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I can hear the colors. by Jayson
January 12, 2010, 9:46 am
Filed under: Credibility, Electronic | Tags: , ,

by Jayson

Over the last weekend I read about RGB MusicLab. This is a small piece of software that makes music from photos. What it does more specifically is make a mosaic of an image, then assign notes of a certain duration to teach tile. The RBG values determine what specific note a color plays, with black being totally silent. Increasing the amount of detail in the mosaic increases the complexity and length of the overall piece. A simple mosaic gives you a basic 2-3 minute song and much more detailed music resulting from a more complex mosaic, to the point where 100% detail gives you about an hour and 2o minutes worth. (Relative to my sample images.)

The music it creates is ‘challenging.’ It’s not impressionistic, like a composer might create. It’s strictly based on creator Kenji Kojima’s algorithm.

I made some music using a few of my photos.

Sunset Created using the default settings and instrumentation. 2.1 mb
Sunset2 Created using same length notes for light and dark tiles. 9.6 mb

Dusk Created using Acoustic Grand Piano, Celesta and Xylophone and the same length notes for light and dark tiles. My opus. 26mb.

Ok, so… I listen to a lot of ‘challenging’ music myself. To tell the truth, I found these pieces engaging enough to listen to. (Although, I listened to to that Cars vs. Lady Gaga mash up about 1000 times more.) I’ve also heard a lot of actual music that sounds like this.

This kind of gets me a little though. There’s very little hand of the artist in this. Sure, I used my pictures for this and tweaked the settings, but my first run was using a picture of Jean Seberg. It’s music created from a photo I didn’t take by a program I didn’t write. I suppose if I was willing to cross the Effort Threshold, I could start shooting for RGB MusicLab friendly compositions. As I got familiar with the colors maybe I could work out some shots with an idea what the sounds would be like. However, even if I did this I could continue to make music with my current level of knowledge of the technical aspects of music, which by the way, is nothing. So, like, is that a good thing or not? It is artistically dishonest to try and make ‘music’ without even knowing how? Maybe someone who does know something could use this to make something hell of rad? We already know that someone, somewhere, downloaded this and used porn to generate their music, that’s just a given.

Regardless, I promise that you will not see me on a stage, trying to rock out in front of a laptop. I will not, however, rule out some super limited run tape only releases.

RGB MusicLab is a free download. If you want to make MP3s you’re going to need Auadicty + LAME or Garageband.


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[…] still pretty cheap on Amie St. and download RGB MusicLab and make your own weird music. I had fun  doing that and the results sound a lot like the LHC […]

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