h. james harkins, composer

H. James Harkins is a composer of electronic music for live performance, based in Guangzhou, China in the Modern Music Department of the Xinghai Conservatory of Music.

Photo: Elaine Marschik

A demonstration of live coding in SuperCollider.
Youku link for Chinese readers.

2023-10-11: Process Prototype at ICMC 2023 International Computer Music Conference

The International Computer Music Conference is the largest worldwide conference in the field… and this year, it’s in Shenzhen (only 90 km away), October 15-20.

I’m presenting a new live-coding work, “Turning in the Breeze,” on Wednesday afternoon, October 18. It’s a gentle, atmospheric work featuring just-intonation piano (with unstable tuning). It ended up being something of a Ryuichi Sakamoto tribute, nodding to his ability to blend simple piano materials with experimental electronics.


Conference website: https://icmc2023.org.cn/pc/home_page/index


2023-06-01: Xinghai Conservatory Electronic Ensemble Concert

Ambient and house, performed by 11 students and myself on Ableton-Linked computers.

23-06-02 Xinghai electronic ensemble poster


2023-03-24: Hoodoo Techno opening with live-coding jam

I have (embarrassingly) neglected to post events for the last couple of years. With Covid controls receiving in the rearview mirror, I hope to perform more often.

This Friday’s event is a semi-regular techno party by the Hoodoo DJ collective based in Guangzhou. Always excellent music! They are committed to live performance as well as DJ sets. This time out, they’ve invited me to join Senonix for the opening live jam: me live-coding on SuperCollider, him providing beats on a Digitakt drum machine.

It’s improvised, but some of it could be like this:

23-0324 Hoodoo event poster


2020-08-09: Process Prototype at Oil Club, Shenzhen

I’ll play a live-coding improvisation starting shortly after midnight.

Read about the event here—mostly Chinese but some English.


2019-08-06: Quietcode #1 event in Guangzhou

Quietcode is live-coding improvisation of meditative, ambient music. I plan this to be the first in a series of concerts, with later events including collaboration with local producers.

Poster and teaser after the jump.


2019-01-26: ddwChucklib-livecode v0.4.1 released

In my semester-break rush of tidying things up, I’m pushing out a point release of my live coding framework. This is the version used in my recent performances.


(Actually “ddwChucklib-livecode” is the name of the framework itself, but if you install ddwLivecodeInstruments, it will install the framework as a dependency — one step instead of two.)

The last tag release was October 2016. It’s a lot more stable and usable now. Also, I spent a lot of time in the last couple of weeks updating and expanding the documentation.

Download the PDF manual.

Demo jam after the jump.


2018-12-11: November/December performances

November 17, an improvised live-coding set at Hoodoo’s monthly Guangzhou techno all-nighter. I started in ambient style, and ended up in the straight-ahead techno territory in this excerpt:

December 16 (upcoming), an appearance at the Guangzhou International Outdoor Performance Festival.

Festival poster


2018-07-14: Xinghai Computer Orchestra spring 2018

It took a while to mix down the pieces from the second semester of the Xinghai Computer Orchestra, but here they are. Descriptions after the jump.




2018-06-07: Ev'rything Stops... In Terre Haute

Some years ago, my father Patrick wrote lyrics for a cabaret-style song about the interminable train delays in Terre Haute, Indiana, and invited (dared?) me to set them to music. So I did.

It took a few years, but here is a simple reading for voice and piano, by Patrick’s colleague at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Tracy Richardson.

Lyrics after the jump.


2018-01-12: Early release: ddwLivecodeInstruments

Just released: An early version of a new SuperCollider Quark, ddwLivecodeInstruments, a set of ready-to-play instruments for my Chucklib-livecode system. Along with this, I’ve added a Tutorial section to the Chucklib-livecode manual, which uses the new instruments to get users started quickly.

I’m looking for testers to read the tutorial, try the examples, and play with them. Details below the jump.


CC-BY-SA 4.0 by H. James Harkins (2015): Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike

Acknowledgment to the php-markdown library © 2004-2015 Michel Fortin.

The Dream Orphans font is used according to its noncommercial license.

The Vera Humana 95 font is distributed apparently without a license.