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Updated: Feb 6

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, remote performances had become more normalised. It provided an opportunity for a different experience of live music altogether, but also new challenges. As technology becomes more advanced, so does the way in which we experience live events.

Project bUSrOUTes was born when UK jazz legend Evan Parker was no longer able to travel internationally to perform, so we devised a solution for him to be able to perform from a UK venue using domestic broadband speeds to connect and perform with artists outside the UK. Using open source software, we managed to achieve a low-latency multi-channel bilateral audio feed with an ensemble in Hamburg, Germany and Evan Parker’s ensemble in Faversham, UK performing simultaneously.

The feedback we received from the performers was that it felt like they were performing in the same room together. The only issue was the projected video feed between the two countries had a considerable delay, so visually the performance was out of sync with the sound.

After participating in a Screen South VR workshop we began experimenting with motion capture and game engines, creating avatars to animate the performers in real-time over VPN. We achieved a comparable low latency to the audio as a result of the real-time rendering.

We built a small ‘Pepper’s Ghost’ rig that allowed us to project the avatars holographically onto a stage where our local UK musician could perform alongside European musicians in real-time with very low latency.

Our next step is to achieve a much lower latency performance over longer distances between performers and complex performance behaviours and longer times between calibration and potentially without the need for expensive motion capture devices by using only simple camera technology available cheaply to everyone worldwide to capture human movement.

Benefits of Remote Performances

  • Less carbon footprint (no need to travel via air or land)

  • Available to a wider audience

  • Benefits audiences who can’t physically travel to a venue

  • Gain exposure to talent anywhere in the world

  • Performers who find it difficult on a live stage in front of an audience

  • Visa issues

  • Cost and time issues

  • Rehearsing efficiency

  • Wider network for collaboration

  • Educational advantages

  • Alter egos can be represented through an avatar (benefiting non-binary individuals)


SonoBus is a free open source application for streaming high-quality, low-latency peer-to-peer audio between devices over the internet or a local network. It works as a virtual mixer, that allows performers to sync to the same server and play together with minimal latency. During various lockdowns, Sonobus was a solution for performers across the globe to be able to perform together despite the restrictions in place.