The cultural differences between Live Coding and Algorave

Hey all. I’ve been spending some time on recently and I saw an interesting discussion take place in which someone was pointed in the direction of an algorave room and said, in essence, that they did not really want to get involved in algorave, but rather wanted to involve themselves in live coding generally. This got me thinking about the Live Coding and Algorave. Are they the same movement, or just closely linked? If they are different movements, how are they culturally similar/different? If any of you could clear this up I’d be super thankful.

I guess live coding is a set of techniques, and a loose community/group of communities around them, a lot of them under the TOPLAP umbrella. Algorave is a kind of event, and again the community around those events. There’s a lot of overlap, but algorave is a) more specific, in that it’s around dance music+visuals and related activities, and b) more general, as it’s not just about live coding but also other ways of making algorithmic music.
In practice there’s a lot of overlap. Algoraves can have a wide spectrum of styles and intensities, sometimes chill-out rooms… But if e.g. repetitive dance music isn’t your thing, or you want to focus on ‘slow coding’ rather than higher pressure intensive performances, then there are alternatives!

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It’s funny because from where I am, when algoraves came about there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to experience algorithmic dance music outside of a warp records party… Computer music events were mostly about electroacoustic/acousmatic/noise music. Now to some extent it’s hard to make people realise that live coding isn’t all about techno…

This has made me realise I kind of have no idea if there are live coding events that aren’t algoraves. The two types of event I play have either been billed as algoraves (and I’m on in the chillout/weird stuff room) or they’re indiepop shows. Are there others?

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Not that I know of, apart from algorumba in South America… We need more names for these things!


I use this diagram when I’m teaching workshops


The folk at Netherlands Coding Live run lots of non-algorave live coding events - I was lucky enough to play one with TYPE earlier this year and they have a super community -

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But I also wonder really why we keep asking this question (and I’m including myself in that).

Live coding is like a technique or instrument rather than a genre I guess. So it’s like asking about guitar shows rather than punk shows (for example). Algorave is a bit more like a genre but almost more akin to something like ‘an open mic night’ in that it is about the format rather than the style or technique…

Maybe easiest not to think about it :stuck_out_tongue:

I also disagree with Alex in that I don’t think we need more names for things that can be misconstrued as the new future of something or other :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, the Algo~Rhythms event in Rotterdam organized by @JoChicau is a great example of a livecoding event that is not focussed on Algoraves. I also hosted a few Coding Jamsessions that focussed on short (10min) improvised coding, which resulted more in sounddesign/ambient/noise, but the results were really just all over the place.


@heavy-lifting you are awesome hope we get to play someday in the future. Indeed as @Timo mentioned we are trying to make explore all possible approaches to live-coding and Algo-Rhythms is a very good example of this.
I think one of the most beautiful things about Toplap and live-coding in general is the lack of preconceptions and rules on how to express your art with these tools and a generally very opened and receptive community.

The reason I raised Netherlands Live Coding is I think we can learn a lot in the UK from how they organise. I can only hope to emulate the super positive and welcoming energy of @Timo, @JoChicau, @eerieear & pals <3

Algorave has an amazing profile here (in the UK) due to a lot of hard work from people like @yaxu et al - which unfortunately goes along with a lot of misconception about algorave (e.g. we are djs, we want to replace djs, we are dj’s from the future etc :smiley:) - so I think that can cause us to suffer a bit from algorave=live coding.

^^^ Yes very much so!!!


In the beginning, when my coding was still slower, I leaned heavily towards the ambient/drone side in my live coding practice (nowadays it’s more eclectic). I was a bit annoyed that the whole Live Coding thing was so heavily leaning towards (or identified with) Algorave, because there’s much more possibilities in Live Coding

The ICLC (at least the ones i participated in) usually showed a good spectrum, I think … from Algorave over mechanical pianos, live coding on humans, to one-handed live coding. I really like that.

I guess the reason that Algorave became somewhat predominant is that it’s one of the most accessible types of algorithmic music … people like to dance.

Last year I organized an ambient concert on 8 channels and named it Algobiente … works nice in Spanish (algo bien -> something good)

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Interesting topic really.

How would you guys call music made in the studio with live-coding tools ? Algorithmic music ? Something else ?

Not that it matters much, I’m genuinely curious though.

From what I gather, the incredible values if such tools « in the studio » to write music seems to be often overlooked in favor of what they offer in a live context.

I call it algorithmic music, coded music…
I’m not in love with the “algorave” definition, it reminds me of high people dancing on a straightforward kick drum in the sunday morning :smiley:
Not my cup of tea