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Two Technologists Create Black Metal Album Using An AI ( 57

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Outline: Coditany of Timeness" is a convincing lo-fi black metal album, complete with atmospheric interludes, tremolo guitar, frantic blast beats and screeching vocals. But the record, which you can listen to on Bandcamp, wasn't created by musicians. Instead, it was generated by two musical technologists using a deep learning software that ingests a musical album, processes it, and spits out an imitation of its style. To create Coditany, the software broke "Diotima," a 2011 album by a New York black metal band called Krallice, into small segments of audio. Then they fed each segment through a neural network -- a type of artificial intelligence modeled loosely on a biological brain -- and asked it to guess what the waveform of the next individual sample of audio would be. If the guess was right, the network would strengthen the paths of the neural network that led to the correct answer, similar to the way electrical connections between neurons in our brain strengthen as we learn new skills.
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Two Technologists Create Black Metal Album Using An AI

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  • Led Zeppelin said that "The Song Remains the Same". And these largely do.

  • This brings me back (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday December 01, 2017 @08:38PM (#55661683)
    This kind of reminds me of an old Microsoft project [] that didn't pan out. The "commercial" is pretty cringe inducing and not terribly interesting, but it gives you an idea of what it's supposed to do. The real fun was when people fed vocal tracks for popular songs into to see what it would do, often to comedic results: Queen [], Johnny Cash [], and Motörhead [] produce some amusing outcomes.

    I don't listen to much black metal, but these results seem a bit better, or perhaps just far less silly.
  • Black metal? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, but did the person writing this story up actually listen to the thing? Not only are the songs totally indistinguishable, but they also suck. They are noise. The drums sound awful. The mix is harsh. The music, if you can call it that, is lame and boring. Granted, I don't have any familiarity with the Krallice album they used to train the AI - perhaps all those descriptors apply - but this hardly seems like any kind of real achievement. You could just slice up an existing black metal album into g

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They've created a random white noise generator that utilizes AI to harmonize the random white noise. We have brought order to chaos, my friend.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yup. It's the audio equivalent of that Google AI seeing dog faces in everything. It's sort of interesting because it somewhat mimics human cognition, but the result is very primitive.

  • and they sound pretty much the same live
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It sounded really terrible, but so did the original album it was based on.

  • That stuff sounds like normal music being put through an industrial shredder anyway. But can your computer sing the blues?

    • by Wuhao ( 471511 )

      Oh, my disk drive left me
      Optical I lack,
      when it comes to networks, well
      I ain't got jack!
      I got the Retina blues...
      but I get good reviews.

  • This is exactly what Stephen Hawking was warning us about. []
  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Friday December 01, 2017 @09:04PM (#55661815) Homepage Journal

    This indicates to me that they're not really there yet. If you really want to compose something interesting, train the AI in a wide range of music first, then have it focus on a particular artist to mimic, with a goal being to produce songs that sound like they were produced by the same artist. Of course, to be really good, you would need to also handle lyrics, not just the music.

  • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Friday December 01, 2017 @09:08PM (#55661825) Homepage
    That has to be some of the worst shit I've ever tried to listen to. It's worse than hip-hop or country. I could put random notes on a page and it'd sound better.

    If that's AI, then we have nothing (or everything) to fear.
    • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

      I've done "random notes" [] -- specifically, I set out to mimic the style of the Crazy Bus theme. But the only reason it holds together and isn't just an annoying series of blips is because of the bass line and the drums, neither of which are random. The thing about random is that it will never improve on its own.

    • Although I was never a fan of black metal I was big fan of Pantara and a few other metal bands when I was younger. And I'm kind there with you, this music is pretty bad. But I don't discount the fact that this is a pretty near feet of programing and AI training. So good on them for this first attempt.
    • I listened for three seconds, then went and washed my ears.
  • by broknstrngz ( 1616893 ) on Friday December 01, 2017 @09:10PM (#55661835)

    They must have used the same AI to come up with names for the songs.

  • Congratulations, this is the first time AI has decomposed.
  • by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Friday December 01, 2017 @09:22PM (#55661875)
    The linked sample track is sold for 7 USD. I am not sure I would accept to listen to it again if I was given that money.
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @12:20AM (#55662363) Journal

    I've been involved with generative music since the 1980s. You could say it's a serious hobby of mine.

    Making a generative black metal album like the one in the article is trivial, and could easily have been done a decade ago.

    If you want to hear the state of the art in generative music, I'd recommend checking out the most recent album and the earlier four iOS apps from Brian Eno. His latest, Reflection was some of the best music in any genre released on record in 2017. It's light years ahead of this junk, which is an insult to the many talented black metal musicians.

    • by epine ( 68316 )

      which is an insult to the many talented black metal musicians

      I'm sure the first transistor was an ugly pile of jury-rigged wires and metallic blobs, and an insult to any self-respecting vacuum tube, but that's not the criteria by which we publish.

      Such a good post, and then you had to signal your snob credentials.

      What might be an insult to black metal musicianship is the author(s) deliberately choosing black metal (over another musical genre) all the better to conceal (to the weak minds of the uninitiated) t

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have a feeling that pop music has been written exclusively by algorithms since the early 2000s. Sounds that way, anyway.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I for one welcome our \m/achine overlords

  • That's a pretty complicated and convoluted way to do a remix of an album.

    Additionally, if a genre of music becomes so predictable that computers can synthesise it (or even dice, in the case of the German game Musikalisches Würfelspiel), then it's pretty much dead and it's time to move on to newer genres.

  • I don't like it, but then again I don't really like the band this AI learned from.

    Feed it music I like and see what it comes up with - it seemed to stay true enough to the original music

  • It sounds like relatively random disjointed music with a semblance of rhythmic pulse. The guitars don't even have the guitar sound of black metal. It's also not mixed very well.
  • None. None more black.

  •'s honestly no worse than 90% of "real" black metal.

Interchangeable parts won't.