An interactive installation put together by Tom Mudd exploring the relationships between artists, music, and musical artefacts

Includes contributions from:

The Alaska None Mira Benjamin Kurijn Buys
Adam Campbell Tristan Clutterbuck Ben Harper
Ryo Ikeshiro Phil Julian Steph Horak
Sandra Ka Stefano Kalonaris Jeremy Keenan
Tina Krekels John Macedo Scott Mc Laughlin
Tom Mudd Ingrid Plum Adriana Sa
Dario Sanfilippo Bill Thompson Artur Vidal
  Tim Yates  


The creation of any musical tool involves the inscription of musical ideas into the artefact itself. This is as true of an instrument like the piano as it is of software such as Ableton Live. The distinction between composition and instrument design is fuzzy. If artists form their ideas through an engagement with their musical tools, exploring the possibilities that they offer, then they always do so within a landscape of affordances determined by the design of the instrument itself.

CONTROL is an interactive installation exploring the relationships between artists, music, and musical artefacts. It attempts to call attention to the role that the musical artefacts play in developing musical ideas. A single dial is connected to a single speaker, but the relationship between the two is not fixed; it flits between a range of possibilities composed by a diverse range of artists. Visitors are invited to use the dial to make sounds, and to thus explore the links between their actions, the limits of the dial, and the musical ideas embedded in the software by the artists.



Contributing Artists
View individual contributiuon videos here:

The Alaska None is the music making alias of Akāshamitra, a composer and DJ from London. He began DJing as a teenager in 1988 and ran club nights in Liverpool and London. He began making music in 2004 and has since worked extensively with choreographers to make music for contemporary dance companies as well as composing and improvising for film and live performance. The Alaska None's music is comprised primarily of obfuscated samples from vinyl records, augmented by synths, guitar and field recordings.

For CONTROL, I created a sample based 'instant composition' tool. It utilises 10 audio files which are all 4 seconds long (2 bars at 120 bpm). Each sound file is created on a Nord Lead synthesizer, a favourite 'workhorse' synth of mine, and was created using the same simple midi pattern, with the variation in sound being determined by tweaking the various parameters of the synth and adding small amounts of delay and reverb. Each of 10 dial settings determines the amount of samples playing at the same time (always between 1 and 5).


Mira Benjamin is a Canadian violinist, researcher and new-music instigator. She performs new and experimental music, specialising in microtonal string performance practice. She actively commissions music from composers at all stages of their careers, and develops each new work through multiple performances. Most recently she has collaborated with Cassandra Miller, Martin Arnold, Richard Glover, Isaiah Ceccarelli, Amber Priestley, and Scott Mc Laughlin. Mira co-directs nu:nord, an international community-building project that engages artists from Canada, Norway and the UK. Originally from Vancouver, Mira lived for ten years in Montréal, where she was a member of Quatuor Bozzini. She moved to London in 2014. Mira gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts in 2015-16.


Kurijn Buys obtained a Master degree in Musical Acoustics at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris, FR), as well as a Master of Arts in Sound and Music Technology at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht (NL). Currently, he examines electronic mouthpiece alternatives for musical wind instruments as a PhD student at the Open University (Milton Keynes, UK), a project he initially started at the Laboratoire de Mécanique et Acoustique (Marseille, FR) in 2011. Much of Buys' musical interest focuses on explorations of various sound constructions; these can be physical, electronic, programmed or a combination of all three.

'Consciousnoise': based on a simplified personal interpretation of the functioning of our mind, this patch generates pure tones that appear as thoughts do: at a rate and sequence that is shaped subconsciously. By only allowing a short amount of time to shape the thought (or indeed, to change the frequency), it consequently controls the user's production of the sound as a new thought appears; the previous remains perceptible, however it is untouchable until it "surpasses the size of our consciousness". Try to find your harmony!


Adam Campbell is a musician from Glasgow. A couple of significant recent projects have been a residency with Andrea Neumann as part of the Counterflows festival and an installation in the Talbot Rice Gallery during Gap in the Air. He's going to be on Goodiepal's next release and is very excited about that (thanks Kenny!).

This piece comes from my attempts to make some interesting music using nonlinear systems. The dial sets a couple of arbitrary parameters within one aspect of the system, and is more there to spice things up than add a real layer of interaction.


Tristan Clutterbuck is a Belfast based improviser.

Oscillators, runglers, filters, function generators.


Ben Harper grew up in Australia before relocating to London. As well as making audio-visual installations, he has most recently been working as a composer with live electronic feedback (both analogue and digital), spoken word, and music designed for users of cochlear implants. His music, writing and visual art is based upon the conscious imitation of others to observe the nature of originality, and the removal of technique as a vehicle for musical expression.

