United Laptop Orchestra

The United Laptop Orchestra started as a follow-up project out of Stephan Athanas’ MaxMSP-course at the Hochschule Lucerne in 2011. The students were able to built their own synthesizer & soundprocessing MaxMSP-patches.

Hochschule Luzern – Design Bachelor & Master Exhibition, 2011, Lucerne/Switzerland
Radio Lora – Elektromagnetischer Sommer 2011, Zürich/Switzerland

Due to my practical experience in Processing, I developed several sound-visualizations that made use of Processing’s internal FFT-analysis functions combined with some basic interaction possibilities. The signal was routed to a custom MaxMSP-patch to make use of basic videomixer-possibilities.


The hungarian/austrian composer György Sándor Ligeti composed “Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes” in 1962. The huge amount of metronomes, each with a slightly different tempo, generates numerous micro-rhythms. But as soon as the listener recognizes the rhythm, it gets lost in the symphonic’s random chaos.

Each student made use of an individual frequency band and performed custom made sound-processing patches. As a result, a complex soundscape was developed in realtime by four musicians.

Jacques Tati’s “mon oncle” – Revisted – preview
“Mon once”, a comedy by french filmmaker Jacques Tati set into new context by realtime sound-dubbing. The viewers were able to see a preview of the Orchestra’s complete show for the One Minute Festival in Aarau/Switzerland, 2011.

130 BPM
Finally and again in realtime, custom-made beatmachines, looping-patches and experimental “process-everything-to-audio” MaxMSP-constructions were synched to 130 beat per minute to perform a ready-to-dance track.


United Laptop Orchestra – by:
Stephan Athanas, Sabine Haerri, Samuel Frei, André Motz, Michel Winterberg.

MaxMSP _Jitter von 0 auf 100 in 2 Semestern,
Hochschule Luzern, FH Nordwestschweiz,

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