A Day in the Algorithmic Rave Scene

Exploring the Algorave Community

Envision yourself in a dark room surrounded by all types of people who came to watch performers code music on their laptop. Meanwhile, the girl in front dances like she just won the lottery.

Jackpot! I found the underground algorave scene in Madison, WI. After spending the day following up on an event suggestion for a coding workshop, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I came to practice coding but found myself vibing to electronic beats in Communication, an artist-friendly sober space.

Kindohm teaching a workshop on how to code.

“In this setting, the history of code is meaningless,” Minneapolis Algorave D.J. Kindohm said.

He led a workshop I attended earlier that day on the basic elements and skills of the craft. Kindohm also taught everyone the five elements of live coding; improvised, ephemeral, accident-prone, projected, on-the-fly compilation. Sounds simple but what exactly is “live coding” and “algorithmic rave music?”

“Sounds wholly or predominantly characterized by the emission of a succession of repetitive conditionals,” joking put online referencing the definition for rave or electronic music in the United Kingdom, however, algoraves are like regular modern-day raves, except the music comes from computer signals, codes. Coding can transform anything, including music and dance.

“As the coder, I get to guide things down a certain path but at the end, the code gets to have its own voice,” Kindohm said.

Algoraves do not necessarily even have to feature live music, it’s just apart of the culture. Coders can basically do anything they want. Similar to the early days of the internet, no one person has the authority to say who gets to do what and how.

“There’s more than just music and visuals too,” Kindohm said.

Later that night, Kindohm expresses his freedom in front of an audience who came to witness coders performing sound. Alongside Pittsburgh-based performer Spednar and other Madison-based performers including Tarek Sabbar and Dan Fitch, 17.2m and 1trainwreck they turned the power on and shut the house down.

“Rather than make code for the man, do your own thing. Make code for yourself,” Kindohm said.