Olafur Arnalds : futuristic music !
While the artificial intelligence tasked with composing music over these past few years have not produced anything particularly poignant, the Icelander Ólafur Arnalds has initiated a new relationship between man and machine with this album.
Over the past two years he has worked on a software called Stratus, which allows two pianos to automatically play computer-generated music. But how does that work? Arnalds sits in his living room at the piano, equipped with the Moog Piano Bar, a device that transforms acoustic pianos into MIDI controllers. When he presses a note on his piano, the software generates a sequence on the other two pianos installed in the studio. "I’m basically playing the piano, but I’ve created a different instrument out of the piano", he explained in a video on his YouTube channel at the beginning of 2018. “And it often reacts in a very unexpected way. For example, when I play a C, the other pianos are going to play notes that I’m not necessarily expecting. So I’ll have a completely different reaction. Something like this really messes with the way you create stuff and affects the ideas that come out - you get ideas that you would never get otherwise.”
He deploys this revolutionary method throughout the record, mixing his pianos with ethereal string sections, live percussion and beats that are co-produced by Bngrboy (notably with the addictive opening track that is sure to be a future classic). Above all, nothing sounds forced, everything flowing with an Olympic-level lightness. By using machines to change how we view human creativity, Ólafur Arnalds’ avant-garde creation paves the way for a new musical direction.
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