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: http://esp.mcmaster.ca/EspGrid-0.42-OSX-10.7.zip
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: http://code.google.com/p/espgrid
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!