Create your own music from (deep)space or wall street – Part 1

28/05/2022 - 29/05/2022 @ 10:30 - 17:30
Belval, rue Henri Koch

Create your own music from (deep)space or wall street – Learn the principles of sonification (WORKSHOP 1)

When: 28 & 29 May 2022 from 10h30 to 17h30

Where: at SKIP (Belval)

Did you ever wonder how the universe would sound like if you could hear it, what sounds can be derived from our financial markets, if it is possible to use them to make music, and if so how this can be practically done? In this workshop you will learn all about it and much more!

Central theme of the workshop is how abstract scientific data, such as for example data originating from (deep)space (emitted by various astrophysical objects such as nebula, pulsars, stars,… ), from our solar system (for example data from NASA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – GOES), or data derived from financial systems can be used in an innovative way to compose and perform music, or to create multimedia installations.

The workshop will hence focus on the several creative practices that make this possible: data sonification, interactive sound synthesis and algorithmic music composition. With data sonification we can understand the rapidly expanding field of transforming any given numerical abstract data stream into sound. Interactive sound synthesis on the other hand encompasses all synthesis techniques where the generated sound is being influenced by one or more external data sources.

In this first session you learn to get acquainted with the basic principles of data sonification and interactive sound synthesis and sound design. Data used in the first day is static data. Using Max4Live each student learns to build her / his / their own synthesizer.

Subsequently participants will learn how to enable the synthesizer to be connected to various external data sources. We will work with data from NASA’s GOES satellite as a concrete working case.

Program Details:

  • Background and general introduction to data sonification
  • Introduction into basic principles of sound synthesis
  • General introduction into Max4Live
  • Gathering data to be used for sonification
  • Perform offline sonification of data

All techniques and methods introduced in this workshop are explained in a straightforward and practical way. This will enable each student to seamlessly integrate the knowledge he or she acquired in the workshop into his or her own creative practice.

The workshop is open to everyone…to novices, curious minds, musicians, sound sculptors, artists, scientists,… No experience or technical prior knowledge required. All the concepts and methods in this workshop will be explained in a hands on and practical way.

Technical requirements for the workshop :

  • Laptop and headphone (Rocklab has a limited number of computers that can be made available to students. Please indicate if you are bringing your own computer during the registration)
  • Ableton Live 11 Suite & Max4Live (If you do not have a license, Rocklab can provide you with one for the workshop)
  • Purr data (freeware)
  • Processing (freeware)
  • Data that will be used in the workshop

About the teacher of this workshop

Valery Vermeulen cuts a unique presence in the world of music. Holding a Phd in pure mathematics from Ghent University (BE) and an MA in music production from the Royal Conservatory of Ghent (BE), he is passionate about the convergence of art and science. Driven by a raw curiosity, a fascination with the very nature of reality and a determination to test boundaries in sound synthesis, Vermeulen’s music evolves tirelessly in its exploration of innovative generative sound synthesis and sound design. His experiments range from using AI in his Emo-Synth project – exploring the connections between music and emotions at the Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music (IPEM, Ghent University) to working with Prof. Dr. Thomas Hertog, former colleague and long time collaborator of Stephen Hawking to use gravitational wave data from black holes and translate it into an emotive journey to the stars. Vermeulen’s process is as mind-bending as the music he produces – like writing bespoke programs to translate the data into musical compositions. This approach has led to the creation of beautiful, haunting sci-fi productions with an emotive intensity – the merging of intuition and logic. When not in the production studio, Valery can be found as a guest professor at the Royal Conservatory – School of Arts – University College Ghent (BE), researcher at the Department of Mathematics – Computer Science at University of Antwerp (BE), guest lecturer at the Master ArtScience in Den Hague (NL), and as a statistical expert, data scientist and consultant.

Projects in Vermeulen’s work include besides Mikromedas, Krystal Ball and EMO-Synth.
Krystal Ball is an artistic, politically and economically inspired multimedia project focusing on the recent financial credit crisis, interactive systems and stochastic as well as algorithmic music composition as initiated by I. Xenakis in the early sixties. Under various formats the project confronts the audience with the often misleading systems and mechanisms that caused the global financial crisis – more info here.

With the EMO-Synth project, Vermeulen has been designing and implementing interactive multimedia systems where the impact of automatically generated sound and music is directed by the emotional responses of the user through means of artificial intelligence – more info here.

Vermeulen’s installations and performances have been widely shown at various festivals and venues including Hause der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin, DE), CTM Festival (Berlin, DE), Slingshot Festival (Atlanta, US), KIKK Festival (Namur, BE), Bozar (Brussels, BE), Concertgebouw Brugge (BE) and Muziekgebouw aan ‘t Ij and was featured extensively in international news outlets and magazines such as e.g. DJ Mag, MixMag, Music Radar, Tech Radar, The Wire UK, Electronic Sound Magazine, New Scientist, Mixmag (UK, Asia and Korea), Trax Magazine, Future Music (Es), FazeMag, Deutschland Funk, Deutschland Funk Kultur, Yle Radio1, The Wire UK on Air, VRT Radio1 and Radio2 to name but few.

More info here.


The workshop is part of the Artist-in-Residency Program of “The Sound of Data”, a collaborative project by The Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), the Centre de Musiques Amplifiées – Rockhal, the University of Luxembourg ( and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) in the framework of the European Capital of Culture Esch 2022.

Artists selected for the Sound of Data residency will have access to the workshop – apply here for the residency.

But we also have a limited number of free tickets for the general audience to participate to the workshop. GET YOUR FREE TICKET HERE.