Hell Cafe, by Nick Didkovsky

Hell Cafe is an interactive musical instrument that you can perform in your web browser. The software was developed for the music theatre production The Technophobe and the Madman, specifically for the "Club Hell" scenes. Hell Cafe provides you with up 8 layers of tranced out loop generators. It also provides you with 9 tracks of rhythm generators for extremely tight techno beats that will tear the paint off your walls and make your neighbors happy when you stop. Hell Cafe was composed and programmed by Nick Didkovsky using the music languages JMSL and JSyn.

System Requirements

Hell Cafe was written using JMSL and JSyn which are music API's written in the Java programming language.

JSyn NO LONGER requires a plugin. We are using the pure Java version of JSyn now



There are two kinds of musical activity you can control:
  • Nibblers & Scratchers (tight beats).
  • Long Licks (looping drones)

  • Nibblers and Scratchers provide very tight rhythmic cycles. Sounds are derived from samples of electric guitar (N Didkovsky), flute (Anne La Berge), drums (Alesis HR-16 drum machine), and voice (Tyrone Henderson). Nine panels will open in their own window. The top 8 panels control Nibblers (which rip out tiny pieces of longer samples and play them), while the bottom panel controls a Scratcher (which uses a variable delay line to scratch a voice sample). Nibblers and Scratchers are started and stopped using the START and STOP buttons.

    Long Licks were inspired by the tape loop work of CW Vrtacek, and is derived from my interactive instrument "A Loop's A Loop's A Loop's A...". The metaphor is simple: the user provides a duration of a tape loop (which creates sound) and another duration for leader tape (or silence). You can create up to 8 different loops at the same time.


    JMSL and JSyn

    JSyn is a Java API for realtime audio synthesis. JSyn is responsible for generating HellCafe's CD quality sound directly on your computer (ie 16 bit, stereo, 44.1 kHz).

    JMSL is a Java API for experimental music composition, performance, and intelligent instrument design. JMSL is responsible for Hell Cafe's musical organization, scheduling, chance operations, and compositional algorithms.

    Since they are written in Java, JSyn and JMSL allow for pieces like this one to be presented on the Web.

    For JSyn info, please visit www.softsynth.com
    For JMSL info, please visit www.algomusic.com

    JSyn by Phil Burk, copyright 2000, all rights reserved.
    Java Music Specification Language (JMSL) by Nick Didkovsky and Phil Burk, copyright 1997-2001, all rights reserved



    Thanks to Phil Burk and James Forrest for testing and suggestions, Anne La Berge and Tyrone Henderson for permission to use their sounds in this piece, and to Robert Rowe, Neil Rolnick, and the rest of the Technophone/Madman crew. Dedicated to Leo and Sasha so they can have even more music to dance to.
    * HellCafe (C) 2001 Nick Didkovsky, Nick.Didkovsky@mail.rockefeller.edu