Shelly Knotts is a Birmingham (UK) based composer and performer of live electronic music. She has engaged in various collaborations experimenting with diverse musical practices, and styles including electroacoustic, jazz, punk and dance music. She has performed, solo and as a member of various collaborative groups, and presented her composition works across the UK and europe.
Shelly completed a Masters degree in focussing on live electronics and network music, at Univeristy of Birmingham in 2011. Shelly was a member of BEAST (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre) 2007–2011 and a founding member of the sound art collective SOUNDkitchen 2010–2012. She has been a member of the – currently hypothetical – laptop band BiLE (Birmingham Laptop Ensemble) since 2011. Shelly was commissioned by the PRSF “Women Make Music” fund for Interleave: a jazz quartet and live electronics project in 2011 and her composition work has been published on Chordpunch record label and in Leonardo Music Journal.
Alo Allik is an estonian artist who has performed his audiovisual works, electroacoustic compositions, eclectic DJ sets and live electronic music throughout the world at some rather renowned and other more obscure events and festivals. His aesthetically and geographically restless lifestyle has enabled him to traverse a diverse range of musical worlds including DJ-ing electronic dance music, live electronic jam sessions, electroacoustic composition, free improvisation and audiovisual performances. Alo is currently based in the UK where he pursues a Ph.D. degree in Creative Music Technology.
This is an experimental collaboration between Shelly Knotts and Alo Allik, two artists who explore the nature of digital environments in the context of live coding from different, mutually augmenting perspectives.
Alo’s live coding environment is based on a large store of SuperCollider SynthDef objects that have been evolved in the course of experiments with gene expression programming. Gene expression programming offers an alternative approach to the genetic paradigm evolving populations of candidate solutions as valid computer programs that can be used for a potentially wide range of problem solving tasks, including sound synthesis. The SuperCollider synthesis server is instructed through unit generator graph functions to calculate a desired sonic outcome. These graph functions are essentially enclosed computer programs that can be encoded into linear chromosomes according to the principles of gene expression programming and evolved by evaluating their fitness and subjecting them to genetic operations. The design of the fitness functions involves statistical methods and machine listening algorithms in an attempt to automate the supervision of the synthesis process. The performative aspect will emerge from managing the hundreds of evolved synthesizers through live coding and guiding the digital evolution in real time as the genetic agents attempt to converge towards the ensuing sonic realm. The visual aspect of the performance seeks to combine 3-dimensional generative graphics with the traditional live code projection, trying to create a visual world where the code becomes an aesthetically significant component of the dynamic world of swarm and cellular automata algorithms.
Shelly will take a more “traditional” approach to live coding in SuperCollider, improvising by creating and controlling SynthDefs in proxy space. This will form the audio-input into Alo’s machine listening procedures. In addition Shelly will be using various audio analysis tools to analyse Alo’s live audiostream and will use the analysis data to effect her own output, creating a “data-feedback loop” between the two performers.