The knob controls two attributes of a pure sine tone: its pitch and its harmonic treatment. The relationship between the two is simple but it isn't always clear, thanks to a delay built into the system. Also, there's a gate which may or may not let each sound come through. It's hard to be patient when you have to be quick.


Steph Horak is a London-based audio-visual artist. She performs using homemade instruments and systems for voice, and exhibits video installations. She has performed and collaborated with various artists including a recent release with Dirty Electronics and John Richards on Mute Records for the Mute Synth II. Horak graduated from Goldsmiths in 2013, completing an MA in Computational Studio Arts. She is currently working on a series of instruments for her 2016 performance NOISE VAGINA, LIPSTICK by Women Dressed As Men Dressed As Women.

BPB_RVB: Multi-grain, multi-sample Granular Synthesis engine for voice by Steph Horak, August 2015.
I normally design instruments which exploit moments of loss of control. Using voice or feedback as an input, the improvised performances become about reacting and regaining control throughout the set in the hope of making 'musical sense', or a pop song. BPB_RVB is a multi-sample granular synthesis engine which takes 6 single notes sung to "ooo" as input material to make a complex and rich piece of music reworked from these simplistic fragments, different each time. The original vocal samples were recorded in the stairwell of the Ben Pimlott Building on Goldsmiths' campus in an attempt to capture the natural reverb. An extension of "msp Granular Synthesis (v2.5)" by Nobuyasu Sakodna, July 2000. Technical collaborators: Miguel Ortiz, Peter Mackenzie & Sarah Hyde


Ryo Ikeshiro is a UK-based Japanese artist. His practice deals with media, sound, computation, data visualisation and sonification, computer vision, generative systems, interactive installations and experimental music. He is interested in both the artistic potential of computation and the critique of computation through artistic means. He is featured in the Electronic Music volume of the Cambridge Introductions to Music series, his articles have been published in the journal Organised Sound and he is a contributor to ZKM Karlruhe's forthcoming book Sound Art: Sound as a Medium of Art. He has a PhD from Goldsmiths and works as a visiting lecturer.

"Dark Satanic Mills" from the DIVERSITY series. The perfect antidote to the Last Night of the Proms via the media appeal of radicalisation using FFT complex convolution. Which setting do you prefer? The two extremes, or somewhere halfway for a nice balance between the two?


Phil Julian is a UK based experimental sound artist, composer and improviser. Under both the Cheapmachines alias and his own name, Phil Julian has been venturing across various strains of unorthodox sound since the late 1990′s, with his prolific output on a diverse catalogue of imprints. Studio recordings and live performances within Europe and North America have focused on the use of modular electronic systems and computer based works.

The patch for the "CONTROL" installation features multiple instances of dynamic stochastic synthesis with the user influencing various parameters including pitch and breakpoint distribution via a single control point. The patch is based around Stephen Lumenta's Max implementation of Iannis Xenakis' Gendyn synthesis program.


Sandra Ka is a composer, sound and installation artist, and curator working across the disciplines of sound performance, audiovisual installation, as well as sound and visual arts curatorial projects. Conceptually, her artistic practice evolves around spatiality of sound, atonality and audiovisual stillness. With her works, Sandra examines the hybridity of chaotic sound structures and non-musical objects in relation to the immobility of visible spaces. In 2011, Sandra initiated an online audiovisual network UNMUTE, and since has curated virtual collaborative exhibitions, music concerts, major sound art exhibition, and interdisciplinary sound art residencies. Currently, Sandra is undertaking a practice based PhD exploring the notion of sound and embodiment at Goldsmiths College, London, UK.

Discovered at the edge of the world (North of Iceland), this analogue radio signal has become a living memory of the remote place where it was initially recorded. It portrays the location's continuous effort to remain connected to the rest of the world using the notion of live sound. The participants are invited to explore this signal, utilise its compositional potential, and using the microtonal qualities provided by the installation's dial, reconnect to the possible distant place where the signal was first captured.


Stefano Kalonaris is currently a PhD candidate at the Sonic Arts Research Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His interests include Free Improvisation, Game Theory, Machine Learning, Digital Signal Processing, dark chocolate, sunbathing, learning languages. Over the recent years, Stefano has developed a keen interest in live electro-acoustic and live electronics, and has collaborated with artists such as Annette Krebs, Anne La Berge, Robert van Heumen, Andrea Parkins, Tom Mudd. Stefano integrates the use of software, sensors and electronics into his improvisational practice/work and is particularly keen on heteronomic music models that blend improvisational and compositional perspectives.

