Av3ry. Not really modular, just some 'next-door neighbour'... :)
What do you think of this? As a musician, and particularly as a modular musician, what is your opinion or feeling?

'Av3ry is an AI program and a virtual persona, who is composing music, communicating with people and learning from interactions. The main component is the on-demand conversation and art generation of the bot. (...)' - Audiobulb Records.

More information here: http://av3ry.net

It is amusing to note that, so far, the subject seems intriguing without eliciting any comments or reflections on it. Yet several bridges link the world of modular to that of artificial intelligence applied to music :

  • The use of random.
  • The self generative capacity.
  • The integration of computer science, at least in digital modules.
  • A common and progressive appearance in the Music of the 20th century.
  • A remarkable shared development at the beginning of this 21st century.
  • A strong potential for innovation, and even for mutual articulation...

I still have this beautiful reflection by Brian Eno on the subject of computers and sequencers that comes to mind, and which, I think, applies equally to these two worlds:

"The great benefit of computer sequencers is that they remove the issue of skill, and replace it with the issue of judgement.

With Cubase or Photoshop, anybody can actually do anything, and you can make stuff that sounds very much like stuff you’d hear on the radio, or looks very much like anything you see in magazines.

So the question becomes not whether you can do it or not, because any drudge can do it if they’re prepared to sit in front of the computer for a few days, the question then is, "Of all the things you can now do, which do you choose to do?".

I read in this Forum dozens of topics related to the choice of modules or the correct configuration of a setup. I am not saying that these questions are not interesting, on the contrary. I notice that the best answers, and by the best of us (I don't quote names, we'll recognize them) refer us most often to this same question from Eno: "Of all the things you can now do, which do you choose to do?

Is there any musician here for a comment, or even an answer to the initial question?

This is fascinating. As with all AI, I worry that it will discover and continue to reproduce an algorithm that is "popular" but uninteresting. Kind of like when you enjoy Seinfeld on Hulu or Netflix so the algorithm recommends Friends next. Haha
As for the Eno quote, that is pretty much exactly the musical idea that I have been exploring. I'm an Eno fan, but have never heard that quote before. I like the immediacy of recording live, I like the mistakes, I like the happy accidents, I like wondering why I made the choices I did while listening back to the recordings, I like challenging myself NOT to intervene in the music.
Of course all of these conceptual approaches don't always lend themselves to interesting music from the listener's perspective, but there is plenty of pop, rock, and hip hop that can scratch that itch for everyone (myself included). I just don't have any desire to work on anything with sparkling production, perfect EQ and mixing, verses and choruses, etc.
So, for me the answer to the question, "Of all the things you can do now, which do you choose to do?" is probably a selfish one. I tend to just do what feels right in the moment and move on to the next idea. If someone else finds it interesting, that is welcome but has absolutely no bearing on the next choices I make.

Really interested in replies to the questions posed. I have found working with and releasing Av3ry's music on Audiobulb Records a thought provoking exercise - is it an artist, is it artistic, does it have value and meaning if there is not a human being making decisions of compositional form, speed, narrative and emotions?

It is fascinating and disconcerting:

You can read how reviewers are reacting here: http://www.audiobulb.com/albums/AB101/AB101.htm

More reviews to come it.

Listeners are struggling to get it I sense.... but some are really connecting - so many tracks too - I guess it's a big investment in time and focus. Only time will tell how this will unfold.

Actually, I find that the early investigations of AI-generated (Open AI Jukebox, specifically) pop by a few vaporwave producers is pretty interesting. For one thing, it eliminates the copyright law worries. But more importantly, it provides a sort of template in which there's certain known factors that appear in the result while, at the same time, it also features loads of uncanny valley-type results that are more difficult to predict. As such, it still acts very much like a "proper musical instrument" since it has its own variants on leaky pads, sticky valves, or a gnat down your throat due to the nature of the process.

As for the "is it artistic" point...well, consider this: an AI algorithm is just as capable of being a "composition" as is a score by Mahler, et al. The architecture is very different...but I was always taught that creating a scored work is very much analogous to writing program code. The "computers" might be different, but the underlying cybernetic process is essentially the same.