Call for participation – The First Musebot Ensemble – first deadline 1 May 2015

This is a call to participate in the first musebot ensemble. Musebots are “pieces of software that autonomously create music, collaboratively with other musebots”. The goal of this project is to establish a fascinating creative platform for experimenting with musical autonomy, open to people developing cutting-edge music AI, or simply exploring the creative potential of generative processes in music. Musebots are a way for generative music makers to think out of the box and explore new territory by working with others, just as you do in a band.

You mean a robot jam session?
We’d prefer to think of it like this: imagine composing music in any Digital Audio Workstation, but then replacing each of the tracks with an autonomous music-making software agent, that has to work with the other tracks to make the final piece of music. It’s a study into intelligent musical self-organisation. “Human musicians having a jam” can make for a useful metaphor, but computers can do things differently, so we prefer not to fixate on that metaphor. Either way, getting software agents to work together requires thinking about how music is constructed, and working out shared paradigms for its automation.

The 2015 musebot ensemble series
A preliminary musebot experiment will be held at the 2015 International Conference on Computational Creativity (ICCC) at Park City, Utah, June 29th-July 2nd, 2015.

The first official musebot ensemble will be at ISEA 2015 in Vancouver, Canada, August 14th-18th 2015. Our Musebot Conductor software will automatically script the startup and shutdown of musebots over a local network of computers, creating an autonomous ongoing listening room.

This will be a curated event, with musebot submissions being put together in small ensembles of 2 to 8 agents that last 1 hour each, or segue together. We welcome you to form collaborative teams and work together to make your musebots interact in meaningful ways. Equally, submit your agents alone and we will curate collections of agents that we feel work well together. In the latter case there will be opportunities to audition your agent in context with other agents and adapt your designs accordingly. We accept submissions in any style, but we expect the predominant style to be downtempo EDM (100-130bpm). Think automating Autechre or Kraftwerk.

As the musebot project evolves, we want to see how much autonomy can be given to the conductor, and how participants can get their musebots working together. Future musebot ensemble events will be announced later in the year. Plus all of the software is open-source, so you can do your own event.

How to contribute
Read the Musebot Specification (comments welcome).
Download the Musebot Developer Kit (or check it out with git) (comments welcome).
NOTE the Musebot Controller and examples are works in progress and are merely indicative of how a Musebot should be implemented.
Make a musebot.
– Team up with colleagues to get your musebots talking to each other.
– Teaching music tech? Get your class to make musebots as an assignment.
– Host a musebot ensemble yourself.

(Please drop us an informal email to let us know that you’re vaguely or very interested in making a musebot).
Deadline for submissions to ICCC preliminary event: May 1st.
Deadline for submissions to ISEA musebot ensemble: July 1st.

Submission: email a link to your musebot to oliver.bown [at] Make sure you follow the spec and test that it works with the musebot conductor.

Musebot Team / Curatorial Panel
Oliver Bown
Arne Eigenfeldt
Philippe Pasquier
Ben Carey