So what started yesterday as a silly photoshop joke turned, today, into a silly computational music generation sort-of-joke.
The Seattleward Spiral is a from-scratch, mostly-automatic reinterpretation of Trent et al’s 1994 The Downward Spiral, using nothing but sliced up audio from the NBC sitcom Frasier. The result is something arguably far more “industrial” in some sense (and far, far less listenable in that same sense) than the original album.
The reconstitution was done using “afromb.py”, a python script that takes two files, the target track a that you’re trying to recreate, and the source track b that provides the audio content used for that recreation, and slices both up into very small pieces, assembling the bits of track b one at a time according to whichever piece best matches the current bit of track a.
The script is provided with Echo Nest Remix, itself a fascinating and extensible music manipulation library and API I’ve been playing with lately and will have more to post about soon. Fun, fun stuff. If you’re not afraid of a little light monkeying around with your command line it’s worth checking out.
In any case: The Seattleward Spiral was created by running afromb against each track from Downward Spiral three times, using three different bits of Frasier audio — the theme song, and the first five minutes or so form two random episodes I found on Youtube (“Two Mrs. Cranes” and “Niles Starts a Fire” or something like that). I dumped the three tracks for each into Garageband to create a very basic mix with just some static panning to create a bit more stereo action, chucked those out to mp3, and that was that. It’s a tremendously quick, dirty mix, with functionally no human intervention in the choice and arrangement of the sounds on the record.
You can grab the whole thing via this zip file, or listen to individual tracks below. I think that Closer To Roz, in particular, works well.
See also the Closer To Roz (Niles Mix) video created this evening using the related vafromb.py script! Note that the audio content of the remix is different here than what’s in the track above, as the input video is different; I also went ahead and kept a touch of the original track in there to make the video a little more coherent to listen to.