Michael commented on Val Muscat’s EDC lifestream – Computers start composing

Computers start composing.

Michael Wolfindale:

Fascinating article, Val!

I also came across an article about algorithms being involved in the composition/improvisation of music while I was reflecting on how ‘machines’ ‘think’, how ‘humans’ ‘think’, and the blurred boundaries between the two from a posthuman standpoint.

Talking of computers being able to ‘swing’, jazz pianist and programmer Dan Tepfer uses a special ‘player piano’ (a piano with an onboard computer that can ‘play’ itself). In practice, the piano is able to ‘listen’ to what Dan plays and ‘respond’ (e.g. play additional notes) through an algorithm Dan has written.

It’s interesting how Dan speaks out about the process (“I’m not writing a piece, I’m writing the way the piece works”), and how this article describes the piano as ‘his composing partner’ (rather than as a ‘tool’ he controls):

NPR – Fascinating Algorithm: Dan Tepfer’s Player Piano Is His Composing Partner

Michael commented on Susanne MacLeod’s EDC lifestream – Kraftwerk- die Mensch Maschine

Kraftwerk- die Mensch Maschine

Michael Wolfindale:

Great share! And how relevant to the course…’The Man Machine’!

I found a review of the track here…

‘The opening passage of The Man Machine, released in 1978, is a very particular vision of the future. It’s the chatter of servo-motors, the slow whine of monorails, of control signals manipulating remote machines. It’s the sound of abstracted production. Over six tracks and 36 minutes, Kraftwerk thoroughly and succinctly explore the impact of technology upon humanity.’

It’s interesting how this vision of ‘control signals manipulating remote machines’ seems slightly at odds with some of the other visions coming up in the readings, such as the idea of a ‘dynamic partnership between humans and intelligent machines’ (Hayles 1999: 288). I wonder what this says about how some ‘humans’ viewed ‘machines’ back in the 1970s…!