Music For Shuffle

Sketch #03

Third sketch. Back to more irregularity in the rhythm, which seems to work better than the straight 4/4 beat of the second sketch. Also, a little go at making the harmony more strictly modal – the entire thing is in the aeolian mode. There are less harmonic shifts, so there isn’t as much tension and release, and it gets a little insistent and claustrophobic.

Download the MP3s here (5.7mb)

How about vocals?

Doing this one, I started thinking about things like WIlliam Burroughs’ cut-up poetry – I should explore how to write a song in this way, combining words and phrases in random ways. There could be some lovely little shifts in meaning. Maybe each track name could match the vocal line too. Hmm.

Artwork

More messing with colour, shape and line.

I’m just doing these by hand, frame by frame, in Illustrator at the minute. You can always tell when something’s been generated with code. It has that smell about it. I think I just like to keep my hands as close to the process as possible, both visually and musically – by directly making things, not writing code to make things. I guess I also feel this way because the shuffle function itself inserts a bit of distance between me and the outcome. Hmm. Need to think harder about this.

How do I scrobble this stuff?

Track names and lyrics then got me thinking about scrobbling. As far as I know, Last.fm only scrobbles individual tracks that are over 31 seconds long. That’s no good for this. Obviously, Audioscrobbler was years ahead of its time, but I guess, back in 2002, RJ had no choice but to focus on the ‘track’ or full MP3 as being the main unit of music consumption.

The newer, snazzier APIs of music services The Echo Nest claim to let us comb through and record music experience at a more fine-grained level – I must work out how to run this shuffle stuff through it and see what happens. I do love the thought of trying to compose a piece of music that’s both beautiful to human ears, and nice and tastily parseable by robots. Hmm. I wonder what that would sound like.

Anyway. Less jabbering. More making.