What it truly means to be human in today’s data-driven, tech-obsessed society has become an enigma for many of us. Portrait XO is a Berlin-based experimental electronic music artist and founder and member of many collectives who explores the intersection of art, sound, science and emerging technologies in her work. In today’s episode of “The Mix”, Portrait XO will be shedding light on what it’s like to experience the world through sound first, the effect of synesthesia on her music, and how emerging technologies like AI and blockchain are reshaping the songwriting process as we know it.
How does Portrait XO use AI to write songs?Portrait XO uses an AI model called SampleRNN to learn how to sing like her by training an hour of her singing vocals for 2.5 days, and then that gave 10 hours of new audio. She cherry-picks through the audio to find short little soundbites of listening to AI try to sing like her and uses those to guide her on a new way of songwriting and producing.
What is Portrait XO's perspective on AI as an artist?Portrait XO views art holistically and believes that artists are by nature multiple disciplinary and that AI is just another tool to explore with or to stretch your boundaries. She thinks that the narrative around AI has changed a lot over the last few years and that there are some really interesting outputs of what is actually possible.
Has Portrait XO used AI to generate lyrics before?Portrait XO has tried out some GPT2 stuff back then, which is like AI text generation, but she was really curious to see what this raw audio AI would give her. She chose the voice as the first dataset to train because she has a fascination with human voices and wanted to break free from form. She wanted this process to give birth to new lyrics and new melodies and kind of challenged her in terms of how she views songwriting as well.
What is synesthesia and how does it impact Portrait XO's songwriting?Synesthesia is the ability or neural tendency to attach certain colors or visuals to sound. It impacts more on Portrait XO's production side production and mixing. When she found out that lemon was a flavor that she shouldn't eat, it actually took her a while, like when she's mixing and if she eats lemon then it tends to make the higher frequencies more sharp, so it'll be really prominent.
Does Portrait XO experience any kickback or criticism for use of AI?Portrait XO says that the narrative around AI has changed a lot over the last few years and that now people are starting to see some really interesting outputs of what is actually possible. She thinks that in the beginning there was a bit more pushback because there was this fear that AI is here to replace creativity, AI is here to replace roles of composers. But she thinks that it's all about context, and sure there are going to be some methods and approaches where people will try to create an AI that can generate a full song from beginning to end, but also on top of that, she thinks that we also forgot to involve the conversion of the people behind the algorithms.
In this episode we explore:
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Portrait XO on Youtube
Trigger- Synaesthstesia sound project
Meet Portrait XO-Voyage LA
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