“Don’t try to understand Alex’s code, it’s a waste of time for beginners, they’re all off record.”

On my first day of residency I met Alex McLean, the live coder who wrote the programming language TidalCycle and as my final project we’re playing a set together the next Friday at Algorave, short for algorithmic rave, It finally happened. And it was LOADS of fun. We were debating the day earlier if we want to do it simply at the lab or set up the stage and make it a small party, I suggested half jokingly:”

“We can set it up at Access Space, open the doors for anyone who wants to come in. It’s St Patrick’s day, all the drunk people would be attracted to techno, come in and dance, have a blast, discover the joy of computer science, and we raise them up to be makers:P”

Alex seemed to be intrigued:”Haha, that sounds good.”


Alex’s music various from chill relaxing notes to electronic dance music to futuristic tunes that takes you to another world. Every randomly generated simple beat he could take it, play around with it, and go crazy with it.

It was my first experience as an on-stage musician, and a special one. To perform computer music live – live coding – is kind of like improv concert, on a laptop, with text and algorithm. It is a whole new way of creating music. Back in Shenzhen, I was also experiencing computer music, but with another software named ChucK. The differences between these two languages is that ChucK is a synthesizer, it has the flexibility to generate various of sound whereas with Tidal use existing sound samples and eliminate the process of writing lines of code just to make a sound. Both language has many different potentials, a collaboration of both could do wonders. Tidal could be the new method of learning coding for beginners, if you’re a programmer looking to get into music, or an artist looking to get into coding. You’ve found your next project.

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