Sunday, 11 January 2009

So Gross

Re-posted from Alex
This is frightening and depressing. Something tells me its not quite real, despite the Microsoft Research website backing it up. Digital musical democratisation! As long you like you're pre-programmed song to sound like High School Musical or Advertising music, which I guess people will!
Kind of a similar argument to the apparent pressure on the Guitar manufacturing industry in America to actually produce a *real* guitar that works in the same way as the plastic one from Guitar Hero. Democracy!
It's kind of great that the 'viral video' aspect of their campaign just makes it come across as comedy, rather than a useful, fun product. On the other hand, Apple having Sting in Garageband sucks now too.


Graeme said...

Plenty of Google hits when I look it up, so I assume it's legitimate. How unfortunate. It will probably also sell really well...though whether or not any music made on it will actually be heard outside of the individual users' home is another matter entirely.

I get the impression that there's currently a real "dumbing down" of the skills required to make music. That group Girltalk is maybe the best example of this. I'm not into the whole mashup thing generally, but at least some people do clever mashups. Girltalk is what anybody with two ipods and a mixer could do. It's insulting.

Ken Kills said...

I'm not convinced about the whole "dumbing down" / "it's insulting" angle. It sounds far too much like the "it's not real music" nonsense that old people scared of change say about new music. Pretty much the entire history of music has been about "dumbing down". I mean, plenty of classics nerds would say Joe's stuff isn't real music because he doesn't use any real instruments. And what's so wrong with people wanting to make music for their own enjoyment, just playing around at home? Do you really think that, unless you're trying to make it, you shouldn't pick up an instrument?

It also shows that you don't really know what you're talking about, too. Girltalk (person, not group) couldn't be replicated by two ipods and a mixer, as he's using a lot more loops than that at a time. As he's not automatically tempo-locking them, it's more like scratch DJ-ing with 10 decks at once. That's not insulting, that's brilliant.

alcxxk said...

i've been expecting something like this for ages. making music is so so much easier every year, with computers doing more and more guesswork for you - compare the ease of making something on ableton now with say cubase from 5 years ago or something. with all the beat recognition stuff and suchlike

and yes, it is negative that some people who might've possibly had the spark to learn how to make original and interesting music will see this as an easier option and make horribly generic music instead of developing some voice of their own BUT, on the other hand, using this sort of thing in conjunction with some original thought could definitely come up with interesting results. i think most likelily in terms of smashing genres together. i shouldn'thave bothered writing this as i can't be bothered to really go into it that as much as the topic deserves. anyway: some good can come of this and of all simplification of the music making process

tomasz. said...

Word to Ken Kills. i agree precisely with what you say.

Also: "it is negative that some people who might've possibly had the spark to learn how to make original and interesting music will see this as an easier option and make horribly generic music instead of developing some voice of their own"

Is that definitely a negative thing, though?

The way i see it, the good that can come out of this surely lies in the fact that the more people there are out that choose to make horrible, generic music, the more wriggle room that will leave for genuine creatives.

Also, a "real" Guitar Hero guitar could be brilliant if circuit-bent correctly.

PS: If this software does indeed come out, i will release a complete cover version of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", by simply singing in the vocals and seeing what accompaniment it generates.

Ken Kills said...

And word to yourself as well, TomasZ.

This kind of thing just seems like the equivalent of "My First Piano Book". When learning piano, or whatever, you do spend a while playing boring / easy music that you don't like that that you're never going to play again. You do that to learn music, and to start learning about music. It's probably true that a lot of people will pick up Songsmith, play around with it, and that's it. But it will introduce people to music making who would never have otherwise done so.

Democratising the arts is never a bad thing. The only people who think so are the ones scared of "the little guy"

J'Kerian said...

this is pretty bad.