Radio from the past, meet radio from the future. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Nic McPhee.

Tired of top 40 hits? Pooped on podcasts? Sapped on streams?

What if your radio could generative music that was never-before — and never-again — heard, all from dynamic, algorithmic software?

PatchWork Radio does that with Pd patches. It’s not a new idea, but the radio station here, at least, is modular – not just one patch but any number of patches can be transformed into radio, thanks to some Python scripting. Creator David Guy John notes:

I’ve recently just started up an internet radio station using PureData to stream generative music. The system will load and unload randomly chosen PD patches, synthesize all the audio in real time and then stream the results out.

You can listen to the stream at and more info is available at

I’m hoping to try and recruit some help to build patches for it as it’s a bit of a daunting task to do just on my own so if you could let people know about it I’d be really grateful.

So, who’s in – does this generate (ahem) some interest or ideas, and might you want to contribute?

It seems fitting that the kind of musical worlds imagined by artists like Brian Eno now can be deployed anywhere in the world, not just generated in one iteration, but in endlessly-transformable versions.

(But can you dance to it?)

  • It's playing some wild stuff in 7/4 right now. Enjoying it 😉

  • Dan

    This is brilliant. I'd like to see a similar thing for Max/MSP patches.

  • GSR

    Sure sounds like a great idea (I too would love to get involved in a similar thing for Max/MSP) but I can't get the darn thing to stream/play no matter what I try:(

  • I think it doesnt love macs 🙁

  • Tristan

    worked ok on my mac

  • Peter Kirn

    Oh, yeah, linking it on CDM may be hammering the server. 😉 Let us know how you do, folks.

  • Thanks for the write up Peter, glad you like it.

    apologies to any body trying to listen right now, I'm having a few issues, I'm guessing caused by the number of people hitting it. I think I've got everything sorted but I'll be keeping a close eye on things for the rest of the evening.

    I'm guessing you could do the same thing with MaxMSP but PD is preferable due to it running on a *nix box. You'd have to jump through a few more hoops with Max but in principle it should all still work fine

  • Peter Kirn

    Also, Max users … porting Max patches to Pd really isn't that hard. The Pd wiki even has a reference for Max users. Reverse is also true, pretty easy to port back to Max (e.g., for Max for Live).

  • Cody Loydq

    I've done this before over at the radio station 🙂 its super fun.

  • newmiracle

    This is awesome! I have a patch I've been working on that would be great with this. This is why I come to CDM.

  • This is a great idea.

  • newmiracle, have a read up on the blog of what changes you might need to make to your patch and then drop me an email with it and we'll see about getting it added.

  • Regarding MaxMSP compatibility.
    The documentation doesn't say what version of PureData is running, if it's "Extended" then Cyclone should already be present which gives you a vast amount of MaxMSP 4.x compatibility automatically. If it's "Vanilla" it might be possible to for the site to add the Cyclone externals with very little effort. Porting Max 5 patchers back to Pd is a bit of a hassle (you have to use a SuperCollider script), but it's quite doable.

  • Awesome by the way.

  • at the moment it's total madness!
    nice 😉

  • This is really lovely!

  • GSR

    Gosh darn it–I wanna hear too!
    Been trying every so often–still won't work for me:(
    Mac OS10.6.6, latest iTunes, etc.

  • hey GSR, sorry I assumed your problems were sorted when i fixed up the streams.
    I'm guessing the issue might be due to the stream format being ogg. you may need to get the xiph QT plugin.

    if that doesn;t work then have a go at downloading vlc and see if you can hear it in that.

    to anybody else who keeps getting dropped by the stream, apologies, it seems that a few bugs are appearing that cause the python process to crash, i'm trying to hunt it down now but it's proving slippery

  • Peter Kirn

    One easy way to try those OGG streams, too, if you don't want to muck around with QT plug-ins — try a player like VLC (

  • MMI

    I, for one, welcome our generative overlords.

  • GSR

    Right on, Peter—rocking it now with VLC . . .

  • The treble's kinda rough at the moment.
    I never really "get" these things.

  • Cool idea! I never ported Max/MSP patches to PD, but I made this patch some years ago (Max 4) and if the porting is easy he may like it:

  • Veridical Driver

    Wouldn't it make more sense to distribute PD patches, and do the processing on your own machine?

  • NeoZoomie, I'll check the vid out later when I'm not at work. If you send me over the Max patch then I'd probably be up for doing the conversion myself. Designing the patches is always more time consuming that just building them anyway.

    Veridical Driver, sure you could, but it's not so much of a radio station then is it 😉 

  • Random Chance

    Is there a way to download the patches or at least have a look at a graphical rendition? This way the radio programme could be truely educational, not just raising awareness of Pd and generative music in general (if they need it, the people who would use them probably already know about them).

  • All the patches are available from the projects GitHub

    There's a javascript library that can be used to display PD patches on a canvas that I'd like to use in the future but most of my time at the moment is spent concentrating on the backend and trying to build more patches for it

  • @Guy John: you can download it here:…. Documentation is included but it's Italian only (it was born as an university project). It's NeZoomie by the way! 😉

  • Random Chance

    @Guy John: Thanks for providing the source. I'll certainly have a look at some of the patches (really enjoying Kalith for example). Maybe I'll also have the time to port something from Max/MSP. 

  • most of the really good patches on there have been made by Leadtowill, a collaborator I met on the PureData forums. My time has mostly been sucked up just writing the backend stuff and trying to get that to stay together.

    NeZoomie, I'll have a look at the patch later, hopefully I'll be able to understand it well enough to port it across, thanks

  • @Guy John if you need any help just let me know! The patch may be a little messy but the overall structure is quite easy to understand and to port I think.

  • lala

    is it some proof of concept?
    if yes ok, if not well, thx for the noise.
    i like random/generative stuff just as much as the next guy; but if these processes arent controlled by a human sitting in front of it, its just that: random noise and not very musical.

  • Peter Kirn

    @lala: It's a proof of concept, an experiment, not intended to really replace your other musical listening devices and sources. 😉

  • mac ppl are sooo lazy….and a bit naif…
    dump itunes and use songbird…works great on my mac.

    great idea…great post…tnx PK…

  • cubestar

    Maybe get a bit more bass in this patch? The treble hurts! Shaking my tweeters and my eardrums…

  • stk

    Great idea, and nice patch playing right now.
    Ditto on the excess treble though, needs some rolling off..

  • Nice one Guy!

  • thanks for posting this. Here's another related project using Pd to create a 24h radio stream picking experimental sonic compositions by several artists involved in OS music including Francisco Lopez, Noish~, Martin Howse, myself and many others:
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