It’s been a while since we’ve posted news on our main site, in good part because we’ve been voicing ourselves mostly via Facebook. Today, however, things are different. A whole lot different. The world is facing an unprecedented pandemic, and we felt like we had to do something to help us all get through these tough times. While we may not be good at developing a vaccine, what we are good at is connecting people. And connect people we shall. With this in mind, we are pleased to announce a free collaborative online laptop music making tool whose brevity has inspired its name.
L2Ork Tweeter (formerly known as L2Orkmatic) is a free open source, collaborative, and cross-platform laptop orchestra telematic (online) jamming tool destined to bring current, past, and aspiring L2Orkists and the community members closer through music. Driven by a simple FM synthesis engine and a loop-based 64-note tracker that runs locally, it aims to minimize the impact of the network latency inherent to online collaboration. The system allows for basic server admin, presence of both performers and guests/observers/audience, includes a chat system, as well as a way for sharing instrument presets, tracker loops, and even entire sessions. It also offers an offline mode where users can create their own works, or enhance the existing ones. So, head to the L2Ork Tweeter page to learn how to install your own free copy and start jamming today!
Over the past several years most of the L2Ork’s activity shifted to the social media channels, most notably the Facebook. L2Ork has continued to grow and develop. This semester we have 15 members. We are developing a new affordable controller (a.k.a. NIME) that will enable greater expressive range. In the fall 2016 we introduced World’s first Raspberry Pi (RPi) Orchestra, starting with an arrangement of Brian Eno’s An Ending (Ascent). We also began exploring broader aesthetics–with the introduction of the RPi Orchestra, we discovered one of our former members Savannah Allen having an amazing talent for rap which has led to L2Ork’s first Rap piece L2Orkin’ Around with the lyrics by Savannah (check out the excerpt here). Most recently, we have been gearing up for a premiere of a new piece inspired by the Alien franchise that also utilizes an accompanying video footage. The plan was to premiere it today as part of the annual Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts scholarship fundraiser concert titled Exposition: Cinescapes. Alas, due to a major snow storm, or what some refer to as snowpocalypse, the event was cancelled. As a result, the Alien will be premiered at the Spring DISIS event.
For those seeking pd-l2ork, rest assured, the project is alive and well. Thanks to the efforts of Jonathan Wilkes and Albert Graef its development has shifted to the 2.x branch that now supports all major platforms and uses Node.js for all its GUI needs. There is still work left to be done before we completely abandon the 1.x branch, most notably the K12 module that remains to be ported. This summer, pd-l2ork has been selected as one of the Google Summer of Code projects. The deadline for application is only day away, but there is still time to apply. For students interested in participating, please subscribe and post your interest on the l2ork-dev mailing list.
This summer, Virginia Tech SOPA and DISIS in collaboration with ICAT, as well as University of Virginia are proudly sponsoring New Interfaces for Musical Expression 2018 international conference. For more info, visit NIME 2018 website.
Stay tuned for more exciting announcements coming soon!