EspGrid 0.42 released

We are pleased to announce the official release of version 0.42 of the EspGrid software – the synchronization and sharing software for laptop ensembles developed by researcher Dr. David Ogborn around the Cybernetic Orchestra at McMaster University, during the project “Scalable, Collective Traditions of Electronic Sound Performance” (supported by Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, SSHRC). The software and some additional helpful files (code/patches) can be downloaded here:

Over the course of the past year, earlier versions of the software have been presented at the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium, the Audio Engineering Society Convention in San Francisco, and most recently, the live.code.festival in Karlsruhe, Germany. This 0.42 release is a “clean-up release” – with better stability and synchronization. EspGrid has been developed around the ideas of neutrality and hybridity with respect to the languages and environments employed by laptop and live coding performers. The EspGrid application “sits in the background” and takes care of clock synchronization, to a large degree independent of the diverse and multiple “foreground” environments in which performers/creators work. Another participant in the live.code.festival session (chair Alex McLean, if I recall correctly) provided a perfect example of the intent of the EspGrid software: three electronic musicians find themselves on a train together; despite all using different languages/tools to make their music, they each fire up EspGrid and instantly share a tight common clock and a metronome that anyone can control. Jamming ensues…

The EspGrid software is being made available to community as free and open source software (GNU public license version 3). The code base of the software includes a large and growing number of unit tests, and development should proceed according to the principles of test-driven development. The rudiments of a help/documentation system are in place. Binary executables exist only for Mac OS X at the present moment but the Windows and Linux ports of the software are the highest, immediate priority following this release. Windows and Linux users in mixed laptop ensembles don’t need to wait for these ports however: there is a “side chain” mechanism that allows users/machines without a running grid to piggyback on a user/machine that is running the grid.

To get/browse the source code, visit the software’s Google code site at:

Enjoy – and feel free to get in touch for help/issues with the software. We hope that some of you will find this useful, and look forward to working with you on the (gradual) evolution of this tool!

EspGrid 0.41 – live.code.festival pre-release

To celebrate the live.code.festival 2013 at the Karlsruhe University of Music, here is a “pre-release” version of the EspGrid synchronization/sharing software (version 0.41). Doubtless it has a few bugs in it – so watch for a cleaned up release soon! Download link for the EspGrid software+help is here: ; Download link for a few helpful extras (ChucK and Max “helper” objects mainly) is here: – Enjoy!

Cybernetic Orchestra performance and workshop (Toronto)

At 10 PM Sat Nov 10 at the Tranzac Club (292 Brunswick St, Toronto, closest subway: Spadina) the Cybernetic Orchestra – the laptop orchestra at McMaster with an emphasis on live coding – will be playing a set as part of the 416 Improvisers Festival. Full details on the festival are here:

Earlier the same day, orchestra director David Ogborn will lead a free public workshop on live coding in ChucK, with an emphasis on the kind of nimble, responsive coding performance we try to develop in the Cybernetic Orchestra. The workshop is from 2-5 PM, at the Rogers Communication Centre, Ryerson University, 80 Gould Street (at Church street)- just east of Yonge, and north of Dundas, near Dundas subway station. Workshop participants will meet in the foyer at 2 PM and be lead into a closed studio. If you want to attend and arrive after 2 PM, please call 289-439-3252 to be let in! Don’t forget to bring a laptop if you can!

EspGrid at the 133rd AES Convention in San Francisco

Here’s a photo of researcher David Ogborn presenting the EspGrid software in an engineering brief session at the 133rd Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention in San Francisco – Oct 26-29 2012!

David Ogborn presenting EspGrid at the 133rd AES Convention

EspGrid software to be shown at AES convention

The EspGrid software, developed by David Ogborn and incubated in the Cybernetic Orchestra at McMaster University, will be presented at the 133rd Convention of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) in San Francisco, California. Ogborn will present the software in an Engineering Brief poster session (Monday 29 Oct 9:30-11 AM) that allows for substantial discussion and hands on interaction with the software. Here’s the abstract!