'noControl' investigates the apparent need of the average user to have immediate and big-featured feedback from a given interface. As patience for response diminishes, so does the ability to be open to subtlety and to wider time window evolving events. The illusion of control over the interface often accompanies this restlessness/impatience. Interactions can therefore manifest in big, dramatic and short lived movements/gestures. Under the hood of noControl, several chaotic behaviours are shaping the sound events to morph continuously and the degree of agency that the user is be able to exercise is limited and partial. Nevertheless, he/she will make belief and assign meaningful mappings between his/her actions and the sonic output. No belief is True. No. Belief. Is. True. (Jed McKenna)


Jeremy Keenan's creative practice has manifested as music, sound installation, and immersive multichannel audio. He has performed and exhibited at venues like the Vienna MuseumsQuartier, the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA), Whitechapel Gallery, ICA, Shunt, Roundhouse, Rich Mix, and Cafe OTO in London, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Galicia, Spain, as well as various galleries and venues in Europe, North America and the UK.Jeremy is a director of the London, UK sonic arts collective Call & Response, through which he has worked with artists like EVOL, Jacob Kirkegaard, Robert Van Heumen, Steinbrüchel, Mark Fell, Mats Lindström, Theo Burt, and Kaffe Matthews.

His current line of practice involves generative composition, live electronic music performance, and sound installation. He is interested in working with real and imaginary signals, audible and inaudible feedback, the uncanny reconfiguration of familiar audio tools like speakers and microphones, and the communicative possibilities inherent in sound. Jeremy creates aural works using motion, recording, feedback, and light. Jeremy has a PhD in studio composition from Goldsmiths College, London in Studio Composition and works at Central Saint Martins, University of Arts London. He is of no known relation to the anthropologist of the same name.


Scott Mc Laughlin is a composer and improviser based in Huddersfield, UK. Born in Ireland (Co. Clare) in 1975. He lectures in composition and music technology at the University of Leeds. His research focuses on the physical materiality of sound and performance, combining approaches from experimental music with dynamical systems theory to explore autopoiesis and recursive feedback systems in constraint-based open form composition. His debut CD "There are neither wholes nor parts" was recently released on Ergodos Records.

This patch is called 'wax-on,wax-off', because that’s the movement most likely to elicit stable response from the system. The patch maps the output pitch to duration-between-direction-changes, and groups the durations into voices based on tolerance for minor timing variance; so several durations close to each other will be treated as one voice, while outliers need to be repeated a few times before they establish their own voice. Try repeating patterns of alternating long and short durations; the more repeated durations (and the more distinct the difference) then the more voices you can generate. The code here is a variation on that written by Dominique Thibault for my 2011 piece 'bifurcations in a continuous system' for midi-keyboard.


John Macedo is a sound artist from London. He has incorporated everything from acoustic instruments and environmental sound to analogue and computer synthesis, into compositions, live performances and sound installations. He has a pluralistic approach which focuses capturing and revealing the creative/musical potential in all sounds, environments and technologies. He performs solo and in collaboration with other musicians on modular synthesizer and custom-made software and electronics.

'Sunrise Doesn't Last All Morning, A Cloudburst Doesn't Last All Day' (title)


Ingrid Plum is a Conceptual Artist working with Sound, Voice, Space, Video. She uses her voice with extended technique, improvisation, field recordings and electronics to create work that sits between sound art, improvisation, multi-media installation, neo classical and contemporary Nordic folk music. "Gorgeously atmospheric vocal techniques woven around field recordings & electronics" - The Guardian

The Siren is a vocal exercise I do every day. I travel through my vocal range gently making an 'ng' sound to begin warming up. Essentially it is a gentle stretch for the voice, like when you first wake and stretch your muscles in bed. It can also be used to measure the health of the voice and whether it is tired or damaged. Musicians I work with regularly are used to hearing me do this before we jam, but sometimes someone new hears it and wonders whether it is even human. As source for a control device it's more alien than ever.


Adriana Sa works across a range of mediums, creating installations and performing using sensor technologies to explore music in conjunction with light, space, movement, architecture, weather and social contexts.

Adriana's contribution uses ten snippets of recordings of her own work, accessible by turning the dial through particular points. These are modified depending on the amount of noise the user makes in turning the dial itself. This allows for users to recombine her material into their own structures, always mediated through the specific way that the dial has been connected to the sounds.


Dario Sanfilippo was born in Agrigento, Italy, in 1983, grew up in Campobello di Licata, and is currently based in Vienna. He is a freelance composer, performer, sound artist and theorist whose research is focused on the study and exploration of complex dynamical feedback systems and their application in non-conventional sound synthesis and processing techniques, improvised human-machine interaction performances, and autonomous sound installations.

