Nathan Altice

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Apple Machine Music

Apple's Music Memos is a free musical sketchpad/accompaniment app that allows musicians to record song ideas on their phone. The app then analyzes the recording for chord changes and tempo and offers auto-accompaniment via an AI bass player and drummer. It's a weird thing, and a portent of our musical future, for better or worse.

I used the app to record five famous sound art/art music pieces—Loud Reed's 'Metal Machine Music,' Bowie's 'Warszawa', Eno's 'Music for Airports,' Steve Reich's 'Come Out,' and Delia Derbyshire's 'Ziwzih'—then enabled the auto-accompaniment. For variety, I changed the instrument types in GarageBand, but left the idiosyncrasies of the automated performances intact, for better or worse.

You can listen to the resulting EP below.

  • Year: 2016
  • Media: Sound
  • Hardware: iPhone 5s
  • Software: iOS Music Memos, Apple GarageBand