AI Experiments – Sonic Exploration through Machine Learning
As computer musicians, we get the best of both worlds: we get to geek out in the mathematic, technical world of synths and plug-ins, as well as enjoying the magical, emotional and mysterious world of music. Some of us are more computer-ey (the more left-brain type) and some of us are more music-ey (the right-brain type). But, as producers, we have to tap into both of these sides to get the work done.
Over at AI experiments, they’re doing the same thing: combining the best of both worlds by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to organize how we make sense of the world around us—including language, sound, objects, and music. AI experiments is an open source platform where anyone can toggle with tools and technology to explore how machine learning work. Below are three cool experiments that use some crazy algorithms to stimulate creativity. Give yourself some to play around and get inspired.
Infinite Drum Machine
What’s the tonal difference between a knock at a door and the slam of a door? They’re both sounds that sound… kind of similar… but it’s hard to peg the exact differences between the two. Velocity? Sure. Pitch? Probably. What the the infinite drum machine did is ask the computer to listen to thousands of little every day sounds, and organize them as best as it could. What it came up with is what looks like a circle filled with tiny colorful pinholes. Each pinhole is a sound. Neighborhoods of similar sounds are represented by different colors. Then, at the bottom there’s an easy to use drum rack where you can program your own groove. This is a really cool way to browse literally thousands of sick sounds. Though, it’s more a tool for exploration than music production, since you can’t download the sounds. Still, if you find a sound you like, you can search the web for it, or just single it out in a drum loop and record it through your computer. Launch the experiment here.
Finally! A solution for those lonely music producers trapped in their dark basements of musical solitude… wishing they had someone to play music with. The AI duet lets you use machine learning to play a duet with the computer. The computer has learned the fuzzy relationships between notes and timing, so that when you play something for it, it’s able to analyzes its database in real time to deliver a response. It’s a fun way to just mess around… or maybe it will get you inspired to make some real friends. You can jam out here.
This one will remind you that you’re not using as many bird sounds in your music production as you should be. This experiment aggregates thousands of bird calls, then sorts them out, using similar musical analysis techniques as the infinite drum machine. Like the drum machine, it’s better for exploration than music production, since again, you can’t download the samples. However, you can browse around and find some cool stuff that you would never have stumbled upon otherwise. Just spend a few minutes scrolling and you’ll be reminded that nature produces some sick natural risers, awesome LFOs, and rad textures. Find some sounds you like, then record them off your computer, google them to find some samples you can download, or check out this birdwatching community website to see if they have something similar. Check it out here.
So, if you’re in a musical rut and need some inspiration, this is a great way to let the ideas come to you. If you’re feeling really inspired, you can even download the code and work on developing the idea further yourself… if you’re into that sort of thing.
Cheers, and musical exploration.