Auki Podcast

Auki. The Gamified Music Improvisation Podcast was created by Benedict Johnson and Andy Lowe in 2019. Episodes include jams in small constellations performed by the hosts with invited guests.

Auki showcases the gaming capabilities of studio production. It employs sound synthesizing, found sound manipulation and MIDI controlling to achieve the musical result that is both interesting and accessible.

Segments that do not consist of playing are conversations about musical discoveries and (in the early episodes) competitions for listeners. Episode 12 featured just conversations (due to Covid lockdown) and Episode 10 was recorded with the participation of live audience at the local venue in Shrewsbury.

All episodes available at:

Games and activities

  • Cantus Firmus — Take a well-known song, slow the first verse down and transpose to bass register. This loop will be your jamming context.
  • Conversations — Every player gets a "personality" and resulting music is a conversation between the characters.
  • Dyads — For two players with pitched sound sources: improvise with long single sounds.
  • Found Sound — Chosen players make music by processing found sound recordings, others are accompanists.
  • Inspiriodical — Look in the current local newspaper for a headline to inspire your improvisation.
  • Patch Exchange — Jam only by using a sound prepared for you by other participant (using synthesizer patches). The sounds should be prepared independently before jamming.
  • Progressions — From a random starting chord (one note for every instrument) players take turns with changing their note to arrive at another randomly pre-set chord within a set time.
  • Quotas — Players play a set amount of notes during the performance.
  • Snippets — Listen to the existing musical material for a very short time and inspire your jamming by it.
  • Textures — One player plays the solo and the rest provides just the background with extended techniques. The soloist calls the name of the next soloist to take over.
  • Three-note Jam — Three notes are chosen at random with a 12-sided dice. Start the jam by playing only these three pitches, then the music may be developed ad libitum.
  • Two-chord Jam — Take two random chords and jam to them.
  • You Made Your Bed — One of the player mixes a set of samples prepared for him, others improvise to the mix.

In addition to "one-liners" from above, these Auki activities will be added to the library:

As Benedict Johnson notices, in general, Auki games may be based on:

  • arrangement, or
  • playing technique, but relatively often
  • constrain only instrumentation, or
  • provide jumping-off points (seeds) to improvisation that is otherwise free.

On the podcast this very open rule context rarely results in non-idiomatic music, more often the musical material is shaped by players towards many different genres of popular music.


Clicking on a game title in the list above will tell you in which episode it was played. Navigate below to learn the guests and games played in each episode.

Included in Play in a band set/collection.

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