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»Repressed Possibilities – An Introduction to Apotome« by Khyam Allami


Apotome is a transcultural browser-based generative music system, focused on using microtonal tuning systems and their subsets (scales/modes). It was created by Khyam Allami and Counterpoint and launched at CTM 2021 »Transformation«.

Alongside its sister application Leimma, these non-commercial environments are an effort to highlight the cultural asymmetries and biases inherent in modern music-making tools, alongside their interconnected web of musical, educational, cultural, social, and political ramifications. They are an attempt to present decolonised music applications that allow music-makers from any culture to have the freedom of a musical tabula rasa (blank slate) and explore their individual creative ideas with modern tools, but without a specific end-result as a goal.

Anyone can access Apotome (and its sister application Leimma) to explore the tuning systems of various cultures, or create their own. Users can submit compositions, and during CTM Festival they could even sign up to »perform« Apotome live by manipulating its parameters, whilst the result was broadcast both within CTM Cyberia and on this page, as part of a 24/7 stream running throughout the festival.

For CTM 2021, Allami and Counterpoint presented Apotome in myriad forms: a presentation, artist takeovers by Deena Abdelwahed, Wahono and Slikback, a panel discussion and a live trans/local networked performance by Khyam Allami and Faten Kanaan with Nene H, Tot Onyx, Enyang Ha, Tyler Friedman and Lucy Railton.

Khyam Allami: Concept design and direction, research, composition

Tero Parviainen: Software development, UI engineering, concept design, generative music system design

Samuel Diggins: Creative direction, concept design, UI engineering, generative visual design.

OBXD, DEXED, and Yoshimi Web Audio Modules by Jari Kleimola

The development of Apotome was funded via the AHRC Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership with additional support from CTM Festival.