Algobabez MUTEK, Montreal QC, August 25
Published Aug 26, 2018If anyone wasn't familiar with the burgeoning style known as algorave before Algobabez's MUTEK performance, they no doubt left the venue full of curiosity. The idea behind their show, and indeed this whole genre, was to make music by writing code, live. Algobabez used open-source software SuperCollider, which was projected on to the screen behind them, letting you watch them literally copy, paste, delete and generate code on the fly.
With each new alteration to the code, the music shifted accordingly, sometimes haphazardly — this is a style that embraces human error, after all. Still, it wasn't nearly as abrupt as you might think. How they managed to enter huge lines of code without the music drastically changing with every mouse click is beyond this writer. At times they generated some very peculiar squeals, which almost sounded like the computer was trying to fight all logic and speak to the crowd. It never did manage to get past a gurgle.
It seems like a maddening, yet thoroughly impressive way to make music, and the fact that they got any groove going at all is impressive in its own right; to get some dark, pulsing techno out of it was just the cherry on top.