void loop() is a collection of performances in an elaborate Minecraft world. Audio from the game is routed through Ableton Live for some live looping and other antics.
void loop () is a growing collection of pieces inside a Minecraft world (void biome). The title is a reference to the biome, the looping techniques I use, and the Arduino function – the Arduino IDE was used to program a Teensy 3.2 board that a Twitch audience can use to control my Minecraft Character. Chat users can enter commands like !left and !right to turn my character at times during the performance.
While I am always working on new works, the performance currently features 4 works:
(1) Mine…Minecraft – by my daughter, Luna (age 7) – this is fixed audio and some automated character dance moves – aided by the audience with the aforementioned chat commands.
(2) Pink Bats or something like it – The Ableton Live set I use for this piece was created by Kevin Dacey and myself for a piece called Pink Bats for kalimba, guitar, and Ableton Live looping. This version of the performance replaces all of the acoustic instruments with the samples of Gamelan Galak Tika (recorded by me) triggered in Minecraft in real-time. The looping is done using Ableton Live with Clyphx Pro.
(3) Chicken Hero, Villager Hero, Cow Hero – Mobs fall from the sky to trigger various sounds while I improvise with some long tones in game. The audio is routed through several effects.
(4) Everything Ends Here – by Alessandro Cortini. The original recording of this piece is for synthesizer, and it features one of the most distinctive examples of timbral development I am aware of. In this version, a villager rides a minecart around a rail with triggers for the various pitches. The simple counterpoint slowly becomes revealed as I open a low pass filter and gradually add fuzz and reverb. The piece ends with a few surprises.
Currently, the performance sits around 25 minutes with gaps between each number. Because of the nature of the music, it can be stretched out to 30-40 minutes if necessary.
I direct the Contemporary Electronic Ensemble at UMass Lowell. We have been virtual since March 2020, and since most of the group members gravitate towards experimental technologies, we have played around with some ways to get back to a world of real-time collaboration. In November, I discovered Minecraft as a way for students to interact with musical Objects, so I began writing into my curriculum for the ensemble. We officially began making musical worlds together this January. I decided to create my own solo world to give the students some ideas, and void loop() is the result. It required several months to research and learn redstone circuits along with command block syntax and resource pack building. My primary goal with electronics is to make them every bit as expressive as acoustic instruments. Minecraft has made this easy for me because of its intuitive control scheme and hackability.