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General Information
Related genresElectronic music, computer music, generative music, electronic dance music, techno
Related eventsMusic festival, rave, electronic dance music festivals, circuit party
Related topicsLive electronic music, VJ, livecoding

An algorave (from an algorithm and rave) is an event where people dance to music generated from algorithms, often using live coding techniques.[1] Alex McLean of Slub and Nick Collins coined the word "algorave" in 2011, and the first event under such a name was organised in London, UK.[2] It has since become a movement, with algoraves taking place around the world.[3][4]


Algorave logo (a spirangle), based on a three-armed Brigid's Cross.

Algoraves can include a range of styles, including a complex form of minimal techno, and the movement has been described as a meeting point of hacker philosophy, geek culture, and clubbing.[5] Although live coding is commonplace,[6] any algorithmic music is welcome which is "wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive conditionals",[7] which is a corruption of the definition of rave music (“wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats”)[8] in the UK's Criminal Justice Act. Although algorave musicians have been compared with DJs,[9] they are in fact live musicians or improvisers, creating music live, usually by writing or modifying code, rather than mixing recorded music.[10]

At an algorave the computer musician may not be the main point of focus for the audience and instead attention may be centered on a screen that displays live coding, that is the process of writing source code, so the audience can not just dance or listen to the music generated by the source code but also to see the process of programming.


Algorithmic approaches have long been applied in electronic dance music from the 1970s when Brian Eno established randomised musical practises which evolved into generative music over the course of his long career. This, in turn, influenced rave culture and techno of the 1990s by Farmers Manual, Autechre, and Aphex Twin. The Anti EP was an explicit response to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 - specifically the track "Flutter" as a means of creating "non-repetitive beats" at raves which had been outlawed by the wording of the Act. The snare rush famously featured on the Girl/Boy EP of 1996 is an earlier form of digital algorithmic coding and featured in drum and bass influenced electronic music of the early to mid 1990s, this approach later evolving into glitch music. Traditional use of algorithms include Maypole dancing, where they are applied to the dance itself as a form of Algorithmic Choreography and bell-ringing. The first self-proclaimed "algorave" was held in London as a warmup concert for the SuperCollider Symposium 2012.[11][12] However, the name was first coined in 2011, after live coders Nick Collins and Alex McLean tuned into a happy hardcore pirate radio station on the way to a performance in the UK.[5] Since then, algorave has been growing into an international movement, with algoraves having been held mainly in Europe and Asia;[13] and few events in Australia[14] and North America.[15][16][17]


Algorave can also be considered an international music movement with a community of electronic musicians, visual artists and developing technologies. See the Algorave category page.


  1. ^ Dazed. "What on earth is livecoding?". Dazed.
  2. ^ Cheshire, Tom (29 August 2013). "Hacking meets clubbing with the 'algorave'". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  3. ^ Marvin, Rob (21 April 2014). "Algoraves: Dancing to live coding". SD Times. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Algorave: The live coding movement that makes next-level electronic music". Mixmag. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  5. ^ a b "Hacking meets clubbing with the 'algorave'". Wired UK.
  6. ^ Mark Guzdial (26 September 2013). "Trip Report on Dagstuhl Seminar on Live Coding".
  7. ^ "Algoraves: dancing to algorithms". Boing Boing.
  8. ^ "Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994".
  9. ^ "Les programmeurs sont les nouveaux DJ".
  10. ^ "Algorave". in-corporeo.
  11. ^ "Live AlgoRave – video highlights - SuperCollider Symposium 2012". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  12. ^ "RA: Supercollider 2012 Warm Up – Live Algorave at Nnnnn, London (2012)". Resident Advisor.
  13. ^ "Algorave ++ Noise". Resident Advisor.
  14. ^ "Algorave". Resident Advisor.
  15. ^ ArmadaDe Lindo (2014-01-04), armada de lindo, august 9 2013, retrieved 2016-04-24
  16. ^ "The Grid TO". Archived from the original on 2013-08-16. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  17. ^ "/*vivo*/ 2012". Archived from the original on 2015-09-08.

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