13 tracks (29 minutes) of dungeon synth. Mastered at Big Name.
Like many others, I’ve been having fun experimenting with OpenAI’s Playground for the last few weeks. It’s amazing how far this type of technology has come in recent years, and of course with more time it will only get better.
I found the Playground interface they provide a bit clunky for my personal use case, so I used their API to create Talk2AI, a front end more suited to my wishes. Talk2AI is an alternate interface for creating prompts and receiving responses to those prompts from GPT-3.
Here’s one of my favorite AI responses generated through this tool so far:
Write a story about a man named Artie who runs out of frozen chicken pot pies, his favorite dish, and makes a trip to the store to purchase more, only to discover that it is the end of the world.
Artie had been looking forward to his chicken pot pie all day. He had taken it out of the freezer to thaw in the morning, and by the time evening rolled around, he was practically drooling over the thought of sinking his teeth into the savory, flaky crust. Now, it was finally time to enjoy his delicious dinner. He opened the refrigerator door and reached for his pie, but it was gone! Someone had eaten it! Artie was devastated. With a growling stomach, he realized he would have to make a trip to the store to restock his supply.
Artie was in for a big surprise when he went to the store to buy his favorite frozen chicken pot pies. Instead of the familiar sights and sounds of the grocery store, he was greeted by silence. He walked the aisles, but there was not a soul in sight. The shelves were empty. It was as if the store had been abandoned in a hurry. Suddenly, he heard a strange noise overhead. He looked up to see a spaceship hovering above the store.
Artie was pleased to find that the store still had chicken pot pies in the freezer section. He was able to take as many as he wanted and he went home with a big smile on his face, knowing that even though he was the last man on Earth, he had a stockpile of chicken pot pies.
Advantages this interface has over the Playground:
- History of the user’s entries throughout the session, including the settings used for that entry, and a delete button for removing unwanted responses.
- For those who go beyond the OpenAI free trial: a max cost calculator based on input settings and an estimated cost calculator for each entry based on the return. The history logs these costs with each entry as well.
- Simple exports of individual entries or the entire session history to text files.
- Easy continuation of previous entries without needing to copy/paste.
- Significantly easier use on mobile!
Steps for Use
Usage requires an account with OpenAI. One can be created on their site. https://openai.com/api/
- Sign in to https://openai.com/api/.
- Click the colored circle on the top right of the page with the first letter of your name.
- In the dropdown menu, click “View API Keys.”
- On this page, under the “Secret Key” header, click “copy.”
- Paste this key into the “API Key” input field.
- Enter something into the input box and click “Submit.”
More information about creating prompts for the AI can be found in the OpenAI documentation. https://beta.openai.com/docs/
Source code for the project can be found on GitHub.
The Cedric Bixler-Zavala Lyrics Generator is a fun little app that analyzes the word combinations present in Bixler-Zavala’s body of work and attempts to piece together new lines using a Markov chain algorithm. Each phrase generated lands somewhere on a spectrum between excellent surreal imagery and utterly broken nonsense.
The app was originally written in Python with a PySimpleGUI user interface, but recently I decided to take a little time to improve it by turning it into a React app. The Markov chain algorithm portion remains a Python script and is now run via AWS’s serverless Lambda architecture.
Anyone who knows me personally already knows this, but this program is intended as a tribute and should not be interpreted as mockery. Cedric Bixler-Zavala and the projects he has been a part of, particularly The Mars Volta, are a major influence on my own artistic pursuits.
Source code for the project can be found on GitHub.
Dave Tremblay, Melopœia’s principle songwriter, describes his technique as a kind of translation of the text into music using a self-devised system. This method of songwriting is as literal as it sounds—J.R.R. Tolkien is credited as composer here, with Melopœia using close reading of The Silmarillion to go word by word through Tolkien’s densest book. The songwriting is less granular than it was on the band’s last release, Ainulindalë, which was crafted electronically going letter by letter—the band notes that while Ainulindalë could be listened to alongside the text, Valaquenta is much more of a palimpsest, with words translating as tone rows over the top of the original writing. This gives Valaquenta a grander aspect than its predecessor and makes for a more immediate listen…
Full article here.
Thank you Toilet ov Hell for doing a proper premiere for part of this massive project for us. This article also has a number of interview questions answered by Dave and Brian, for anyone interested in exactly what we are doing with this project.
Color Horizons is an app I have dreamed of creating for a few years now. It is built with React. From the General section of the About page:
Color Horizons is a microtonal-capable scale generator and synthesizer.
