2023 in Review

A year of composing music, performances, livecoding, net-label Kamizdat work, online communities, and less shame

mad jakale

The second stage piece that I saw from my partner M, in 2007, was called Expensive Darlings. Within it there was, among others, also a theme of queering to be read from movements, words, costumes. One particular scene included her impersonating and lip-syncing a drag-kinging performance of an Italian singer, an homme fatale, Adriano Celentano, with a small horde of infatuated back-vocal singers. That was in 2007, and we met shortly after. Six years later, in 2013, we engaged in a collective work - a feminist burlesque - with few other performers and authors and called it Image Snatchers - snatching, stealing images and references, creating satiric and feminist stories through movement, text, video, and music. In this continuously evolving club-stage-show of frequently changing scenes from rerun to rerun characters taken by performers were more fluid than it is usual in burlesque or drag shows. After some years we decided to try a derivative - a focus on single character (Image Snatchers Present: Mathilda and her Buns, and Image Snatchers Present: The Lives and Deaths of H.P.D) while still performing original changing and fluid Image Snatchers. The third instalment of the Image Snatchers present was to be made by Mad Jakale, the character sometimes taken by M in the show when performing a sexist, chauvinist male. And time has come to do that this year. With. A. Lot. Of. Music. While preparations started in 2022 already, the first meeting with performers was a weekend in late May 2023. Then all together 13 weeks in blocks of about three weeks all the way to the premiere on 9th December. More or less.

There were embarrassing procrastination days, and there were total in-the-flow times where I progressed really fast. There were times I was just present at the rehearsals, watching, and times when I was in a frenzy putting together beats, figuring out the chord progressions, bass-lines, writing lyrics, recording some of performers' singing or reciting texts. The procrastination was beat to oblivion when using Focusmate, a virtual co-working service that saves serial procrastinators' lives. Without it, I would have a big failure behind me right now, I'm sure about that. What became very apparent though was that there are times when I'm avoiding booking sessions on Focusmate and thus enabling delaying and procrastinating. As soon as I use it, I become much more productive.

But back to the music for this project - there are almost 30 musical scenes, songs, or tracks made for this show that lasts for good 90 minutes. Many of those tracks are very good candidates for independent musical works, so I'm already committed to an album release in 2024 within the Kamizdat netlabel yearly schedule. I'm quite satisfied with majority of production (there are corrections, of course, to be done) so as one of the most important projects of this past year I count it as quite a success.


Already in 2022 I got an invitation to write a composition for Ljubljana New Music Forum. In other words a commission (!). I quickly decided to work with player-piano Disklavier system, to continue my research of SuperCollider-controlled piano with simultaneous manipulation of acoustic sound via microphones together with livecoding principle (projecting the code in real time). At the same time I was already in talks with MENT festival for a performance with the same setup in the spring. So there were two performances of Algoforte in 2023: the last day of March at the MENT festival in the recently built/renovated Cukrarna Gallery, and end of November at the Ljubljana New Music Forum at the Klub CD, Cankarjev Dom.

Looking back at these two performances I'm fairly happy with both of them. There's certainly a lot of space for improvement. I so wish to find time to get back at the material of both. Maybe it would be good to go back to everything that I wrote since january 2022 when this project started at ZKM, Karlsruhe, and finalize and publish a 'proper' album with all the source code.

I do have to note that the last performance at LjNMF was quite hampered by the state of the piano: on one hand it kept resetting its electronics and had gaps of two seconds in the stream of data I was sending it. It's a malfunction that I already brought attention of the rental company to in March. On the other hand the instrument was unable to play any different velocities. I only realised this just before the performance so there was not much I could do. This all points at the next step - since I'd like to work on this project (and perhaps finalize it) in 2024 - I need to find ways to do research on (and perform with) other, more modern iterations of Disklavier, possibly travel to other EU countries where it would be possible to test this, make a recording and perhaps even get some gigs on basis of it.

releases & performances

Apart from the aforementioned algoforte gigs at MENT Festival and LjNMF this past year performances included a collaborative improvisation 'KONKRETIZACIJE' with Marko Košnik and Borut Savski, connected to the legendary (and in my personal history quite an important influence) Ministry for Experiment at Ljubljana's Radio Student. At the same event I played my trans.fail/xenotopic.network A/V performance. I also performed livecoding at (possibly second) algorave in Ljubljana on festival ADELA in Kino Šiška. I was so happy to be part of a global toplap/euler-room solstice stream that lasted 40 hours with each performer playing 15minutes. I played another livecoding improvisation in Maribor and one as part of Netlabel Day @ Kamizdat Rentgen - Access Frame: Xenophoby.

