Network Music Festival

Sound without Borders // 15-18th July 2020

Go to Online Exhibition


All workshops will take place at The Edge, 79-81 Cheapside, Deritend, Birmngham, B12 0QH

Workshops are free to attend for NMF2013 ticket holders but spaces are limited so please sign up in advance by emailing or ask at the information desk at the festival.

CIRCE: collective and interactive recording with collaborative electronics

// Saturday 23rd February 4.30-6.30pm //
Level: beginner //

CIRCE…  is collective and interactive recording with collaborative electronics.

Created by contemporary music practitioner Roger Thomas, CIRCE is a performance, a workshop, an open-access recording session, an ambient music installation, a demonstration, a learning opportunity, a methodology, an assemblage of hardware and software and a mobile, real-world, informal creative and social nexus for anyone interested in improvised electronic music.

CIRCE reverses the performance conventions of electronic music by inviting voluntary real-time participation from anyone present at a CIRCE event, accommodating all levels of musical ability and technical knowledge (including none).

CIRCE comprises a selection of evolving ambient/drone audio tracks which are manipulated, processed and mixed by the performer in real time, together with a range of hardware and software instruments with accessible interfaces such as touchscreens, touchpads and proximity sensors. These instruments are operated by volunteer participants who add their own improvised sonic elements to the music, contributing as much or as little to the performance as they wish.

‘The resulting mix is projected as a real-time performance but is also recorded and made available as a privately downloadable album, with participants being notified of this via e-mail (anonymous contributions are also welcomed). This gives everyone present the chance to be involved in recording an album of improvised electronic music which is then distributed to its creators. At CIRCE’s inaugural performance the result was a 4-CD length set created by 18 named and several anonymous participants.

Roger Thomas has performed at the BEAM Festival (Brunel University) the NoiseFloor Festival (University of Staffordshire) and live on Resonance104.4fm and has presented various papers on aspects of electronics, percussion and improvisation, including at the SPEEC symposium at Oxford University. He has previously worked in free jazz (with Maggie Nicols and Lol Coxhill among others), not-so-free jazz (with the Millennium Jazz Orchestra) and orchestral, rock and dance music. Widely published as a writer and editor, his work has appeared in many publications including The Wire, Sound On Sound, Gramophone and DJ magazine. He teaches at the Bishopsgate Institute in London.

WebPd for online “jamming” applications.

// Saturday 23rd February 11am-1pm & Sunday 24th February 10am-12.30pm //
Level: beginner-intermediate //

WebPd is an open-source library written in JavaScript, allowing to run Pure Data patches on the web.

In this workshop, we will program an online jamming application with JavaScript and WebPd. This application will consist in a simple web page, where every user can “jam” with other online users with mouse clicks, key presses or moving objects – all in sound. Each attendee will make his own application.

A workflow will be proposed : firstly designing the interaction and the jamming system, secondly prototyping the sound in Pure Data, and finally writing the JavaScript code and integrating the sound to the web page. At the end of the day, we will gather, try everybody’s jamming app and make some noise.

Attendees will first receive a quick introduction to Pure Data and to JavaScript. They will learn how to get started with both technologies, write a simple web page with a dash of JavaScript and make a simple Pure Data patch. Then, they will learn how to use WebPd to sonify a web page.

Everybody is welcome. People with no previous knowledge in the technologies will focus on learning, people with JavaScript and/or Pure Data knowledge will be able to explore deeper the possibilities of WebPd of making web pages sound better.

Sébastien Piquemal, born in France in 1986, is a computer engineer, musician and sound designer based in Helsinki. He has been working as a web developer at Futurice Ltd. since 2010, mostly developing Futurice’s internal services and IT infrastructure. Sébastien is also studying sound design in Helsinki Media Lab, and on his free-time, developing open-source projects such as WebPd – a Javascript library for running Pure Data patches on the web.