Issue date: 23 May 2003

ISSUE DATE: 23/05/03

Music may never be the same again. As musical genius Brian Eno predicted: “Our grandchildren will marvel at the thought of us listening to the same music over and over again”. A Bristol-based multi-media collective called Socket may be about to prove him right.

They have built what they describe as a genuine electronic audio-visual instrument, called Jungulator, and are now about to launch an online version to reach an even wider audience. Socket’s frontman Nathan Hughes hints at the software’s capabilities, saying: “The Jungulator is a real-time loop playing instrument, and its designer Matthew P Olden has also created algorithms that will randomly generate music from a selection of samples. Music can be atomised into as many as 128 pieces giving enormous real-time control.”

Jungulator fuses DJ and VJ tools along with sophisticated generative algorithms that allow the software to take creative decisions itself. It has capabilities as a real performance instrument - becoming a responsive collaborator rather than a passive tool.

The Socket collective has taken its inspiration from a wide range of people and places, and has received a number of bursaries and awards. They were runners up in the 2002 University of the West of England’s Business Plan Competition, and part of their prize was a year’s place in a UWE business incubator in the centre of Bristol.

“The business plan competition helped to consolidate our potential and develop our strategy – and the office space has given us a good location and a great focal point,” commented Nathan.

Director of New Media Jake Rayson, who has also worked as a UWE Visiting Lecturer in Art, Media & Design, continued: “We are starting to differentiate between the live music performances and the business potential of this software. Already it has been used to create the audio-visual experience of the Brain for the BBC’s Life of Mammals touring exhibit, and we see a long-term future for the self-generative nature of the software in museums and arts centres.”

Nathan continued: “It has huge potential as an educational tool. Because samples are so easy to make with basic computer skills, a complete novice can make music and visuals in only a few hours. More skilled musicians, sound designers and artists can really play around with combinations.”

The upcoming online launch - on 28 and 29 May at the Watershed in Bristol - is part of a tour funded by the Arts Council of England’s New Media Projects Fund.

The launch ranges from Global Pillage – where audio-visual ‘gifts’ from international artists are mixed in real-time on a giant screen – to workshops with local schools and young people’s groups.

The climax is at 9pm on 29 May when a live evening performance by the band I am the Mighty Jungulator aims to cross the boundaries between an innovative club night and improvisational digital art performance.


Editor’s notes

Socket core members are Matthew P Olden, Jake Rayson and Nathan Hughes.
Visit http: //socketlab.net for more information, visuals and sound clips

Launch Programme – all events at Watershed, Bristol:
Wednesday 28 May - 11.30 – 4.30: Youth Workshops with 24 young people from Connexions West in partnership with Youth Music Action Zone; Hotwells and Clifton Wood Community Association and St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School. Supported by REMIX, Bristol & Gloucester Youth Music Action Zone, ACE New Media Projects Fund, Watershed and Hotwells and Clifton Wood Community Association.

Thursday 29 May – 8pm Global Pillage, international collaboration - 9pm: live performance of I Am The Mighty Jungulator

For further information on the launch visit www.watershed.co.uk/socket and www.jungulator.com

Back to top