Saturday, January 25, 2020

AI Generated Music

AI Generated Music

You hear a lot about music being created by Artificial Intelligence these days. I recently posted an article about how they were going to have an AI finish Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony. For those who don’t know, he published nine symphonies and there are apparently notes for a tenth.
You have to wonder if people are really serious. I mean it’s not like we don’t have enough artificial intelligence as it is.
I suppose artificially generated pop music is the music business’ big dream. They can finally eliminate the middleman, the artist who is just always getting between them and their product. Let’s face it; the artist is just such a liability to the music business what with all the neurosis, drugs and demanding to be paid all the time.
They’ve gone from signing new bands to creating acts, so they may as well go the next step and eliminate the artist.
But let’s take a closer look here. What’s the difference between artificial intelligence and the real organic stuff? The only difference is that artificial intelligence needs programing to function.
But wait, isn’t that the problem with most intelligence on the planet? It requires programing and has gotten programed, in fact. So the intelligence that programs artificial intelligence has itself been programed.
Most of our art, news and culture is indeed the product of artificial intelligence. It needs programing to function and has, indeed, been programmed.
There is apparently not much of the good old organic self-programming intelligence around on this planet, which may explain a great deal about it.
No wonder this idea of AI generated music has appeared and no one questions it.
The question is; who are the original programmers? This artificial intelligence has obviously been around for a long time, otherwise people would be questioning it and, like they say, ‘garbage in, garbage out.’

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Ivory Tower Syndrome

The Ivory Tower Syndrome

I once attended a lecture by the late, great Ray Bradbury, who knew
he was addressing an audience of young writers. What he had to say
was essentially that, if you wanted to be a writer, you just read and
read and eventually it would start to come back out.
I somehow understood what he meant at that time, which was this;
many people have the idea that if you want to write music, for
example, you would go and shut yourself off in some ‘ivory tower,’
hoping that you could come up with a bolt out of the blue. By shutting
yourself up in an ivory tower and not listening to other music you
would be able to create something absolutely new and would not be in danger of copying someone else’s work either directly or by accident.
Now shutting their selves in an ivory tower is not what the great
composers of the past did. Even Beethoven had his influences and they are quite obviously traceable and evident throughout the different periods of his composing. Beethoven revered Handle, for example and called him the ‘Master of the Masters.’
Now Beethoven was famous for ‘breaking the rules’ of musical
composition and this has led many people to ask; just what rule or
method did Beethoven follow to produce his masterpieces?
Well it would seem to be music the way that Beethoven liked to hear
it.
So, after duplication of many different styles and works, the next and
very important step is deciding what you like and don’t like. After all, in music and art, as in all things, it’s your opinion that matters.
One cannot go on, relying on the opinions of ‘authorities,’ and hope to
produce anything of real value. The great contributions in history were based on an individual point of view and not the result of a group agreement or following the latest trend or fashion.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Life As Art

Life As Art


You often hear the phrase ‘life imitating art,’ although it could just as easily be ‘art imitating life.’ If you Google the definition of ‘art,’ you get;
“the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”
You get the ideas, concepts of creation and of aesthetics; creating something of beauty.
But why would art exist at all? It seems to presuppose a better aesthetic to be had, a more ideal scene than what we might be involved in. It might point the way out of what we have generally been brought to accept as ‘reality.’
This is supposing a particular purpose to art that is beyond escapism and temporal entertainment and what a concept this is!
But what might art be pointing a way to? What could be better than the best of all possible worlds we find ourselves in now?
Surely others have made attempts at how we should live and set down rules to abide by that would get us there-to a better world, and has this not proven to be just part of the problem?
Can anyone say how we should be, act and think?
What if art is not so much pointing the way but actually an end in itself? What if there is an art to living?
What if existence was meant to be an ongoing creation, each person creating who they are and how they will live? If the universe hands you lemons, why not create Picasso in his ‘Yellow Period?’
Could this be why ‘The Artist Formerly Known As Prince’ did away with his previous names? By naming you, society exerts its power over you by saying you are so and so and we know that you are this and you are that and you must stay within the limits of this identity we give you.
You are an artist and you need an agent and a record deal. 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Who Is Fritz Kundler?

Who Is Fritz Kundler?

Some while back, I had the idea of starting an Internet radio station and I did just that. My idea was somewhat different, since there were a lot of streaming sites around at the time and also Internet radio stations.
Many of the radio stations were, and still are, what is called ‘pay for play.’ In other words, getting airplay was not that special, you simply had to purchase credits for a certain number of plays.
Even sites that were supposedly free would give priority plays to artists that got the most ‘likes,’ and, of course, a paid upgrade would ensure more airplay.
One problem is ‘ballot stuffing’ by bands that get their band mates, fans and friends to vote for them. Outside of being total bullshit, there’s nothing much wrong with these models.

Interviews With Fritz

Anyway, my idea was that submissions would be reviewed and accepted on basis of quality content. To this end, I invented a DJ persona that I called Fritz Kundler. The idea was that Fritz would be a curmudgeon, an outspoken critic and musical authority.
Having established this, I set about going around to various forums and posting that I knew a guy who was running an Internet radio station who was looking for submissions.
It seemed that, in no time, I was getting submissions from all parts of the world. One of the first things I learned was that there were a lot of really good bands and artists out there who were unsigned.
So I had the idea of starting to interview some of these bands and artists as one needs ever expanding content to run a radio station. What I learned then was that many had the same or similar stories.
For example, one singer songwriter I interviewed had a contract with Capitol Records previously. She said that, at one point, Capitol Records had many different divisions for all sorts of different musical genres.
Then something bad happened and Capitol shut down all these divisions. They informed her that they owned her material but they were shelving it. She had to get a lawyer and fight them to get her material back, which she did, and then she went independent, setting up a studio in her basement and recording her music.
It was a very interesting learning experience but running a radio station began to take up too much of my time, so I let it go.
I decided to dispense with Fritz as well, since I’m as outspoken a curmudgeon as he ever was. 

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