gen~ Working Group

Summer 2023 to Winter 2024 | 18:00-20:00 CT | Hybrid / Pilsen + Zoom

note: the Gen~ working group is regearing energy towards the BADS_LAB and Futurhythm Machines projects.


The gen~ working group was started to approach the gen~ toolset inside of Max/MSP in a collective learning environment and to cultivate cameraderie and mutual support between thoughtful practitioners in sound in Chicago area and beyond. Starting in Summer 2023, we design our own curriculum starting from the 2022 text “Organizing Time and Generating Sound” by Graham Wakefield and Gregory Taylor.


The group meets fortnightly in-person in Chicago and online. There is no cost for participation, but you need to supply your own copy of the book ($20-40) and a Max license (~$10 a month or $200-300 permanent license).


10 years ago, Cycling 74 released a new toolkit inside of the Max/MSP/Jitter visual programming environment called gen~. Embedded inside Max, gen~ allowed for programming signal processing operations at signal rate (44,000 or more times per second). The consequences of this are both practically and cerebrally exciting. On one hand, the gen~ optomizies the knock on performance costs of working in a visual programming environment, effectively competing with GLSL or C. This means if you are porting instruments or control programs into Ableton via Max for Live, you stand to see performance improvements. The recent release of rnbo amplifies the portability and practicality of gen~ considerably.

By working at the level of a single sample, gen~ conceptually and materially expands what is possible with Max. Computational sound practitioner and theorist Curtis Road’s provocative compositional and programming framework “microsound” can be taken up more fluently than before.

More recently, Gregory Taylor and Graham Wakefield published a textbook for gen~ workflow. This curricular onramp has gen~erated a renewed excitement around the platform, which shifts the max/msp paradigm slightly.

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