By Dikembe Wilkins
Netflix recently released the highly anticipated music, sci-fi anime “Carole & Tuesday,” directed by Shinichiro Watanabe (“Cowboy Bebop” and “Samurai Champloo” and “Michiko & Hatchin.”). The anime takes place in a future where humans live on Mars and are flourishing. The technological advancements reflect a time when artificial intelligence (AI or robots) help with work and everyday tasks. In fact, this futuristic “Carole and Tuesday” shows us just how much technology has altered the way the current music industry works.
99 percent of music being released in "Carole and Tuesday" is created by AI. In other words, the people believe that the music industry is similar to boxing in “Megalo Box” where humans fight with assisted technology when it’s more like “Real Steel” in which robots fight robots.
It’s a world where the best producer in music isn’t the one who plays the most instruments, or who has dedicated their lives to composing or who has the most industry experience. Instead, the best producer is the person who creates the best software.
In “Carole and Tuesday,” former neuroscientist and turned music producer Tao has relied on the work of only one human artist. When he’s asked by human artist Angela, whether he could use AI to make any song, he replies, “Well of course. Anything from Daft Punk to Michael Jackson — all of it can be simulated.”
While that technology -- Algorithmic/Automatic Music— at the level portayed exists only in the show, similar technology with less capability has been around for decades IRL. According to the site Musical Algorithms, algorithmic music is defined as the creation of music by methodical procedures. Automatic music uses a music creation algorithm to create a song with minimal human interaction. Musicians would be able to make music by simply selecting the instruments and adjusting settings such as mixing and tempo and in moments the algorithm will create a song.
While the technique is a staple in “Carole and Tuesday,” IRL not every tech-savvy musician has worked with the technology. Kyle “K-Murdock” Murdock, a former Rawkus Records DJ and producer, said he’s looking forward to trying the technology.
“As a person that likes technology, just to see the advancement of technology to the point that you can have computers replicate stuff that used to just need a human being to do, that’s fun and entertaining and I’m sure it costs less. On the back end, you don’t have to deal with humans and human error and all that stuff. But at the same time as a human, as someone who has done music and performed it live, there’s still a certain nuance that you miss. Because you can’t program certain mess ups and just things that are super spontaneous, at least I don’t think you can, but I guess technology is going to prove me wrong.”
Audio artist Chaz Gary, from Richmond, Va., was excited about the technology as well. “I think the idea is actually dope. Me, myself, personally I’m more on the organic side of making music. But I feel that art is … is universal. It has no rules or ‘cut cards’ on anything like that. It’s more like one of these things that, he does what he does, and this artist does what she or he does.”
Isaiah Sims, an audio artist, has a similar take. “Today it’s already happening. If you go on your phone, you can pick out loop samples, certain chords and things without even playing them. You know the computer will kind of already generate them so I feel like it’s useful. I don’t know it makes things more accessible for everyone. It lets people get inside of the creative process. The creative process has more benefits than just from the stance of making music. It’s also beneficial to your health and to your psyche.”
As a fictional story, “Carole & Tuesday” gives viewers an opportunity to examine an industry that has influenced so many lives. As for what music will become, we may have to tap the next … Robot.