YACHT have announced, their new album Chain Tripping, will arrive on August 30th, via DFA Records. Ahead of the release the NYC trio has shared a new visual for their new single “Scatterhead.” Chain Tripping was recorded between Marfa, Texas and the band’s home in Los Angeles. The album is described as a true pop experiment, from a sideways dimension coaxed into their studio through a portal opened by machine intelligence.
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“AI and Machine Learning represent a revolution in music equivalent to the introduction of the synthesizer or the beginning of laptop music. We’ve been a band long enough to watch technology overwrite our assumptions many times, and felt compelled to bring these new tools into our life,” explains YACHT.
YACHT (an acronym for “Young Americans Challenging High Technology”) is Claire L. Evans, Jona Bechtolt, and Rob Kieswetter. For Chain Tripping, the trio invented their own working method, at the intersection of DIY and high-tech: they used neural networks to break their patterns apart into infinite variations, which they re-assembled into new songs that they then learned, performed, and recorded live. Rather than rely on any single tool, they brought together several distinct AI processes to generate lyrics (Char-RNN), musical data (MusicVAE), raw audio (SampleRNN), and instrumentation (a “neural synthesizer” called the NSynth). They were inspired by the long history of generative composition, from William S. Burroughs’ cut-up writing method to David Bowie’s custom “Verbasizer” lyrics software from the ‘90s.
Using the framework of this album, YACHT was able to unite a disparate group of artists from around the world to showcase the state of the art in AI-assisted typography, lyrics, composition, audio, video, instrumentation, and photography. Collaborators include artist Ross Goodwin, “neurographer” Mario Klingemann, programmer and poet Allison Parrish, senior research scientists at Google’s Magenta Project, and the New Zealand-based visual artist Tom White, who used an AI “perception engine” to create a suite of screen-printed computer abstractions for Chain Tripping.
“All of this experimentation would be meaningless if it didn’t result in something larger than the sum of its parts.” “This album challenged us in unexpected ways, opened new dialogues, and ultimately touches something deep about who we are. This is what technology can do it if it’s wielded with love, in a spirit of self-discovery. This is what artificial intelligence can be if we think of it not as an endgame but as a starting point.”
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