Regenerative Generative

Interactive sound and image performance, conceived in June 2000, by Andrew Garton and Ollie Olsen.

Music is a quality organised in sound and in time, The quality is ungovernable, the forms of organisation are mainly governed by the cultures and societies in which the music appears.
Robert Fripp, liner noters "Gates of Paradise" 1997

Regenerative Generative is the culmination of a series of interactive and generative compositions explored over the past two decades by two composer/performers Ollie Olsen and Andrew Garton.

In recent years, this work has involved the video and 3D animated collage techniques of video and special effects artist, John Power. Collaboration between John and Andrew commenced September 1998. This consisted of improvised sound and image performances culminating in a tour with sound and radio artists, EPC, in Europe in May 1999.

In the early 80's Andrew, under the guidance of composer Sykes Rose, embarked on the development of improvisation techniques towards the realisation of original compositions on both acoustic and electronic instruments. In recent years, this work culminated in a series of interactive web-based sound engines (eg. Tat Fat Size Temple, Freedrum) and the large-scale audio-visual performance, Undercurrents, produced for the Taipei International Arts Festival, Taiwan 2001.

Ollie was exploring similar trajectories at the same time with his experimental electronic work and performances culminating in a career that has seen his influence as the corner-stone of much of what is considered to be the independent electronic music scene in Melbourne.

Andrew and Ollie began sharing ideas and recordings of each others work around the mid-90s, but it wasn't until 98 that they began the real work of developing their concept of the 'interactive composition'.

Two years later, with more experience and a stronger command of their individual tools and processes, they began a more frequent collaboration. The notion of an 'interactive composition' provides both performers with the means to explore traditional means of deep listening and communication to evoke serendipitous moments in sound that may move people in their listening experience.

Regenerative Generative is an attempt to enhance the role of the composer and performer, the reception and participation of an audience to new musical ideas, and perhaps instilling a sense of 'wonder' in the computer mediated creative process as it unfolds.

The basic components of Regenerative Generative are comprised of tools that create a generative underscore at the outset which is further manipulated by re-sampling the composition and folding pre-recorded sound segments into the overall arrangement/mix.

1. Human input
   1.1 Rubicon MIDI Control System
   1.2 PalmPilot
   1.3 WACOM Tablet

2. Generative Software
   2.1 Koan Interactive Audio Engine

3. Sound Generation
   3.1 Koan Synthesiser Engine
   3.2 GX Sound Module
   3.3 PC based sampler

4. Human Regeneration
   4.1 Echoplex
   4.2 Mouse, Keyboard
   4.3 Dual CD players

5. Interactive Software/Sound Generation
   5.1 MetaSynth
   5.2 Super Collider
   5.3 RossTools

6. Sound
   6.1 Mixer
   6.2 PA

The composers are organised around two 'stations'. The first creates the first level input that sets up a generative underscore. The second extracts components of that underscore and regenerates an arrangement based on the movements generated by the first layer.

The outcome is an ever-shifting palatte of sounds, melodic and harmonic structures informed by a constant reinterpretation of inputs and outputs.

Regenerative Generative is about the use of these tools as a means of expression, both steering the composition away from repetition and creating meaningful relationships between sounds and their arrangement within the context of an interactive composition.


  • 02 Dec 2000: Sonic Residues, a festival of electroacoustic music and sound art events, Australian Center for Contemporary Arts, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Accompanied by video artist, John Power and violinist, Justina Curtis. Engineered by Simon Polenski.
  • Oct 2001: Cyberfringe, This is Not Art Festival, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Accompanied by video artist, John Power

This project would not have been possible without the support of SSEYO Ltd.

Posted on February 17, 2005