The past year also marks a regular club "residency" after many years - Gašper Torkar and myself started a genre-queer clubnight at Klub Monokel called Major Arcana where we organized five nights this year with four of them featuring another female DJ with additional complication that none of the sets lasts more then an hour. Three DJs in six hours means twice on the rotation. It works surprisingly well. In such small venue of course.

I also, after few years, created a new dance (!) number for Image Snatchers technoburlesque show called 'Wuthering Heights'. Yes, after Kate Bush choreography in her music video.

In terms of audio releases I published a space process, a collaborative album with ala pecula and others from a.space project, at Kamizdat and although it's datestamped as 31. December 2022 it was out in January, a shorter EP algoforte03a, with some of the material from March MENT algoforte performance, together with Maja Delak we created an audio.zine collage* ***The Sounding of Temporary Small Arts Communities, I also edited and mixed a long collaborative sonic story with elements from additional local contributors Access Frame: Xenophoby. I contributed a track to Grounded:Peace compilation and another track to Kamizdat's Solidarity Fund: Hydro, both of these were benefit compilations. Finally I produced a remix for beamage Just Like the Old Boss (Luka Prinčič Remix).

ICLC & toplap.si

I had a great pleasure to be part of a 'Slovenian delegation' (thanks to LF & Ljudmila) to this year's ICLC (International Conference on Live Coding) in Utrecht. It had a cosy atmosphere, loads of things to learn, great performances both in theatre and club venues, but most importantly it seemed to show how livecoding scene is still very much about communities and not dominated by academia. It was the community reports from various parts of the world (Barcelona, New York, San Francisco, Karlsruhe...) that were impressive, and that also pointed out to an seemingly important question: what about our local regional toplap livecoding algorave scene?

Slovenia and the rest of Balkan region (not sure about 'venetian/friuli' italy, austria, hungary) seemingly has no livecoding scene. So we were put forward a request, almost a demand, that we should take care of that. And in fact Ljudmila have been organising various events (both algoraves so far) but we (the group that went to Utrecht, more or less) also started an iniciative that would be cross-organisational and we simply called it toplap.si. We've made couple of meetups before and during the summer, but then the autumn crazyness took my focus elsewhere while at Ljudmila they organized the ADELA festival which included a loud and amazingly succesful algorave on which I also played.

All-in-all, it's great that we did some steps towards a wider independent toplap/livecoding scene in Slovenia, Ljudmila's work contributed amazingly to the visibility of the practice, but in 2024 we need to do more, we need to meet regularly, and we need to organize workshops.


At our boutique Creative Commons net-label we published seven releases this year. All of them were published digitally, four of them had physical form of limited edition USB booklet. The shape of USB is now metallic/chrome 'wallet' type and not a cardboard one, that we did in the past. One of the releases (Access Frame: Xenophoby) had a "zine" physical form in offset print method (very special, but also expensive, and not for sale), and two of releases were digital only. For most of them we created digital download QR code cards for Bandcamp collections.

We also organized four promotional events (called Kamizdat Rentgen) including one for the Netlabel Day. We have streamed all of them via Owncast at live.pretok.tv and archived the recordings - still have to edit some (many!) of them and put them online (to vid.pretok.tv).

Two releases by men (Lifecutter, Rob Canning), two releases by women (Saša Spačal, Manja Ristić + Robertina Šebjanič), one mixed collaboration (Maja Delak + Luka Prinčič), one collage with contributors in 1:6 ratio (F:M), and a female-led benefit/donation compilation with 14:13 (F:M) ratio.

I tried really hard from the beginning of the year to do plan things as in advance as possible but I feel like I ultimately failed to create enough time and push tasks enough ahead to be able to promote these releases properly. There was a lot of great help from my coworker this year but I was still the one to pull the main strings most of the time or at least delegate work and in that I failed to be disciplined enough. I'm sad for this, as I feel responsible to all these people who made the music, and number of them submitted it in right time. Production of these releases include number of different cogwheels that need to turn in order to finalize the publication and some of these cogwheels are pretty stubborn in not turning. Running that machine is not an easy feat though, but still - I either need to optimize the goals and make them more realistic, or raise the bar for myself.

