Eimear + Alex in Abbeydale Picture House Sheffield

TidalCycle / Superdirt

TidalCycles (or ‘tidal’ for short) is free/open source software, that allows you to make patterns with code, whether live coding music at algoraves or composing in the studio.

It includes language for describing flexible (e.g. polyphonic, polyrhythmic, generative) sequences. It also has an extensive library of patterning functions, for transforming and combining them.

Tidal is highly composable in that pattern transformations can be easily combined together, allowing you to quickly create complex patterns from simple ingredients.

Tidal does not make sound itself, but is designed for use with the featureful SuperDirt synth, and can control other synths over Open Sound Control or MIDI. Whether you’re using SuperDirt or a synth, every filter and effect can be patterned and manipulated independently with Tidal patterns.

Tidal is embedded in the Haskell language, although you don’t have to learn Haskell to learn Tidal – most tidal coders have little or no experience in software engineering.


Alex McLean is a musician, software artist and researcher based in Sheffield UK. Alex co-founded the TOPLAP and Algorave live coding / algorithmic movements, and developed the TidalCycles live coding environment for algorithmic patterns. He also researches ancient textile patterns as part of the PENELOPE project based in Deutsches Museum Munich.

Eimear O'Donovan

Eimear O’Donovan is an Irish vocalist and musician based in Sheffield. A founding member of the bands Ganglions, Waldo Reset and Laundry Hepburn, she is an occasional collaborator on bass and vocals with The Nervy Betters.

She is active in the Sacred Harp singing community, a four-part harmony a capella vocal tradition rooted in southern US Primitive Baptist congregational singing with ties to Appalachian folk melodies.

Previous projects includes her work with band KVX (2004-2010), collaboration with Irish electronic producer Bantum (2010-2014), and as an ensemble player with Gamelan Sekar Petak (University of York, 2015) and with the Cork GamelanEnsemble (2009-2014).

As well as her music career, she is co-producer of Algomech festival of algorithmic and mechanical music and dance, and works as Events & Bar manager at Regather Co-Operative in Sheffield.