His contribution for the Control installation consists of two cross-coupled cascade FM units in which the modulating oscillators are in turn modulated by the output of the system itself. Here, he also implements his idea of systemic mapping in which feedback relationships are established among the system's variables.


Bill Thompson is a video and sound artist living in the UK. He is a self-described throwback to the 60s and enjoys breaking things to hear what they sound like. More information on his activities can be found on his website

Noize Synth was my first real patch of any consequence in Pure Data (a visual programming language similar to Max/MSP). Created in 2007 and occasionally updated, it has provided hours of material for compositions and improvisations over the years and I still use it today. When I originally programmed it I was interested in noisy, glitchy, nasty sounds - sound design the 'wrong way' - using aliasing, bit reduction, distortion etc. I wanted it to sound like a broken machine but with an organic, evolving nature. The patch uses several oscillators that drift out of tune, distortion (bit reduction) and filter units, different math operations that mess with the waveforms, lots of modulation, and a random settings generator that allows for discovering new sounds.


Artur Vidal is a Spanish-born saxophone player and sound artist who grew up in Paris and currently resides in London. As such, he has performed in Europe, Asia and America. His work is interested in listening and improvisation. As an active member of the improvised music scene, he has been playing and recording with musicians who include Eddie Prévost, Phil Durrant, Jennifer Allum, Roger Turner and Sébastien Branche, with whom he makes up the improvising saxophone duo 'Relentless'.He has currently completed an MA in Sound Arts and started in 2013 a research degree at London College of Communication about silence, listening and sociality in Improvised Music.

Hearing Ranges: What if listening was a human technology in the same way as trains, phones or mince pies? And how, if this was true, would non-humans deal with this matter? This piece proposes a listening machinery related to these questions that brings together on a single dial the hearing ranges of a mouse, rat, hamster, rabbit, guinea pig, dog, cat, pig, macaque, human, turtle, bullfrog and pigeon.


Tim Yates is a sound artist and composer working in a variety of media from found objects to interactive software installations. He makes, builds and finds instruments of all kinds for performance and installation, most recently installing a 3.6m tall gong made from an industrial circular saw blade in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern. He is one of the co-founders of, a group dedicated to hacking and experimenting with sound, which runs out of the London Hackspace and the founder of the Carousel Collective. He is a classically trained guitarist and holds a Masters degree in composition from the Royal College of Music.

Sinette begins with the most basic building bock of sound synthesis, the sine wave, and builds a complex malleable sounds using the magic of additive synthesis. Even restricted to only one control knob, it's still possible to create an infinite number of rich, diverse and captivating sounds using the simplest of techniques.


CONTROL presented as part of the Open Data Institute's 2015 Summit

image courtesy of the Open Data Institute

CONTROL presented as part of the Sounding DIY (2017)

photo by Pau Ros
To coincide with the start of CONTROL there was a launch event at Cafe Oto featuring Mark FellEwa Justka and Alberto De Campo. The artists held a Q&A with Christopher Haworth.

Launch Event


September 9 2015 | 8pm | Café Oto
Mark Fell | Alberto De Campo | Ewa Justka | Cristopher Haworth

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Tom Mudd


Algorithms and Agency in Electronic Music: Three Recent Projects

Contingent Events

Live set that can abruptly interrupted by the audience via a red button.

Photo courtesy of Daria Jelonek

A solo performance using 20+ SuperCollider performance systems made by the author and a Midi controller. A large red button is placed in the audience that the audience are invited to press at any time during the performance. Pushing the button instantly and completely changes the nature of the performance system, selecting from the pre-made performance systems. Each system engages in different ways with electronic music cultures, with a wide range of stylistic assumptions and approaches to control and performance embedded in the code for each.


[Audio example (mp3)]


Performance at Algomech Festival


Video from Algomech 2016 in Sheffield.

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Computer Music Labour

Hammer-triggered electronics.


A simple performance where a performer continually strikes a hammer on to a block of wood, triggering sonic events. The importance of everything between the interface and the sounding result is foregrounded through the simplicity of the input: the input is monotonous and repetitive, but the outcomes are rich and varied.

Despite no change from the performer the interaction is reconfigured as the underlying algorithm changes. The aim is to expose not only the importance of the underlying algorithm, but also the amount of labour spent on creating this algorithm, and the musical decisions that must have been made at that stage, contrasting with the nature of the labour in the performance itself.

{keywords: [performance, block, wood, trigger, interface, algorithm, reconfiguration, decisions, labour]}

meta: true
event: almat2020
date: 200919
author: Tom Mudd
place: Online

keywords: [algorithms, agency, control, contingency, interaction]