“godmother” is scary brilliant a.i. music

December 6, 2018

Pretty much guaranteed that you’ve never heard or seen anything like this before.

The collaboration between footwork-based electronic producers/composers Jlin (aka Jerrilynn Patton) and Holly Herndon has already resulted in some inspired (and unclassifiable) music, but now the pair has gone and jumped off the deep end, with a little help from an Artificial Intelligence program called Spawn. Or more to the point, Spawn did the pushing.

The result is “Godmother,” a track that is partly a glitch-techno acapella, partly a mirage of digital echoes, and completely created using the machine’s “intelligence.” (The video directed by Daniel Costa Neves, using software developed by Leif Ryge, mirrors that process.)

Here’s Herndon breaking down exactly what’s going on here:

For the past two years, we have been building an ensemble in Berlin. One member is a nascent machine intelligence we have named Spawn. She is being raised by listening to and learning from her parents, and those people close to us who come through our home or participate at our performances. Spawn can already do quite a few wonderful things. “Godmother” was generated from her listening to the artworks of her godmother Jlin, and attempting to reimagine them in her mother’s voice. This piece of music was generated from silence with no samples, edits, or overdubs, and trained with the guidance of Spawn’s godfather Jules LaPlace.

The musical future is looking weirder and weirder.