EspGrid: A Protocol for Participatory Electronic Ensemble Performance—David Ogborn, McMaster University – Hamilton, ON, Canada

EspGrid is a protocol developed to streamline the sharing of timing, code, audio, and video in participatory electronic ensembles, such as laptop orchestras. An application implementing the protocol runs on every machine in the ensemble, and a series of “thin” helper objects connect the shared data to the diverse languages that live electronic musicians use during performance (Max, ChucK, SuperCollider, PD, etc.). The protocol/application has been developed and tested in the busy rehearsal and performance environment of McMaster University’s Cybernetic Orchestra, during the project “Scalable, Collective Traditions of Electronic Sound Performance” supported by Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Arts Research Board of McMaster University.

Engineering Brief 70

Full details about the AES convention can be found here:

McMaster ESP research at 6th Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium

This week is the sixth annual Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium – and it is being veritably invaded by McMaster electronic music performers and researchers. All of the events are at the Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St, Toronto – so if you are interested and/or around – drop by! Some of the ways in which McMaster ESP research will be represented in Toronto include:

1. Nicolas Hesler, a grad student in the MA in Communication and New Media is presenting his research entitled “Warring with the Screen: Real-time visual live coding strategy and technique” in the Thu 16 Aug 9:30-11 AM session.

2. Ian Jarvis, another grad student in the MA in Communication and New Media is presenting his research entitled “Creating a Scalable Laptop Composition for Multiple Formats”.

3. The ESP research group will present on progress in the SSHRC-funded project “Scalable, Collective Traditions of Electronic Sound Performance” including a demonstration of the sharing software developed for and around McMaster’s laptop orchestra, the Cybernetic Orchestra.

4. The MiND ensemble, formed through action research in the McMaster grad course CSMM 711 Sound as Art and Research, will perform during an evening concert at 8 PM on Thu 16 Aug. Later, on Saturday, the ensemble’s fixed media video “5 actions” will be presented.

5. Last but not least, the Cybernetic Orchestra is the “ensemble in residence” for a special session on participatory electronic performance, 2 – 4 PM on Sat 18 Aug. The orchestra will perform and deconstruct it’s own works as well as those submitted by international composers. Audience participation strongly encouraged.

More details are here:

Congratulations to Elise Milani – first winner of Chin Chin Award

Big congratulations to Elise Milani on her selection as the first annual recipient of the Chin Chin Award in Electroacoustic Studies / Sound Art! Milani is going into the fourth year of a double major in Multimedia and Communication Studies. In addition to excelling in various courses in audio production offered by the Multimedia program, Milani has been a member of the Cybernetic Orchestra (McMaster’s laptop orchestra) since January 2011. Alongside her musical work, Milani is actively involved with student politics, and is currently representing the humanities in the McMaster Students Union.

Milani’s solo electronic compositions can be heard on her Soundcloud page []. You can also hear her work with the McMaster Cybernetic Orchestra on the orchestra’s debut album “esp.beat” (released April 2012). In addition to performing with the orchestra during the recording sessions for the album, she mixed the track “Okkar Hljómsveit” (the title means “Our Orchestra” in Icelandic):

The Chin-Chin Award in Electroacoustic Studies / Sound Art was established in 2011 at McMaster University with the financial assistance of Professor Kevin Austin of Montreal, a co-founder of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC). The award celebrates the continuing artistic contribution of Chin-Chin Chen, the Taiwanese-American composer. Her music degree are in both performance and composition.

Call for Ideas: 2nd special session on Participatory Electronic Ensemble Performance (PEEP)

For the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium 2012 (Aug 15-18 2012) I am again curating a special session on participatory electronic ensemble performance (PEEP) – such as laptop orchestras, live coding groups, telematic improvisation sessions, and other collective electroacoustic forms. I am writing to you now to invite proposals for compositions, instruments, experiments and other activities that might be included in the session. I see this taking shape in an “unconference” kind of way where I will endeavour to include as many of the submitted ideas as possible, taking into account the available time, human and technical resources.

