Current and previous projects, commissions, and collaborations

Apotome: Khyam Allami x Counterpoint

Apotome is the catch-all title for a transcultural music project highlighting the cultural asymmetries, biases and non-neutrality inherent in modern music-making tools, alongside their interconnected web of musical, educational, cultural, social and political ramifications.

The project was awarded the inaugural Isao Tomita Special Prize at Ars Electronica 2021.

Created by Khyam Allami and Counterpoint, the creative studio of Tero Parviainen and Samuel Diggins, it is focused on two browser-based non-commercial applications; Apotome, a generative music system focused on transcultural tunings and their subsets (scales/modes), and its sister application Leimma, which allows for the exploration and creation of such tunings.  

Resulting from Allami's current PhD research and his in-depth collaboration with Counterpoint, these applications are an effort to present decolonised music applications that allows 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.

An experiment using the first application, the as-yet unlreased Comma, was premiered by Allami at CTM 2019 and was accompanied by an article in the festival magazine titled »Microtonality and the Struggle for Fretlessness in the Digital Age« highlighting his personal, and various technical, histories, and the non-neutrality of music software.

Comma, Leimma, and Apotome, all take their names from ancient Greek terms used to describe specific microtonal intervals that result from various mathematical nuances associated with creating tuning systems. Although the historical writings on tuning systems go back to approx 1700 BC in China and approx 2500 BC in Mesopotamia, it is often Greek, i.e. Western, theorists who are given the credit for developing the core tuning systems and theories used today. The use of these terms as names represents Allami's desire to reappropriate them, whilst advocating for a celebration of difference across cultures, ideas, methods, and sounds in music making.

For CTM 2021, Allami and Counterpoint presented Apotome in myriad forms. Throughout the festival Apotome autonomously generated audio-visual material based on compositions by Allami and submitted by users worldwide through a dedicated website launched at the start of the festival. During this time, anyone, world-wide, was also able to sign-up for a predetermined time slot and have the chance »perform« Apotome by manipulating its parameters, whilst the result is broadcast live via both within CTM’s virtual festival environment Cyberia and through the dedicated URL link.
Artist takeovers by Deena Abdelwahed, Slikback and Wahono were streamed as part of the CTM 2021 programme featuring new works created and performed using Apotome from their home studios in Toulouse, Kampala, and Jakarta respectively.

A live-streamed performance of Apotome also took place during the festival, featuring Enyang Ha, Nene H, Tot Onyx, and Tyler Friedman on synthesisers, and Lucy Railton improvising on acoustic cello. This quintet of musicians controlled the sonic rendering of Apotome's generative output and reacted to it, whilst the generative composition was crafted in real time by Khyam Allami on-site in Berlin, and Faten Kanaan connecting remotely from her home studio in New York city.

Khyam Allami: Concept design and direction, research, composition

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

Samuel Diggins: Design and creative direction, concept design, UI engineering
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.

The Artist Takeover commissions were supported by the DAAD Artists-In-Berlin programme.


Access to Leimma, Apotome, 24/7 Live Stream and booking system for performances:

Apotome & Leimma User Guide:

Leimma Tutorial Video:

Apotome Tutorial Video:

»Repressed Possibilities - An Introduction to Apotome« presentation for CTM Festival:

Apotome Artist Takeover 1: Wahono

Apotome Artist Takeover 2: Deena Abdelwahed

Apotome Artist Takeover 3: Slikback

Panel Discussion - Dismantling Western Bias in Music Software and Music Education with Khyam Allami, Tero Parviainen, Matana Roberts and Deena Abdelwahed, moderated by Dahlia Borsch:

Apotome LIVE by Faten Kanaan feat. Enyang Ha, Nene H, Tot Onyx, Tyler Friedman and Lucy Railton:

Apotome LIVE by Khyam Allami feat. Enyang Ha, Nene H, Tot Onyx, Tyler Friedman and Lucy Railton:
© 2022 Khyam Allami