Meet the Strange, Wonderful 70s Machine that Used AI to Make Music

The 70s were one heck of a groovy time. When they weren’t postulating theories about the very underlying essence of all physical reality being reduced to computational models, pioneering AI scientists were … creating weird music sequencers? Seriously? The Singularity will be brought to you by Giorgio Moroder, perhaps? Yes, as we saw earlier this week, AI legends Edward Fredkin and Marvin Minsky somehow managed to take their research in philosophy, digital physics, and cognitive science, and make a weird box that most definitely is capable of blinking lights and making sequences of bleeps. The Triadex Muse really seems like …

READ MORE →

Zillion is a Generative Step Sequencer from Future-Retro with Loads of Possibilities, Performance Tools

Machines give us something that would have amazed musicians from centuries past: they let us make melodies without playing them directly. Now, there are three ways of doing that. One, there are tools that take what you play and turn them into sequences. Two, there are interfaces for making melodies with touch, sliders and knobs. And then there’s a third category: boxes that can actually generate new melodies, all under your control. You control the parameters of the sequence, but the content is algorithmically produced. Future-Retro’s Zillion does just about anything you would ever dream of in that third category. …

READ MORE →

Data+Music: Echo Nest and 7Digital on Discovery, Ping, and Social Music’s Future

Photo (CC-BY-ND) verityatthedisco. Remember the music industry? We used to talk about radio play and record deals. Now, we’re talking developers, APIs, and analytics. Of course, the test, now as then, is whether there’s actually substance for music listeners and artists. On Friday, we looked at Apple’s Ping and how, via TuneCore, artists who aren’t Lady Gaga can get their own pages. We also saw some vigorous discussion of TuneCore, which helps you get your music into “big bucket” sites like Amazon and iTunes, and SoundCloud, who together offer integrated sharing and distribution. The Echo Nest is an unusual animal …

READ MORE →

Shimon, Percussionist Robot, Gets Smarter; A Talk with its Creator

Shimon, an adaptive, improvisational, percussion-playing robot, is getting smarter – and more famous, with appearances in places like the Stephen Colbert show. Now, humans have been known to get a big head under such circumstances. Shimon’s head has gotten “more social” – gestural intelligence helps the robot relate to fellow players and nod its head in time to the music. I got a chance to talk more to project creator Dr. Gil Weinberg, director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology. He’s also taken some of this technology and built it into mobile app ZOOZBeat which you can spot …

READ MORE →

Open Source Lead Sheet, Improv Tool, a Free Band-in-a-Box Alternative

Ask a machine to emulate human creativity, and at the very least, you’re guaranteed to learn something. Modeling creative rules and intuitive algorithms as generative code is itself an eminently human activity – think of it as interactive theory. And where the computer fails to sound like a human, you learn something, too. Improv-Visor is an artificially-intelligent jazz improviser tool, but it’s quite a lot more. It can be used to make lead sheets, to experiment with jazz harmonies and solos, and – by asking human students to fill in their own parts – a teaching tool. It continues some …

READ MORE →