All in all, I'm still pretty happy we created these high quality releases and, among other things, sent about 720€ to firefighters in Črna na Koroškem trough the benefit compilation (Solidarity Fund: HYDRO) - this project was initiated by Robertina Šebjanič and beepblip (Ida Hiršenfelder). Also, though we haven't celebrated it in anyway, this year marks 10 years of this new-life stage of the netlabel (all the way from KAM003: Wanda & Nova deViator's Pacification in 2013), and 70 releases in total! I also talked about the label in an interview published in Slovenian Dialogi


This is actually a big chapter that needs an article on its own. But in the past year this demanded a lot of energy from me. Here are couple of points: Bandcamp is/was one of the best things that happened to music-makers since MP3. This platform had fairness to artists at the core of their philosophy (or so it seems), and most features and how the platform is structured are indeed beneficial to artists. The platform was one of the first (if not the first) that prided themselves with amount of money that artists earned directly on Bandcamp. In early 2022 Bandcamp was suddenly and to a surprise of many sold to a big game company EPIC. In the fall of 2023 EPIC sold the company to a smaller but even more suspicious company Songtradr and laid off half of their staff. This brought up a lot of the questions to the fore: who owns the platform that enables the musician to connect with her audience? Suddenly this is more important than it seemed since the question becomes "who owns this connection" and if this connection is owned by somebody else than artist herself, who can capitalize on it? Somebody wrote that what we all need to do is Be Your Own Platform. This touched me deeply and I spent considerable amount researching and planning an independent DIY path for a membership project - to own relationship with my audience. This touches on technologies like email, social networks, membership platforms, creators economy, self-hosting, open source software, and more. I hope to write a longer piece about this process soon.

I failed to setup a new homepage (tried number of solutions, the furthest is the static site generator zola based, but again I'm unhappy with it), I did move my mailing list from Mailchimp to an open-source Keila. I'm using self-hosted streaming and video platforms Owncast (live.pretok.tv & live.lukaprincic.si) and Peertube (vid.pretok.tv). I now understand more about Patreon, Ko-fi, Gumroad, Stripe, Memberful...

fediverse communities

In 2017 I closed down my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. With every year I feel better about this. I feel like my engagement with fediverse both as user and moderator and admin has grown and matured. There was (and still is) a lot of (meta) drama (and increasingly so), but at the same time there are more connections being made. Sonomu.Club has grown a little bit and became a nice little community where I feel quite good. There's a lot of interaction happening and it's pretty much all of a high quality ('you want hearts, not eyeballs'), so it doesn't matter that much about the number of followers, but there are about 1.900 of them (of my account). Toot.si remains what it is - it continues to exist and there's about 10-20 really active accounts on there. I've also taken over the djs.social mastodon instance and I'm not yet sure if it was a good idea, as very few people are using it while the expenses and not tiny.

In April we had a very cosy Sonomu.Club stream hangout where we listened to music from the local timeline and artists on the instance and it turned out to be quite a heart-warming event, that could be repeated more often.

Despite the fact I have access to Instagram and Facebook via Kamizdat and Emanat, I hate those places and would be happy if they didn't really exist. I talked about Mastodon and toot.si on our local national radio in the podcast Odbita do bita. I also had great discussion about copyleft, decentralized social media with Frank Christian Stoffel for radio program Trust.FM as part of Kultursymposium Weimar 2023 goethe.de, derkleinegruenewuerfel.de.


Places I travelled to in 2023: Milano, Utrecht, Vienna, Korčula, Pula, Rijeka, Zagreb, and Kozjansko.

In June our doggo Stela had an operation, thankfully it was very peripheral thing - she had a growing benign tumour in the skin under her neck, and while we (together with the vet) kept trying to not go into operation the skin ruptured and it all started to be very gross. So we went into operation including a general anaesthesia which was, for a 17 year old dog, quite a big thing. Thankfully everything went through without complications. I remember I spent most of the morning at the vet and then picked her up few hours later. I was quite moved, shaken, and emotionally tired from the whole thing. I'll probably be even more when she will leave us.

In autumn I started with some longer fasting and effectively lost 10kg. I still feel I should/could get lower - and I should, according to the body mass index, at least 5 more kg.

And finally, I feel like this year was one of the most liberating so far in terms of shame. I could kinda call it an "I don't care" year, since this was a mantra I had in my mind when experimenting with gender non-conforming clothing and presentation. I moved some personally big milestones this year in terms of being confidently non-masculine in public. One of the many stepping stones was also Alok Vaid-Menon, which I discovered this year - a very well read and educated person who is also an articulated activist and poet-performer. They are an extremely strong influence in my exploration of gender. To be clear, I still am a bit hesitant to call myself gender-queer, I have a strange disconnect with gender identity as I'm finding it hard to "identify" with particular gender. I feel through life I've been thought certain behaviours, certain understandings regarding gender. I feel like sexuality is an ongoing adventure that's been shaped by so many experiences and different conditioning, consequently what we are attracted to, what excites us, and I feel gender expression as strongly connected to all that. At the end of the day, since I now often present myself publicly in a gender non-conforming way and post selfies in makeup on fediverse this is some form of coming out as ... gender non-conforming person. I hope to write about that soon more in some separate posts.