It is designed specifically to enable the user to instantly calculate how the notes of all modes of any scale that it can generate compare against 12 tone equal temperament, the harmonic series, and more.
The user can immediately play these scales in the browser using the QWERTY keyboard or their device’s touchscreen and then can export those scales as .scl files that can be used to retune other synthesizers.
From the Mission / Intentions section of the About page:
Color Horizons is developed by Jon Lervold.
I sincerely believe that microtonality is not just a musical niche for iconoclasts, but that in time it will someday become the next frontier of popular music.
There is an incredible wealth of musical expression that is inaccessible utilizing only 12 Tone Equal Temperament (12TET). Technology has reached a point where any musical tuning system imaginable can be tested instantly. The problem now is not necessarily the construction of microtonal-capable instruments, but the lack of proliferation of this knowledge. Whatever the reasons may be, at the moment this field remains esoteric. Many newcomers find it difficult to even know where to begin.
My goal with this application is to become an active participant in spreading knowledge of these fruitful tonal possibilities to other musicians. Color Horizons is a tool for helping explore musical realms near and far from 12TET. What tonal colors are available off in the distance? Let’s find out.
It is my deep wish that this tool can help inspire and facilitate musical creation!
Microtonal music is certainly currently a niche field, so Color Horizons is intended to be an educational resource as well. If you click the “More Info” button on the top right, and then click “Key Concepts”, there is a writeup that discusses everything necessary to understand what is going on with the app. Additionally, each scale generation method has an “info” button next to it that will show how that specific tool operates.
Color Horizons is a project that I will continue to actively develop as I learn more about microtonal music and tuning theory. Plans for later versions include non-octave scale generation methods and graphical representations of each scale and its modes.
This is easily the most mysterious release that I’ve ever been a part of. I played the drums. Beyond that I know very little! I’m not even sure who the other musicians who played on it are. I don’t know if they know who I am. My parts were recorded nearly 4 years ago over very bare-bones versions of the songs, and I was quite pleased when the finished version unexpectedly appeared in my inbox today.
2 tracks (11 minutes) of black / math / prog metal. Drums tracked at Big Name.
This review was originally written in Indonesian. Via Google Translate:
Actually, whether we realize it or not, as the years go by, most of us are more interested in exploring the album or music released by the latest year. Supported by the proliferation of review articles, recommendations, and music promotion channels that are more inclined to recommend the latest albums, indirectly focusing our attention entirely on the latest album catalogs. I think our space and time are getting narrower to go back to digging for old releases that haven’t been on our personal playlists at all. Especially when we feel comfortable and don’t want to leave the music that has been our favorite for a long time. It feels like we have to think twice about whether we are willing to leave our comfort zone for uncertainty.
I remember very well that ‘A God or an Other’ was one of the bands that became my first practice reviewing an album. Written on a small notepad, I wrote that their ‘post-black metal’ tagline should be removed from the metal archives page. Until now, when I re-listen to this album, that opinion has not changed at all. Since countless copycats of Deafheaven and Alcest have appeared, blackgaze is often associated with the texture of black metal music but has a melancholy and gray feel to the extraction of shoegaze musical elements.
Highlighted moments in this album also seem to be divided into 2, sometimes the texture of the music is more atmospheric, as if acting as a storyteller, who narrates expressions and emotions through musical textures. On the other hand, the musical elements sound more witty, and brutal as if the recipient of the story receives the emotional consequences of turmoil when listening to a terrible story. Unfortunately, ‘Chaotic Symbiosis’ became the last chapter of this Seattle band. Because ‘A God or an Other’ disbanded in the same year, when this album was released.
Here is an unusual project for which I am playing drums. It falls under the classification of scriptophonic microtonal black metal.
For anyone unfamiliar, in scriptophonic music, the artist designs an algorithm which converts text into musical notes.
Again for anyone unfamiliar, microtonal music utilizes pitches that fall outside of the standard twelve tone equal divisions of the octave musical system (12edo). In this case, we are dividing the octave into 26 equal parts (26edo), one for each letter of the alphabet.
We are converting the entirety of Tolkien’s Valaquenta into music via an algorithm that Dave Tremblay programmed using Python. The algorithm generates the guitar parts from the text, which are played by Dave on a real 26edo guitar and bass. I am then given free rein to write and record drum parts that support those guitar parts. Finally, Brian Leong is providing the vocals, placing the words that were used to generate the guitar parts on top of each section.
There are 29 pieces total and we are recording and releasing them one at a time. The scope of this project is very large and so it will probably take a long time to finish!
26 more to come.