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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2019 » June » 07


Get on one, comrade! The story of Russia’s post-Soviet rave scene

Delivered... Seth Jacobson | Scene | Fri 7 Jun 2019 4:36 pm

For a brief period in the early 90s, anything seemed possible for the pioneers of a new youth culture. But as a new film reveals, things didn’t turn out quite as hoped

In 1991, the Soviet Union finally crumbled under the weight of its own contradictions. As the walls came tumbling down, it looked as though a space was finally opening up for young people to express themselves after the crushing conformity of the communist years.

“For us it was awesome when the Soviet Union fell, because we could fool around,” says artist Illya Chichkan. “And that’s exactly what we did. We experimented with psychedelics and psychotropics. We tried everything.”

Related: Pop, glamour and gangsters: Boris Yeltsin's new rave Russia

Continue reading...

Maybe Serial Moves of FM Translators to Relocate Them From Rural to Urban Areas are Not So Bad….

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Fri 7 Jun 2019 1:05 pm

You may remember a few years ago, the FCC cracked down on “serial modifications” of FM translators to move them from rural to more urban areas (see, for instance, the cases about which we wrote here and here), considering such moves an abuse of process.  In a decision released earlier this week, it looks like the FCC’s Audio Division may be backing away from that policy.  In that decision, the FCC approved an application for a move of a translator into Chicago as the 4th hop from the translator’s original site in rural Illinois.

In the old decisions, the FCC had looked at instances where operators tried to move translators to big markets through multiple minor change applications – accomplishing through these “hops” what they normally could not do except during a major change window for translator applications – something that has not happened for since 2003.  These old decisions deemed it an abuse of process to accomplish through multiple steps what an applicant could not do through a single application, especially when the applicant evidenced no intent to serve the public at any of these interim locations.  In these cases, the applicant had often constructed on a temporary basis at a hop location, only to take the translator off the air after just a few days of operation (often dismantling the tower too).  The decision this week looked at a slightly different situation and found that the multiple hops into Chicago were permissible – and set out criteria for determining whether such hops were permissible or not.

The criteria that will be reviewed in determining whether or not a series of hops will be considered an abuse of process include the following, none of which is by itself determinative:

  1. Whether temporary construction was involved – if a site was constructed with a temporary tower and dismantled soon after construction, it would be more likely to be seen as an abuse, while a permanent installation on an existing tower would tend to indicate a legitimate operation.
  2. The duration of operations – if the translator operates for only a few days at a site, it would be more likely to be seen as an abuse – sustained long-term use would tend to indicate the opposite.
  3. Reason for the move – if the translator is moved because of damage to the tower on which it is operating or to resolve interference, a move that might otherwise seem to be troublesome could be approved.
  4. A review of the pattern of changes – if the changes are clearly an attempt to move from a rural area to a more urban one, that would indicate that it was an abuse – but that would not necessarily be determinative.

In this case, the FCC found that, as the licensee had operated at two of the interim sites for more than a year, and constructed all three interim sites on existing towers from which the translator operated on a constant basis (rather than for just a few days or for just a few hours per day), the serial moves were not an abuse of the FCC’s processes and granted the move into Chicago.  This decision presents opportunities for translator operators going forward.  If you have a translator and want to move it to a nearby bigger city, carefully review this decision to see what might be possible.

A spectrum of electronic sounds – Annapurna Express

Delivered... | Scene | Fri 7 Jun 2019 11:22 am
A spectrum of electronic sounds  Annapurna Express

Annapurna Express is one of the most comprehensive and up-to-date news portal of nepal in english language.

Resisting Nationalist Narratives

Delivered... Valentina Monsurrò | Scene | Fri 7 Jun 2019 8:00 am

Music plays an important role in diaspora communities. It unifies its members, it creates moments of remembrance and, as Valentina Monsurrò argues in this commentary, it also acts as a tool for political control. The ethnomusicologist describes the case of the Bologna Festival in Italy, the most important event in the Eritrean diaspora, as located somewhere between nationalist propaganda and ethnic identity.

What happens when you google “Eritrea” for CC photos? It only shows flags, landscapes and refugee camps like this one: “Eritrea Refugee Camp Somalis Huts Landscape Tents” (Photo: Maxpixel, 2019)

Eritrea is inhabited by nine recognized ethnic groups, each group having its own language, religion, and musical traditions. Since the gaining of independence from Ethiopia, the government has been promoting a public image of Eritrean society as unified across regional and national borders. Nevertheless, the history of the Bologna Festival in Italy sheds light on unbalanced power relations between Eritrean ethnic groups and shows how music reflects and mediates them. The festival was started in the 1970s in order to raise funds for the liberation struggle and since then it has become the most important event in the diaspora. The following video features Berhe Gile Meshesh performing at the festival in 1990.

When the Eritrean government turned into a dictatorship, the festival’s role shifted from providing moral and financial support to the war-torn country to acting as a propaganda tool for the regime, with musicians acting as cultural ambassadors of Eritrea and conveying patriotic messages to the audience.

