Musicians with artificial intelligence and “robots” in unison? At Midem in Cannes we attended an innovative show

The appearance of effect pedals for guitars, the appearance of synthesizers and rhythm machines, then computer music. With every new technological advancement, there was a fear of seeing the Human being eaten alive, or of falling into a completely corrupted art. And these elements eventually integrated the instrumentation of all artists (even though some fundamentalists are still convinced that electronic music is not “real music”).

People at the helm

However, the artificial intelligence (AI), whose power the public is beginning to measure with chatbot ChatGPT, seems to be of even greater concern. This time, will it be the last hour of the creators in the flesh? This is not the opinion of Jean-Francois Trubert. A professor of musicology at the university, also in charge of the mission of the creative and cultural industries at the University of the Côte d’Azur, he held a conference with two of his doctoral students at the La Croisette, an “attachment” to Midem+ (International Recording Market and Music Publishing House) organized at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes. “We’re just talking about the computational algorithms that people put into the machine. It’s both, one with the other.”

Jean-Francois Trubert takes problems to another level. “The real question is how we will handle these tools. And, above all, how we will protect the status of living artists. as scientists, is to offer alternatives that protect this status and allow creativity to develop.”

A few hours later, on stage at the Hi5 Studio at the Palais des Festivals, electronics artist Oceanvs Orientalis unveiled a kit built using artificial intelligence tools developed by Sony CSL. Representing this company, Michael Turbo also tried to alleviate concerns caused by AI. “When I started working on these topics, almost twenty years ago, everyone thought we were dangerous people. Now everyone is curious about our work. We develop tools for artists, together with artists. AI is just another tool, like samplers or synths.”

“Like an Extra Musician”

Before the start of the concert, Turkish Oceanvs Orientalis gave some explanations about his creative process. “Relying on AI is like having an extra musician with you. Today what you are going to hear is not 100% done by AI, it has some parts “together” built into it.

To complete this device, the artist wore a headband equipped with sensors that analyzed his heartbeat, temperature, and other parameters to create video projections on the canvas cube surrounding his machines. With all these techniques, we felt that he was able to put on a successful concert, not devoid of emotion. Even if the configuration of the hall and the professional side of the show did not allow much movement of the hips.

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