The laptop orchestra I direct at McMaster University (the Cybernetic Orchestra) will be at the session ready to perform with selected materials (i.e. we’ll be devoting our remaining rehearsals in July and August to preparing for the session). The orchestra is willing to try anything. Live coding with ChucK is the orchestra’s core strength – with pockets within the orchestra developing strong skills with MaxMSP and SuperCollider. But I repeat: we are willing to try anything! Feel free to make proposals involving other performers at the symposium, symposium attendees, and the general public also.

So… if you are involved with participatory electronic ensemble performance in any form (or know people who are) – please consider sending me (or encouraging someone else to send me) a proposal. Proposals should be sent to me at in plain-text email. Thanks in advance for forwarding this – I look forward to hearing from many of you! -Sincerely, David Ogborn

Deadline for proposals: Tuesday 31 July 2012
Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium: 15-18 August 2012
Participatory Electronic Ensemble Performance Session: 2-4 PM on Saturday 18 August 2012
The Cybernetic Orchestra —
TES 2012 —

Interactive audiovisual installation at July 2012 art crawl

Cybernetic Orchestra and ESP research group members Aaron Hutchinson, Amy McIntosh, Andrew O’Connor and Kearon Roy Taylor will exhibit their installation piece ‘Quantal’ (sculpture/sound/video) at the Hamilton Audio Visual Node (, 26 Barton St. E as part of Hamilton’s monthly art crawl. July 13th 2012, 7-11pm, free admission, see you there!

Cybernetic Orchestra in worldwide telematic jam session

The Cybernetic Orchestra will be performing in a 6-hour-long worldwide telematic jam session, organized by Electroacoustics at Concordia University, as part of the New Adventures in Sound Art’s (NAISA) Deep Wireless Festival 2012. The jam session – entitled “Hug the World” includes performances of artists from 50 locations around the world, including US, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Greece, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

The session runs from 3 PM until 9 PM (EST) and will be webcast on NAISA’s internet radio:

Potential performers include: Alessandro Fogar,Bernardo Piñero, Bridges Ben, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, Byron Dean, C.R. Kasprzyk, Chusé Fernández, Claudio Rivera-Seguel, Constantine Katsiris, Damaris Baker, Dan Godston, Das Bluul, Cybernetic Orchestra, Doug Van Nort, Ede Cameron, Eliana Rosales, Elizabeth De Vegt, Ernesto Romeo, Florian Hartlieb, Gerardo Della Vecchia, Gregory Emfietzis, Gro Sarauw, Guillaume Loizillon, Hans Clebsch, Ian Whalley, Ian and Laura Birse, Ivan Sanchez, Ivan Zavada, Jeffrey Sinibaldi, Jennifer Ruzicka, Jimmy Miklavcic, Joel Ong, Johannes Bergmark, john sobocan, Jon Aveyard, José (Tuti) Fornari, Juan A. Romero, Juan De Cicco, Judy Dunaway, Julian Brooks, Julian Scordato, Kieran Ruffles, Lukas Simonis, marcella mandanici, Marcos Fernandes, Martin Back, Michael Palumbo, Roger Mills, Natalia Pajariño, Norah Lorway, Pablo Anglade, Per Platou, Pierre Jolivet, Pierre Massat, Raphael Roter, Raúl Minsburg, Ricardo Dal Farra, richard moule, Robert MacKay, Sally McIntyre, Scott Colburn, Sharon Stewart, Stefan Smulovitz, Stelios Giannoulakis, Steven Hall, Travis Johns, Ximena Alarcon, and others.

A huge thanks to Eldad Tsabary and NAISA for organizing the jam session!

The event on Facebook:
Announcement on Concordia’s website:
Deep Wireless Festival: