Boomkat Product Review:
patten attempts to beat the algorithm into submission on his thought provoking new album, the first to be constructed entirely from text-to-audio AI-generated sound sources. It sounds like hearing a musical fever dream filtered through YouTube as your internet connection splutters to a halt.
On 'Mirage FM', patten rides the zeitgeist like its a tamed stallion, fashioning a musique concrète beat tape out of AI-rendered fragments that wheeze with algorithmic charm. It doesn't always work, but it doesn't have to - patten has created a proof of concept before it's been done to death, addressing the creative concerns of our time and using his well-trained ear to hint at the potential of a compositional methodology that's likely to help usher in a new era.
If you've used AI-powered software like DALL-E to generate quirky images, patten's process is relatively similar - he fed text parameters into audio generation software and then edited the results into coherent miniatures that play fast and loose with genre. It's hard to know where patten's input begins and ends and where the software simply plays with itself; patten is prompting us to ask questions and consider the relationship between technology, history and music itself. If we can generate music so easily, what's left for the artist to do, exactly?
Thankfully, he doesn't restrict himself to a specific genre, instead letting the algorithm track thru radio pop, soft rock, disco, funk, garage, hip-hop and house. All the music is rendered with a downsampled aesthetic that would sound grotesque if it wasn't the point. patten's short-form soundbites are scrappy - even the surface level sound reminds us that these riffs, language-less croons and blown out drums are completely synthetic.
patten uses technology to hold a mirror up to pop culture, showing us the ambivalent potential of AI and the summing effects of the algorithm. Nodding towards the way in which Spotify and Netflix have reduced culture to a pitiful simmer of dread mediocrity, these AI compositions present as chillingly throwaway on the surface yet also strangely personal. The project is certainly fascinating and undoubtedly important work. Are we ready for either of the dual futures patten projects?