New Leafcutter John music and Gig at London XOYO

Well I’m currently working in a forest in an undisclosed country working on the new version of my light controlled instrument – this time the wax splattered cardboard gives way to clear acrylic for a slightly more professional appearance.

out with the old

in with the new.

I’m looking forward to playing some new music with this at BEAM@NIME 1st JULY AT XOYO LONDON- info and your tickets here!

I’m also making a record, yes it’s been a long while but I’ve been hard at work trying to make sounds that I’ve never made before and put them together is totally new ways for me. I’m making a lot of software at the moment to explore a new compositional technique which essentially weaves sounds together in different ways. Here is a little portal into the technique…

More exciting developments for you coming up soon….


Vietnam Day 3 Field recording with Richard Eigner and Workshop with Vietnamese Musicians

Richard Eigner getting into the many sounds at a busy intersection in Hanoi

I’m starting to get into the swing of things, body clock is still very confused but the vibe of the city is such that it carries you along on it’s noisy, smoky, hyper-alive wake.  I spent several hours walking around recording and taking photographs with Richard today. And when stepping off the street and into the calm of my hotel I keep noticing that my body is actually vibrating such is the excitement of the city.



Afterwards I headed to the Goethe Institut to give a workshop on my Light controlled music hard/software which was really good fun especially when the audience started getting involved with playing the interface. I learned a lot.

Hanoi Score workshop and Scooter ride including Vietnam’s most controversial Fruit! (Day 2)

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 | Graphic Scores, images, Music!, video | No Comments

This morning I worked with a group of players and composers from Hanoi’s ‘Rhapsody Philharmonic’ we performed my animated graphic score piece.  at the British Council building which was a lot of fun.


As you can see there is no fear of experimentation here. The players made fine use of a steel bin, instrument cases for percussion and tubes to sing down. Their timing was impeccably good and they also laughed a lot too which is no bad thing.


Later on after a little afternoon nap I was picked up by the excellent Cuong on his moped for a tour of Hanoi by night. Cuong is rightly obsessed by fruit and we went on culinary tour which left my tastebuds in a state of complete ecstasy! In the video he points out Vietnam’s most CONTROVERSIAL fruit while skilfully whizzing along the streets of the old town.

Arrived in Hanoi! (Day 1)

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 | images, Live Shows, Max/MSP, Music!, Uncategorized | No Comments

A new track that looks like Chicago in the Fog…

I’ve been beavering away on new music this week. I also bought some software to help me clean up a live recording of my recent piece  with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. These two things came together when I put the track I was working on into the editor and realised it looked quite like a night time image of a city in the fog. I’ve never been to Chicago but from what I’ve seen in photos and film it’s not a million miles away. The visualisation above is a spectrogram which plots the energy in different frequency bands from low at the bottom to high at the top. Time is along the horizontal axis but that is not always be the case….

real-time yum

This image is from an amazing web-app thing I found. It will plot a circular spectrogram of any file on soundcloud. It’s programmed by a guy called Lee Martin.  You can make it work for any track by changing the address:

Click here to see and hear a real-time circular spectrogram of ‘Chicago in the fog’. It works only on newer browsers.

If that’s not working for you here is the track, it’s not quite finished but I’d quite like to know what you think of it.

Hope you enjoyed that,

J x.

What kind of beast is this?

Thursday, July 9th, 2009 | images | 7 Comments

When I was at university a wasp crawled up my trouser leg whilst I was sitting outside, I didn’t realise what had happened until about 20 min later when I had gone inside and was sitting in a lecture and began to feel something tickling my thigh. On scratching my itch the little fella started stinging and much commotion ensued. I was stung five times before I managed to get the wasp out. I have not been very fond of wasps since that day.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that wasps had begun nesting in a water tank just outside of my kitchen window (which is 3 floors up) the entrance to the nest is via an over-flow pipe. I wanted to make some recordings of the wasps so I went out onto the water tank with a microphone & stand running the cable back to my computer. I realised that the wasps were actually very friendly considering how close I was to their nest, they didn’t seem to mind the mic which was a couple of inches from the entrance.  A couple of curious wasps came to check me out but didn’t seem overly concerned by my presence. 

While I was out on the roof I noticed a Large reddish looking insect close to the nest entrance. The insect which was about 3-4 times the size of the regular wasps and had reddish brown wings and back and had yellow makings on it’s abdomen. I didn’t have my camera at the time but this morning I saw it again sitting on the entrance to the nest and managed to get some shots. 


Who are you?

Who are you?

The regular looking wasps don’t seem to mind the larger insect seen here sitting on the entrance to the nest.



So my question to you is, What is it?

Here is a video of the wasps coming and going.



Leafcutter John.

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Return of the Attractors!

Thursday, March 5th, 2009 | Building Things, images, Processing | 1 Comment

I recently received an email asking for more information and code about my attractor experiments in Processing. I initially thought I’d write a little tutorial but as I was searching around I found a great site with code examples by Dave Bollinger. His experiments do almost exactly what I have been doing but his examples are probably better programmed than mine and thus simpler to understand, you can find a load of his work here. And a nice attractor here.

While I was playing with my own attractor I got some nice new images by concentrating the attractors on the x axis:


orbs on the x axis

orbs aligned on the x axis

and a surprising set of moth wings:

Attractors give you wings!

Attractors give you wings!

I also did some non-real-time animations in which the attractors are moved slightly each frame which creates ever-shifting fields of attraction and repulsion which = pretty!

All best,

Leafcutter John.

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Feather Study – PT I – Skeleton

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009 | Building Things, feather study, images, Processing | 2 Comments


Finding more and more ‘educational’ ways to avoid filling in my tax return! Yesterday I started a study of feathers. As is my want at the moment i’m doing it in Processing and have learned lot’s already. 

The feather is built along a Bézier Curve (green). This forms the spine of the feather and is deformed by the two red control points. The spine is divided into equal lengths and a ‘barb’ projects out from each subdivision. The length and angle of the barbs create the different feather shapes. 

Leafcutter John x.

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Processing Arrows

Sunday, January 11th, 2009 | Building Things, images, Processing | 1 Comment

Randomly generated arrow compositions which came about while I was learning about classes in Processing. Click image for more on flickr.


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