13 février 2017
Music blog

CALL FOR WORK // Special edition of Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture

CFP: Algorithmic Electronic Dance Music

Special edition of Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture

Guest Editors: Shelly Knotts and Nick Collins


Algorithms are at the heart of the virtual studio software applications underwriting so much contemporary dance music, but are normally the prior preserve of music engineering teams rather than musicians. This special issue, however, engages with algorithms as musical material, and especially with music which is inherently founded on computer programming technique. A recent manifestation of this is the algorave, an explicit site of live algorithmic electronic dance music (EDM), produced through such means as on stage computer programming (algorave.com). Creators of EDM have vast amounts of software at their disposal, including specific musical programming languages; modern digital audio workstations now often include the capacity to utilise a programming language, such as Python and Max/MSP embedded within Ableton Live, or Logic’s MIDI Scripter.

The history of algorithmic techniques within mainstream and experimental fringe dance music predates the coining of the term algorave (Collins and McLean 2014). Powerful computer music coding environments have been co-opted for use in club contexts, by such well known figures as Autechre (Max/MSP), BT (Csound, Composer’s Desktop Project), Cylob, Aphex Twin (SuperCollider), and Holly Herndon (Chuck), amongst many others. Some artists have written their own software from scratch, such as the generative gabba-techno artists slub, or commissioned others to supply it, as with Coldcut and the VJamm and Coldcutter programs.

Research in this area extends from the introduction of new algorithmic techniques for the production of dance music, to the computational analysis of existing EDM, via critical appraisal of algorithms in the wild. Live realtime systems, as well as offline studio software, have been developed. An increasingly algorithmically literate culture will see increasingly algorithmically literate music, and the rise of music-oriented computer programming has great implications for future directions within EDM.

(2014) Nick Collins and Alex McLean “Algorave: live performance of algorithmic electronic dance music”. Proceedings of NIME 2014, London

Potential themes for articles include (but are not limited to):

–    Analysis of the work of algorithmic EDM artists
–    Computational analysis procedures for EDM
–    Surveying algorithmic techniques in EDM production
–    Algorithmic composition projects based on EDM styles
–    Live coding and EDM
–    Web browser based dance music systems (e.g., via Flash, HTML5, Web Audio API et al.)
–    Music Information Retrieval (MIR) systems and EDM content creation
–    The programming of interactive systems for EDM creation
–    Music pedagogy through coding of EDM (e.g., Sonic Pi, EarSketch et al.)
–    Gender, ethnicity and social trends at the crossover of computer music and club culture
–    Collaborating with and through algorithms; EDM groups of musical programmers
–    Algorithmic audiovisuals for club performance
–    Performance and audience reception of Algorithmic EDM


Feature Articles:
Feature Articles will be peer-reviewed and are 6000–9000 words in length (including endnotes, captions and bibliography). For policies, see:

“From the Floor” Articles:
This special edition will also include articles in From the Floor format (750–2500 words), which are very suitable for an artist to critically evaluate their own practice, or an academic to discuss new experiments.  This format will be of particular interest to scholars and practitioners who wish to share some of the insights of their work, but are unable to devote the time necessary for a feature-length article. See guidelines at the Section Policies link above.

Articles must adhere to all style and formatting rules stipulated in the Dancecult Style Guide (DSG). Download it here: https://dj.dancecult.net/public/journals/24/dancecult_styleguide.pdf

Multimedia Submissions:
Dancecult encourages authors to complement their written work with audio and visual material. See the DSG for style and formatting requirements.


This special edition is proposed for publication in Dancecult on 1 November 2018.
If interested, send a 250-word abstract (along with a one hundred word maximum author biography) to Shelly Knotts (knotts.shelly@gmail.com) by 23rd March 2017.

If your abstract is accepted, the deadline for submission of a full article draft to the guest editors for their comments is 1 October 2017. Beyond that, the deadline for online submission to Dancecult (for blind peer-review) is 1 February 2018.

Please send enquiries and expressions of interest to Shelly Knotts: knotts.shelly@gmail.com

A PDF version of this call, with live links and editor biographies.