Exterminate All Rational Thought, Massive Attack Edition


The app, described as a "sensory music player," provides us with four new Massive Attack tracks. Each is a totally unique remix for every user, created by an algorithm in the app that collates data from sensors in your phone to create one-off remixes you can then record and share.

"Why would we put a premixed album out when there's algorithms that'll mix this for you?"

The limitless potential of a project like this seems to fuel Del Naja's creativity. "I keep thinking about what we could do next; for example, if you aggregated the personal data of everyone at a concert who had the app then you might be able to remix the music we're playing in real-time," he imagines. "So you could create a sort of group sensory experience. It changes the way you think about performance, because while one might see apps like this as an escapist experience, it might be more pervasive. I think there's potential for it to affect the way we go out and how we share music with the people around us."

To create the experience, Thomas and Del Naja used studio masters of the new Massive Attack tracks and broke them down into minimalist fragments. In the app, these tracks evolve in accordance with personal and environmental factors picked up from the user's movement, camera images, times of day and location -- as well as biometric signals such as your heartbeat -- in the iPhone and Apple Watch. "I think people understand now that devices can use a lot of our personal data for useless stuff like targeted advertising," says Thomas. "But what we're producing is almost the complete opposite of that. It takes your data and creates a really great experience for you, without storing it or trying to sell you something. It's creation in the moment and a logical avenue for artists to explore."

According to Thomas, it's all about striking a balance between "nonlinear" composition and the formality of conventional music. "I think the mistake that people make when they think about this kind of work is that it's all randomly thrown together, but the way to make this stuff well is to build rules into the system," he says. "We have to make sure it makes sense melodically: so a piece from the chorus will never appear alongside a verse, which means the behavior of the system can change, but it will always change in a musical way."

"We have to make sure it's rewarding for the user and interesting artistically, never working against the musical intentions of the material."

Thomas is cautious about how the musical interaction with the user happens. "It's very curatorial" he tells me. "We have to make sure it's rewarding for the user and interesting artistically, never working against the musical intentions of the material. But in the future we're looking towards AI taking over some aspects of that curation, so it would be possible for a meta-reworking, where multiple remixes are possible."

This thing is really cool. Also free!

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jwz mixtape 162

Please enjoy jwz mixtape 162.

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Current Music: as noted

Stretch Armstrong Cuddle Puddle

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Foam party

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Scene missing! A video that used to be embedded in this post has disappeared. If you know of a copy of this video that is still accessible, please mail me so that I can update the link. (Search)
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Download satellite imagery; append; repeat.


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Murderous necrophiliac kangaroo briefly wins nation's heart

As they do...

The photograph ran in Australian media along with commentary from photographer Evan Switzer to the effect that the larger of the three beasts was lovingly cradling the body of his fallen mate, or perhaps even lifting her head so she could see her child (at left) one last time.

But the Australian Museum quickly weighed in with another interpretation of the image, with principal research scientist Dr Mark Eldridge saying the picture shows the standing male is in a state of sexual excitement and is "trying to get a female to stand up so he can mate with her."

Other commentators say that the male may well have been trying to mate with the female for some time and, along the way, caused the injuries that killed the animal.

Australians were therefore asked to go from "gosh, Kangaroos can be surprisingly tender" to "Male Kangaroos are violent sexual predators" within a day.

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Mike Mulligan and His Ancient Roman Steam Shovel

1:30, 7:35, 9:57.

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Payphone antics

Incidentally, if you have any suggestions for other behaviors I should add to the payphone, shoot. Right now it just does the calendar info-line and lets you save and play back messages. Plus a few minor easter eggs. What else would be fun to build into the thing (that does not require advanced signal processing)?
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Recent Comics

  • Howard the Duck

    I mentioned six months ago that Howard the Duck is the best thing going on in comics right now, and it's still true. It's just so great! No, I don't understand how this is possible, either! (Well, I do, it's that Chip Zdarsky is fucking hilarious, but still.)

    The "Gwenpool" backup feature is pretty amazing, too. (Apparently there's some comic where Gwen Stacy is Spider-Man -- I dunno, I haven't read it -- so the obvious next step is, what the hell, she can be Deadpool too.)

    Fun fact: any time I try to type Howard the Duck, it autocorrects to Howard the Fuck because years ago I set "Fuck" as the completion for "Duck", having noticed that I never, ever type "ducking" but type "fucking" a lot. Fucking thanks, Howard.

  • Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl

    There's a new Phonogram! It's basically about the Take On Me video! And the ghost of The Long Blondes! Aaaaahhhhh it's so great! And after they said it was impossible to do another. "The bargain was for half of a girl's personality. You may see a loophole."

  • Harley Quinn Power Girl

    Ok, this is going to be hard to believe, but the Harley Quinn Power Girl miniseries is actually pretty funny. The backstory is that Power Girl got bonked on the head and has slight amnesia, so Harley took the opportunity to tell her that she had always been her sidekick. Hijinks ensue.

    Some caveats: 1) It's not as funny as the 2010 Power Girl series, where she spends so much time punching out dinosaurs that it might as well be an Atomic Robo comic -- seriously, that series was great; and 2) I absolutely hate the way Harley Quinn is drawn (there is only One True Harley Quinn and that's the Paul Dini version from Batman The Animated Series. Likewise, the One True Joker is Mark Hamill and I'll fight anyone who says different). BUT: This happened, ok:

    Yeah, that's Sean Connery as Zardoz. Then at some point they get really high and hallucinate for no reason that advances the plot (such as it is) in any way. I totally respect that.

  • Sex Criminals

    A couple of dorks have the superpower that when they have orgasms, they can stop time. Bank robberies ensue. It's 20% filthy and 80% cringeworthy, in a very Mortified kind of way. And there's some kind of Sailor Moon Spunk Ghost. (Speaking of which, you should also be reading Oglaf.) Don't skip the letters columns, where people write in with childhood tales of the first time they came across moldy piles of porn in the woods.

  • Saga

    Wow, what happened? It's still ok, but I'm really kind of bored by Saga right now. It feels like everyone in it has been just bumbling around waiting for something to happen for a year.

  • The Wicked and The Divine

    Oh my god this is boring. It's by Gillen and McKelvie, who also do Phonogram, so I expected to love this but it is just so... Teen Paranormal Romance. I give literally zero shits about any of the characters, or the mythology, or who killed who, or whether any of them survive. Cartoon Annie Lennox was ok, but got killed off pretty much right out of the gate.

  • Bitch Planet

    It sounded like a decent concept -- The Handmaid's Tale as 70s women-in-prison exploitation movie, in spaaaaace -- but again, file it under no shits given for any character or plot elements. I've read more compelling ranty twitter accounts and you probably have too.

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