you’re organising it for/with a venue or festival have they ever made comments around what style of music they expect?

@hellocatfood I had similar comments from the curator at a venue in Hamburg. I organized a kind of algorave/student show mixing student livecoding performances with some work by touring artists. He liked it a lot, and he wanted to program an algorave as part of his official programming in the dancehall space ~ but he specifically was asking if it could be more “dancy”.

Also something related from a curator in Switzerland who wanted to do an algorave program: I was telling him that livecoding practices are all over the map and it’s a little limited to think only in terms of “algorave” ~ he understood, but also wanted to leverage the name-recognition and reputation the term has… he really wanted more dancy techno-ish kind of stuff, at least in the later part of the show.

Yep I think the clue is in the name and also the way it’s promoted and reported on - algorave is about dance music and it’s a bit unfair to an audience to break that expectation.

But then if an algorave doesn’t push boundaries what’s the point? So I think the aim within a set or a whole night is to use the familiar as a starting point… Look to attract an audience who are up for some risk taking, but also hit them with some sure fire bangers to get energy going.

I really enjoy putting on two room events now, because the audience can then choose between different levels of bangingness.

I think one reason for their comment was that not a lot of people were dancing, but that’s partially due to it being really hot that day and people choosing to sit in the garden instead of inside the venue.

Look to attract an audience who are up for some risk taking, but also hit them with some sure fire bangers to get energy going.

Should this be communicated to the performing artists as well? When selecting artists to perform I do think about a variety of styles but not really sure if I can/should say to artists “don’t play that sound please”. Or can I?

I really enjoy putting on two room events now, because the audience can then choose between different levels of bangingness.

I’d defo like to do two room events but for the ones I’m organising I don’t have enough budget, especially if I wanna pay everyone fairly.

Also something related from a curator in Switzerland who wanted to do an algorave program: I was telling him that livecoding practices are all over the map and it’s a little limited to think only in terms of “algorave”

I think I’m gonna start having that conversation when I’m talking with curators/venue owners. I might even ask them what kind of night they are anticipating.

Thanks for the input!

Should this be communicated to the performing artists as well? When selecting artists to perform I do think about a variety of styles but not really sure if I can/should say to artists “don’t play that sound please”. Or can I?

I find it weird when people ask me to play more/less banging or to a certain ‘style’, that’s treating musicians like DJs and probably giving more respect to genre than it deserves. Having experienced a respected electroacoustic composer trying to make dance music I can also say that it’s actually not something that you can just ‘switch on’. :slight_smile: Having said that there have been a fair number of times where I’ve heard live coded music that to my ears would work much better if the bpms were just faster. (For this reason the tidal default tempo is no longer 1 cps :wink: )

I’d defo like to do two room events but for the ones I’m organising I don’t have enough budget, especially if I wanna pay everyone fairly.

I think people are happy to pay more on the door for a two-room event. I also want to push for longer sets - 45 min - 1 hour rather than the usual 20-30 minute set time. Makes it a lot easier to pay people, as well as allowing more creative freedom, and pushing artists a bit.

I think I’m gonna start having that conversation when I’m talking with curators/venue owners. I might even ask them what kind of night they are anticipating.

I think normally music venue owners leave it up to you as the promoter to define how a night is represented. Definitely worth forcing this point on other kinds of venues. Personally I’ve moved away from working with non-music venues, there are often problems - acoustically, technically, culturally…

I usually programme events in small galleries which don’t have two rooms or at least not two rooms with music tech, but I get your point.

The tech and acoustic issues are a big reason I’m thinking of moving away from organising Algoraves. As I mentioned I usually work with galleries and they never have the best audio equipment and to get that tech in is beyond their budgets.

I’m more skilled in curating exhibitions and one-day events which include a concert at the end. I think I’ll stick to that after the two Algoraves that I’m organising. Dunno why but those have had sit-down performances and it’s always been ok.

To add another voice to this :slight_smile: — based on the way things are run in New York (which is my main experience), I don’t personally expect an algorave to be full of bangers or even dancing. I think the expectation is both cultural & also historical. Here it seems like it is a lot easier to get spaces for little enough that you’ll make door and the audience that is brought in is more there for the “art” than the “party,” if that makes sense.

I don’t know that that helps you in particular, hellocatfood, but I do think in general a broad interpretation of the sobriquet is good for the community. But maybe that’s my bias speaking. :wink:

Nicely put @sarahghp, I can’t argue with that. I came across this interesting essay from Adam Denton: https://cap.ncl.ac.uk/adamdenton/?p=147

Algoraves can be organised by anyone, although new rules/guidelines of curatorial roles have been introduced, implying an ‘authenticity’ requirement that could be interpreted as overarching curatorial control, however reasonable the guidelines appear. This was introduced with the intention of fending off corporate cooperation of the movement however the rules may give way to a more protectionist attitude that could stunt the heterogenous potential of the project.

What do you think, by talking about archetypal musical styles/approaches to Algoraves are we (in this case, am I) also limiting its potential, dooming it to heterogeneity?

Turning people off wanting to organise Algorave isn’t my intention - @hellocatfood I’m sure whatever events you decide to put together in the future will be awesome but your take on organising algoraves from a visual arts perspective has been kind of essential to its development, it’d be a shame to lose that…

By peeking into e.g. livecodenyc and livecode-nl channels I’ve been impressed at how collaborative organisation seems. Maybe that’s the answer to keep things mixed up and interesting in the uk - collaborate on organisation more. It could make things a bit easier too!

I think maybe a little, yes. :slightly_smiling_face: Maybe not dooming, but pushing towards.

It’s kinda like the Kleenex problem. It meant one specific thing, but then becomes a more widely recognized name, so people stretch it to mean, say “any show with live-coded bleep bloops,” which is good for a coherent community — especially one centered around a kind of interstitial form — but maybe confusing when one means the narrower definition.

How dance-y will this algorave be?
Oh, I think a bit of a glitchy one.

I’ve been pondering what the Kleenex problem might be - is it that you refer to all tissues with the brand? Like we call all vaccuum cleaners Hoovers in the UK (maybe there too, I dunno)

I guess history in the UK is a bit different from how you describe though - making a live coding/algorithmic dance music/visuals event was for a while an aspiration more than anything… I wanted to organise them but was in a world of experimental noise/improv and soundscape musicians. From my perspective at least, I think recently the direction of travel has been towards more conventional dance music modes… Maybe this should be resisted? Keep algorave strange! Or maybe we should follow it to see wherever it goes, and leave room for the next weird thing?

I do absolutely love making techno, but the last few days I’ve also started getting back into doing free improv collaborations, and am really looking forward to some seated concert shows I have booked…

In any case, it’s great we have different approaches in different places, keeping things alive+interesting…

Ha, yes, that. We don’t call vacuums Hoovers, tho. Just vacuuums.

I think the diversity is one of the strengths of the live code community. That some folks like straightforward techno and others are pushing into weirder directions (and some are doing both depending on time of day!) is cool and in terms of a genre are maybe stronger for being tied together.

Either way, it gives us all good reasons to chat and learn more about the history of algorave :slight_smile: Thanks!

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