Resisting Dominant Nationalist Narratives

The lack of participation from minority groups at government organized events reflects their marginalisation within Eritrean society. Ali Abdullah Ahmad is a Saho musician based in London. Saho is the third largest ethnic group in Eritrea and represents about the 4% of its total population. Ahmad left Eritrea at a young age, moved to Sudan and then to the UK. He refers to the ideology of «self-reliance» (i.e. the government’s reluctance to accept foreign aid) to explain how home politics affect music-making in the diaspora:

Don’t listen to foreign music, don’t eat foreign food, don’t dress foreign dress (…) There is a dominant culture in Eritrea now which is Tigrinya (…) If you go to any music shop, if you look for Eritrean music, you will find a hundred CDs of Tigrinya music, but you will hardly find Saho music in the shelf.

Even though Ali’s songs have no overt political commentary, his decision to sing in Saho, rather than other languages that are more widely spoken among Eritreans, may be seen as an act of resistance to dominant nationalist narratives. His melodies combine tradition and modernity, while his lyrics create awareness about the importance of preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of the Saho community. The following song, for example, appeals to Saho parents to teach children their language, in order to preserve it for generations to come.

Growing Criticism and Resentment in the Diaspora

Either by fostering nationalist views or working as a marker of cultural identity in contrast with the dominant ideology, music making in the diaspora is highly affected by Eritrean politics. However, in July 2014 a demonstration organized by dissident groups in Bologna led the municipality to retire its support to the Eritrean diaspora festival, which during the last decades had become increasingly controversial. This event suggests that criticism and resentment are growing in the diaspora. It furthermore raises questions about how music can, in turn, have an impact on politics back home by contributing to fight censorship and re-earn dissident Eritreans’ freedom to express their views.

External Link:
Music and Identity: The Eritrean Diaspora in London» by Valentina Monsurrò in Ethnorêma 13 (2007)

In Adversarial Feelings, Lorem explores AI’s emotional undercurrents

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Events,Scene | Fri 7 Jun 2019 12:05 am

In glitching collisions of faces, percussive bolts of lightning, Lorem has ripped open machine learning’s generative powers in a new audiovisual work. Here’s the artist on what he’s doing, as he’s about to join a new inquisitive club series in Berlin.

Machine learning that derives gestures from System Exclusive MIDI data … surprising spectacles of unnatural adversarial neural nets … Lorem’s latest AV work has it all.

And by pairing producer Francesco D’Abbraccio with a team of creators across media, it brings together a serious think tank of artist-engineers pushing machine learning and neural nets to new places. The project, as he describes it:

Lorem is a music-driven mutidisciplinary project working with neural networks and AI systems to produce sounds, visuals and texts. In the last three years I had the opportunity to collaborate with AI artists (Mario Klingemann, Yuma Kishi), AI researchers (Damien Henry, Nicola Cattabiani), Videoartists (Karol Sudolski, Mirek Hardiker) and music intruments designers (Luca Pagan, Paolo Ferrari) to produce original materials.

Adversarial Feelings is the first release by Lorem, and it’s a 22 min AV piece + 9 music tracks and a book. The record will be released on APR 19th on Krisis via Cargo Music.

And what about achieving intimacy with nets? He explains:

Neural Networks are nowadays widely used to detect, classify and reconstruct emotions, mainly in order to map users behaviours and to affect them in effective ways. But what happens when we use Machine Learning to perform human feelings? And what if we use it to produce autonomous behaviours, rather then to affect consumers? Adversarial Feelings is an attempt to inform non-human intelligence with “emotional data sets”, in order to build an “algorithmic intimacy” through those intelligent devices. The goal is to observe subjective/affective dimension of intimacy from the outside, to speak about human emotions as perceived by non-human eyes. Transposing them into a new shape helps Lorem to embrace a new perspective, and to recognise fractured experiences.

I spoke with Francesco as he made the plane trip toward Berlin. Friday night, he joins a new series called KEYS, which injects new inquiry into the club space – AV performance, talks, all mixed up with nightlife. It’s the sort of thing you get in festivals, but in festivals all those ideas have been packaged and finished. KEYS, at a new post-industrial space called Trauma Bar near Hauptbahnhof, is a laboratory. And, of course, I like laboratories. So I was pleased to hear what mad science was generating all of this – the team of humans and machines alike.

So I understand the ‘AI’ theme – am I correct in understanding that the focus to derive this emotional meaning was on text? Did it figure into the work in any other ways, too?

Neural Networks and AI were involved in almost every step of the project. On the musical side, they were used mainly to generate MIDI patterns, to deal with SysEx from a digital sampler and to manage recursive re-sampling and intelligent timestretch. Rather then generating the final audio, the goal here was to simulate musician’s behaviors and his creative processes.

