Portal Jam 23 January 2019, Documentation from Oslo Team

Portal Jam

Preparing for the experiment

On the 23 of January, we were testing out to jam together through the Portal. We had a meeting on 21 January to make a plan for the jam. We suggested that we should minimize the amount of instruments, and focus on bass & guitar in Trondheim and drums & vocal in Oslo. We also had a technical team, and we documented the jam by recording it with video and audio.

We chose to use multitrack Lola for the jam. On 21 January we also chose which song we wanted play during the jam, so that all musicians could be prepared and so that we didn’t have to waste time on discussing which songs we wanted to play on the day of the experiment. So we decided on playing the jazz standard “All of Me” by Gerald Marks.

This is how we delegated the tasks:

Oslo side:

Mixing: Ashane

Documentation: Guy & Sam

Drums: Elias

Vocal: Mari.

Trondheim side:

Documentation: Karolina

Bass: Eirik

Guitar: Jonas or Sepehr.

Recording Audio from Midas Mixer to PC:

Recording Audio from Midas Mixer to PC

Connecting to Lola:

Connecting to Lola

Preparing the Portal for the jam:

Preparing the Portal

Videos from the performance

In those two videos, you see the Oslo Side of the performance. The Trondheim side of the performance was documented in this blog post.

First try, without click:

Second try, with click:

The line up (Oslo side):

Saxophone: Guy Sion

Drums: Elias Sukken Andersen

Vocals: Mari Lesteberg

Line up (Trondheim side):

Bass: Eirik Dahl

Guitar: Jonas Bjordal

Piano: Daniel Formo


As you can see and hear in the first video, we very quickly started to decrease in tempo. There is a huge difference in BPM at the beginning and in the end. It’s likely that this decrease in tempo happened because of the transmission latency in the LOLA system.

To solve the problem of decreasing in tempo, we decided to let Elias listen to click, while the other were following his tempo. This might sound like a good idea, but it was not as simple as it might sound. Since Elias is listening to the click, the musicians in Oslo and the musicians in Trondheim at once, he get three different tempos or more, since the different musicians might play in a slightly different tempo. That means that Elias have to try follow his click, regardless of how the others play. And since there are delay from Trondheim, this got quickly quite confusing. After trying this a couple of time, with not the best result we came up with the next idea - let us all listen to the same click.

As you can hear in the second video, we are now listening to the same click (even though Trondheim got some delay, since the click was played from Oslo). This helped a lot, but we were still struggling somehow to keep up in sync with the click. For rhytmic music like jazz, it seemes that playing with click is mandatory to be able to keep the time in the telematic performance. However, for the audience, listening to a click track is not very pleasant. An interesting future task could be to figure out a nice soloution to let the performers only hear the click track during a performance (and not the audience).

Another idea for future telematic jam sessions, would be to experiment with different types of music than jazz, with less strict tempo preferences. Maybe more ambient types of music would fit the setting better.