German Sequencing

Alex Ball is the brains behind one of my favorite YouTube channels. If you're into vintage synths as much as I am, his videos are a must watch.

His most recent video is a delight as he recreates the sequencer sounds used on Der Mussolini by DAF, and Los NiƱos Del Parque by Liasons Dangereuses.

Of course this then took me down a DAF rabbit hole on Spotify as I went through their back catalogue. The are worse places to be.

more: ,

On Finding New Music

I was really happy to learn about the Search Engine podcast. It's hosted by P. J. Vogt – one of the guys behind the also quite good and yet defunct Reply All. Each week he attempts to answer a question. And they're a lot of fun.

In catching up with episodes from last year the "how am I supposed to find new music now that I'm old and irrelevant?" one caught my eye.

Interesting hearing how you form an emotional attachment to music in your teens and early twenties. By the time you hit your thirties it's harder for new things to stick, and you gravitate more to the things that made up the soundtrack to your youth. And it's true, I find myself still listening to those formative years a lot.

I didn't agree 100% with the narrative that it's hard to discover new music these days. In many ways I think it's a lot easier than it ever was. That's probably worthy of a post in and of itself actually. The kids these days have no idea how easy they've got it.

In 2006 I discovered last.fm. Keeping track of everything I listen to was immediately appealing to me and something I continue to this day. But it was so much more than that. It was one of the early social sites. You had neighbors. Like minded individuals who shared the same taste in music. Being nosy about what they had listened to was all part of the fun. last.fm also had one of the first recommendation engines giving users their first introduction to a lot of new bands. It changed the game somewhat.

Fast forward to 2024 and I've been fully invested in the music streaming lifestyle for a number of years now. Spotify is actually pretty good with recommendations. The 'Discover Weekly' playlist comes out every Monday which I've found to be a goldmine. Also if you're listening to a band there will be an insta-playlist generated called, say, 'Depeche Mode Radio' made up of bands that are similar. Taking what last.fm pioneered and raising it a level.

So I'd say we've got it pretty good if you know where to look. It sure beats taping Radio One in my bedroom on a Sunday Evening as a 14 year old. Good heavens, remember when the radio actually played good music?

As a closing side note, PJ thinks he's old. He's 37. Oh you Millennials.

more: ,

AI And Creativity

You know how you don't really want to be old man yells at cloud guy? And yet.

Yesterday I posted how I was fooled into thinking something was a great photograph when in reality it had been AI generated.

Just today the current top spot on Flickr's Explore is an AI generated image. If you read the comments you'll notice lots of "outstanding shot" and "really great work" mentions.

The Chess Game

Is it really great work though?

The "photographer" in this case hasn't really done anything. Well, I take that back. Typing "a cat and dog playing chess" into a text box in Midjourney on their phone while sitting on their sofa isn't exactly nothing but it's not really something to be applauded is it?

I dunno, maybe it is?

Perhaps this is where we're heading with all this. Which makes me think about what human creativity will look like 10-15 years from now in an AI future. Is this possible future one in which we don't create the thing ourselves? Possibly. But where's the fun in that?

Photography is my own creative outlet. I love going out and about with my camera for a few hours, finding some cool things to shoot, before coming home and tinkering in Lightroom for a bit. Sometimes something comes from that and I upload the work I'm proud of. The whole process from start to finish is enjoyable.

Someone else may argue why go to all that trouble when you could just use your phone to generate a better image in 10 seconds? I mean sure, if that's what being creative means to you. That's not what it means to me.

I'd argue it's not what it means for artists, musicians, writers, or actors either. Entire industries are built on humans creating something. Something, unfortunately, that AI could do a lot quicker, and for a lot less money.

But what kind of future is that? It's one I don't like one bit.