POSmusic favourite Brian Eno wrote about Generative Music in his 1995 book A Year With Swollen Appendices, suggesting computers would turn music “into a kind of genetic activity – in the sense that the compositional ‘seeds’ were actually interacting sets of rules and parameters rather than precise musical descriptions”. He imagined the piece evolving out of the interaction of these probabilistic rule-sets – and therefore evolving differently in each “performance”.
A ground breaking idea if ever we’ve heard one, and now 22 years later, in a piece for the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Witt (author of How Music Became Free) proposes that in the year 2040, we’ll have chips in our heads that we can activate to play music pulled from a warehouse of samples tailored according to our heart-rate, our recent activities and our preferences; a personalized, generative music soundtrack described as: “mood-affiliated procedural remixing”, adapted and refashioned on your own brain circuits (!!!)
Going beyond a simple app that syncs your playlists with your voice’s pitch, Witt proposes that in the future, we will look back with embarrassment at the times we “never got the song we wanted, and the term “DJ” referred to some French guy in a mask who wasn’t even monitoring your serotonin levels”.
With technology evolving at such a rapid pace, this might not be so far-fetched; if anything, it might happen sooner than the 30 years Witt is suggesting (Google CEO Larry page has already foreshadowed the brain implant for memory recall).
For now, however, we much prefer a turntable over an implant.
Feel free to go a little further down the neuro-prosthetic wormhole here.