On the video side, [neural networks] (especially GANs [generative adverserial networks]) were employed both to generate images and to explore the latent spaces through custom tailored algorithms, in order to let the system edit the video autonomously, according with the audio source.

What data were you training on for the musical patterns?

MIDI – basically I trained the NN on patterns I create.

And wait, SysEx, what? What were you doing with that?

Basically I record every change of state of a sampler (i.e. the automations on a knob), and I ask the machine to “play” the same patch of the sampler according to what it learned from my behavior.

What led you to getting involved in this area? And was there some education involved just given the technical complexity of machine learning, for instance?

I always tried to express my work through multidisciplinary projects. I am very fascinated by the way AI approaches data, allowing us to work across different media with the same perspective. Intelligent devices are really a great tool to melt languages. On the other hand, AI emergency discloses political questions we try to face since some years at Krisis Publishing.
I started working through the Lorem project three years ago, and I was really a newbie on the technical side. I am not a hyper-skilled programmer, and building a collaborative platform has been really important to Lorem’s development. I had the chance to collaborate with AI artists (Klingemann, Kishi), researchers (Henry, Cattabiani, Ferrari), digital artists (Sudolski, Hardiker)…

How did the collaborations work – Mario I’ve known for a while; how did you work with such a diverse team; who did what? What kind of feedback did you get from them?

To be honest, I was very surprised about how open and responsive is the AI community! Some of the people involved are really huge points of reference for me (like Mario, for instance), and I didn’t expect to really get them on Adversarial Feelings. Some of the people involved prepared original contents for the release (Mario, for instance, realised a video on “The Sky would Clear What the …”, Yuma Kishi realized the girl/flower on “Sonnet#002” and Damien Henry did the train hallucination on “Shonx – Canton” remix. With other people involved, the collaboration was more based on producing something together, such a video, a piece of code or a way to explore Latent Spaces.

What was the role of instrument builders – what are we hearing in the sound, then?

Some of the artists and researchers involved realized some videos from the audio tracks (Mario Klingemann, Yuma Kishi). Damien Henry gave me the right to use a video he made with his Next Frame Prediction model. Karol Sudolski and Nicola Cattabiani worked with me in developing respectively “Are Eyes invisible Socket Contenders” + “Natural Readers” and “3402 Selves”. Karol Sudolski also realized the video part on “Trying to Speak”. Nicola Cattabiani developed the ELERP algorithm with me (to let the network edit videos according with the music) and GRUMIDI (the network working with my midi files). Mirek Hardiker built the data set for the third chapter of the book.

I wonder what it means for you to make this an immersive performance. What’s the experience you want for that audience; how does that fit into your theme?

I would say Adversarial Feelings is a AV show totally based on emotions. I always try to prepare the most intense, emotional and direct experience I can.

You talk about the emotional content here and its role in the machine learning. How are you relating emotionally to that content; what’s your feeling as you’re performing this? And did the algorithmic material produce a different emotional investment or connection for you?

It’s a bit like when I was a kid and I was listening at my recorded voice… it was always strange: I wasn’t fully able to recognize my voice as it sounded from the outside. I think neural networks can be an interesting tool to observe our own subjectivity from external, non-human eyes.

The AI hook is of course really visible at the moment. How do you relate to other artists who have done high-profile material in this area recently (Herndon/Dryhurst, Actress, etc.)? And do you feel there’s a growing scene here – is this a medium that has a chance to flourish, or will the electronic arts world just move on to the next buzzword in a year before people get the chance to flesh out more ideas?

I messaged a couple of times Holly Herndon online… I’m really into her work since her early releases, and when I heard she was working on AI systems I was trying to finish Adversarial Feelings videos… so I was so curious to discover her way to deal with intelligent systems! She’s a really talented artist, and I love the way she’s able to embed conceptual/political frameworks inside her music. Proto is a really complex, inspiring device.

More in general, I think the advent of a new technology always discloses new possibilities in artistic practices. I directly experienced the impact of internet (and of digital culture) on art, design and music when I was a kid. I’m thrilled by the fact at this point new configurations are not yet codified in established languages, and I feel working on AI today give me the possibility to be part of a public debate about how to set new standards for the discipline.

What can we expect to see / hear today in Berlin? Is it meaningful to get to do this in this context in KEYS / Trauma Bar?

I am curious too, to be honest. I am very excited to take part of such situation, beside artists and researchers I really respect and enjoy. I think the guys at KEYS are trying to do something beautiful and challenging.

Live in Berlin, 7 June

Lorem will join Lexachast (an ongoing collaborative work by Amnesia Scanner, Bill Kouligas and Harm van den Dorpel), N1L (an A/V artist, producer/dj based between Riga, Berlin, and Cairo), and a series of other tantalizing performances and lectures at Trauma Bar.

KEYS: Artificial Intelligence | Lexachast • Lorem • N1L & more [Facebook event]

Lorem project lives here:

http://www.studio-frames.com

The post In Adversarial Feelings, Lorem explores AI’s emotional undercurrents appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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