Happy Valley Band

The Happy Valley Band is the Great American Songbook heard through the ear of a machine. Composer / bandleader David Kant uses custom-built machine learning software to “unmix” pop songs and transcribe them back into musical notation. The Happy Valley Band plays what comes out. ORGANVM PERCEPTVS, the group’s release, is about bringing to life this inhuman music.

The Happy Valley Band has been called “a shitty MP3 to MIDI converter,” “the Shaggs meets Guitar Hero,” “James Brown backed by Sun Ra,” “the best executed worst idea,” and “substantive acousmatic research.” The album, over five years in the making, is a collection of eleven songs spanning pop music history. Imagine James Brown backed by a simmering Sun Ra Arkestra, Madonna with a jittery freak-out synth rhythm section, and Herb Alpert with a Tijuana Brass that must have been led by Charles Ives.

As Kant says, “it’s not exactly about getting machines to hear like (we presume) humans do. Machines hear in as many different ways as we design and build them. We should use machines to hear differently, not to reinforce our expectations—because whose expectations are they anyway?” In an era where we have offloaded much of our mental and biological processes to semi-intelligent machines, ORGANVM PERCEPTVS asks us to examine the biases and expectations implicit in their design.

Print booklet contains liner notes by Kurt Gottschalk and an essay “Decomposing Music” by composer / bandleader David Kant detailing the machine hearing process used to make the music.

go to https://www.indexical.org/projects/happy_valley_band


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