Algorithmic composition is nothing new – John Cage and Iannis Xenaxis used mathematics and statistics in their earliest works. Brian Eno produced numerous compositions with SSEYO's Koan generative music system, which produces ambient variations for web-pages, mobile devices, and standalone performance. Autechre used algorithmic technique for their Confield and EP7 LPs, and the list goes on…
Squeakyshoecore—McCormick's new album—features funky acid electronic beats composed by his machine using some patches developed in Pure Data. These patches will be soon released under a free software license. I won't discuss here the musicality of those pieces, neither I will elaborate on the specific algorithms he used, but I can assure you that these tracks have a real groove. It is also worth mentioning that Chris has already produced algorithmic hip-hop software and a drum'n'bass generator, both freely available on-line.
To get some more context on the project I caught up with Chris to discuss his recent work.
Marco Donnarumma: Chris why you chose a free software environment as framework for your projects?
Chris McCormick: My choice to use FLOSS was made after I discovered this new GNU/Linux system that was emerging in the 90s, and then I read about the GPL license and the writings by the creator Richard Stallman. Quite apart from the moral implications of that type of software, there are a number of practical, pragmatic reasons why using Free Software makes sense, especially for creative people: