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Online evolutionary loop generator
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revken



Joined: Mar 10, 2006
Posts: 22
Location: London UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:21 am    Post subject: Online evolutionary loop generator
Subject description: Grateful for your participation and comments
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Hi everyone,

Cool - I've finally found the place where people talk about algorithmic
music! I've been playing around with evolutionary sound and music
generation for a couple of years and I've been getting increasingly
good results. I recently put the project on the web for people to
experience it themselves (online only - I'm keeping the software under
wraps for now).

Here's the link: http://leanbackproductions.com/streams/slack/

I've used a Church of the Subgenius theme - don't be afraid of it if
you haven't heard of it before... Smile

Here's how you do it:

1. connect to the audio stream (which is a loop)

2. listen to the loop and rate it (by clicking on the web page)

3. wait until you hear the loop change

4. go to 2.

It starts out very random and mostly unlistenable but after a few
hours you have something quite musical. Now after several months it's
even better (check out the "history" of loops at
http://leanbackproductions.com/streams/slack/loops/).

With your participation you can take the music in any direction you
like - although I should say that we're talking hours rather than
minutes here.

On the site you can also download some tracks I've made offline
(usually a track takes about two weeks of [evenings/weekends only]).
http://leanbackproductions.com/downloads/audio
and a remix I posted at ccMixter
http://ccmixter.org/media/files/revken/3952

I look forward to your comments and discussion. What are the latest
developments in automatic measures of musicality? It would be great
to incorporate an automatic fitness component.

cheers,

Ken.

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v-un-v
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 1:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Online evolutionary loop generator
Subject description: Grateful for your participation and comments
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revken wrote:

It starts out very random and mostly unlistenable but after a few
hours you have something quite musical. Now after several months it's
even better


yeah right Rolling Eyes Laughing

listen to this for a few hours and you will hear anything you want- mostly the banging noises of of your head on the computer keyboard- but you say a few months? YEAH......RIGHT!

here read this post with one eye;

http://www.watching-grass-grow.com/

while watching this with the other;

http://www.topy.net/

On Acid.

then repost back here in a few months Very Happy
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revken



Joined: Mar 10, 2006
Posts: 22
Location: London UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

hmm thanks, but I was hoping for something a little more constructive...
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I tried the link, as it's an interesting idea you've got implemented.

But it doesn't really seem to work for me, sometimes I get no audio at all, at other times it stops in the middle of something. My clicking doesn't seem to have too much effect, and it's too much beat oriented for me to really try hard on it.

But still it's a very interesting idea.

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also .. could someone please turn down the thermostat a bit.
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xbeemer



Joined: Dec 04, 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is pretty much my take also. However I do like the idea of a process of genetic selection. Trouble is, selecting only one factor - generalized like or dislike - is too inefficient. I expect given a large enough database one could eventually get to that perfect sonnet, but then we all know how monkeys can do the same, given enough time, right? Maybe you should branch out and give some number of different parameters to choose from at a time? Also, I'd loose the loops and go for algorithmic composing methods. With loops there is always the granularity of other people's music, and you aren't creating you are simply making sophisticated (or not) jukebox selections.
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revken



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
But it doesn't really seem to work for me, sometimes I get no audio at all, at other times it stops in the middle of something. My clicking doesn't seem to have too much effect, and it's too much beat oriented for me to really try hard on it.


Thanks for having a go - after mining the server logs for a few months I've basically come to the same conclusion - there are too many technical hurdles (network delay, bandwidth, player buffers) for it to become an instant success.

Then there's the issue of it taking a while (see my next reply).

Then there's the fact that people are either

a) already listening to music and don't want to switch

b) don't like the way this particular stream is going
(note that except for the initial tempo, time signature, and sound selection, it can pretty much evolve into any style)

I'd like to make a Flash interface - do it all a bit differently (speeding things up by various means) and obviously have several different projects to choose from (instead of just one).

thanks again for your thoughts!

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revken



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

xbeemer wrote:
This is pretty much my take also. However I do like the idea of a process of genetic selection. Trouble is, selecting only one factor - generalized like or dislike - is too inefficient. I expect given a large enough database one could eventually get to that perfect sonnet, but then we all know how monkeys can do the same, given enough time, right? Maybe you should branch out and give some number of different parameters to choose from at a time? Also, I'd loose the loops and go for algorithmic composing methods. With loops there is always the granularity of other people's music, and you aren't creating you are simply making sophisticated (or not) jukebox selections.


As you say, there's a general debate about genetic vs random search that we don't really need to get into right now Smile

I think there may be ways to speed up the search by exploiting the fact that you would have multiple participants (parallel approach) - if the thing was popular, that is Wink

When you suggest that the rating could be for different parameters, do you mean parts of the music like: rhythm, melody, chord structure, etc?

I use loops because I want to be able to evaluate the fitness (my ears + brain + mouse/keyboard input) in a reasonably short time. Plus I'm happy to make dance music. I wonder what alternatives to this loop-centric approach exist? If each audition took minutes (rather than seconds) then you'd want to give much more detailed feedback as you suggest. You may want to allow fast-forwarding and give a visual summary of the music too.

really nice to chat about this, but now I have to go somewhere for a bit...

cheers.

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mi_dach



Joined: Dec 17, 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This thing is kinda cool, but please, get rid of this: "Sorry, you are clicking too quickly! Please wait until you hear the next loop before clicking."

I can audition a loop for fitness based on a note or two if I want... I certainly dont want to listen to crap until its over.

Any chance you'd post some more detailed info on how exactly you are creating these loops? Are you layering samples, and using GA's to slice and rearrange them? The Bob theme is distracting and Im wondering if this is a total con.
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revken



Joined: Mar 10, 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mi_dach wrote:
This thing is kinda cool, but please, get rid of this: "Sorry, you are clicking too quickly! Please wait until you hear the next loop before clicking."

I can audition a loop for fitness based on a note or two if I want... I certainly dont want to listen to crap until its over.


Right, yes, that's a good point - but the problem is that the server doesn't know exactly what the client/user is hearing (network lag and buffer issues). And when it's not sounding crap (that does happen!) then it's nice to have the seamless looping, right?

Quote:

Any chance you'd post some more detailed info on how exactly you are creating these loops? Are you layering samples, and using GA's to slice and rearrange them? The Bob theme is distracting and Im wondering if this is a total con.


The "Bob" theme was the result of an initial decision to tap into a group of people with a lot of time on their hands and a relatively open mind when it comes to soundscapes and repetitive music. Plus the samples are great in my opinion. I should have said that this was and still is a prototype - I still have a day job... I need to rework the whole thing (change the client/server model) and have a more neutral theme.

I promise with hand on heart that my evolutionary music system is not a con. The web thing may not really work so well, but check out my demo tunes (links in original post) to see what it can do. These tunes are made manually by sticking together evolved loops.

Or did you mean that the Church of the SubGenius is a con? I sent my $30 and I'm very satisfied with the results! Wink

tack så mycket för svaret!

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deknow



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

...i found it interesting, but less than engaging (ymmv).

you might get some inspriation and insight by trying the patch mutator with the g2 demo. perhaps i like it because i'm starting with something i like.

deknow
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

revken wrote:
hmm thanks, but I was hoping for something a little more constructive...


LOL!!! How are we supposed to make constructive comments if we have to "wait a few months" before it all makes sense???

Fair play- you seem to have all the time in the world (and money?) to listen to this algorithm- I'm too busy with getting on with my life Evil or Very Mad Laughing

PS nice to see the 'Bob' image on electro-music.com and of course welcome Very Happy
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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Greetings Ken!

The Audio-matic Stream of Slack was recently brought to my attention, and I've just had a go at it.

I was not bothered in the least by the impossibility of yielding results in rhythm with frantic mouse clicking. Also, the avoidance of demanding evaluation of lots and lots of parameters is probably in compliance with the scriptures of Slack. I'm a reverend of the church of K&R myself, and we do indeed understand and sympathize with the Church of the SubGenius (as well as the followers of the FSM).

On a less serious note Wink, scoring separate attributes such as rhythm, melody, and chord structure would make it more interesting.

DJ
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Will you be making a version that runs on slackware Wink ?

Anyway, I'd echo what DrJ says, and break things out for rythmn, melodity and chords, or something very similar but still very simple. If it wasn't kept simple, it would defeat the whole purpose and utility of an guided/automated generator Smile
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revken



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:

Fair play- you seem to have all the time in the world (and money?) to listen to this algorithm- I'm too busy with getting on with my life Evil or Very Mad Laughing


I'm just about managing to hold down my day job in between clicks Smile

Seriously though - half an hour of clicking every evening for a couple of weeks makes me a tune (the web version is about 2-4 times slower unfortunately - but it has the advantage that other people can carry on while you are sleeping or working).


Can anyone suggest some tweaks (i.e. using the same server/client model) which would make this go viral? Would I have to lose the SubGenius theme? Or aren't there enough deranged loopheads out there who are into this kind of thing? It would be nice to have at least 50 people a day doing it for 5-10 minutes each...

Also, there's a server issue causing some of the disconnects - which is a price I pay for using a shared host...

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revken



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

oops - I found a problem with which meant that it was a lot less responsive than it should have been - sorry about that - it's fixed now - you'll usually hear each loop no more than twice now! (depending on when you click of course).
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mi_dach



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

revken wrote:
Can anyone suggest some tweaks (i.e. using the same server/client model) which would make this go viral? Would I have to lose the SubGenius theme? Or aren't there enough deranged loopheads out there who are into this kind of thing?


The subgenius theme is less offputting than the fact that I cant tell whats happening. I prefer knowing what's going on over the actual result itself. Process is interesting.

Since it's kinda hard to figure out what you are doing, its hard to suggest any tweaks, but I'll just try from the top of my head. Perhaps you can split the loop so it have several layers or tracks; e.g. kick, hihats, snare, bass and vocals. Using some kind of beat slicer routines on individual layers, guided by evolution. Allow the user to lock a layer so it won't get changed. It would be very neat to search just for hihats patterns. Perhaps this is too explicit for what you want to do though!
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revken



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mi_dach wrote:

The subgenius theme is less offputting than the fact that I cant tell whats happening. I prefer knowing what's going on over the actual result itself. Process is interesting.

Since it's kinda hard to figure out what you are doing, its hard to suggest any tweaks, but I'll just try from the top of my head. Perhaps you can split the loop so it have several layers or tracks; e.g. kick, hihats, snare, bass and vocals. Using some kind of beat slicer routines on individual layers, guided by evolution. Allow the user to lock a layer so it won't get changed. It would be very neat to search just for hihats patterns. Perhaps this is too explicit for what you want to do though!


thanks mi_dach - the splitting (and voting) on different elements (kick, snare, hats etc) is exactly what a friend suggested. sadly, there's no easy way to do this (well it's not a "tweak" anyway). I wish I could keep the user more informed about which loop they are listening to, when the next one is coming, and so on, but that's not really possible using streaming and a separate player/browser approach Sad I really need a Flash wizard to come to the rescue (at least to get me started)

What's going on internally? Well I don't want to give away all the details, but basically what's evolving is a set of trigger points, loop_id (or synth_id), pan, pitch, "aftertouch", volume, effects. the effects part is very flexible indeed (basically a chain of any number of effects). Before you start the whole thing, of course you have to decide which samples and synths you're going to use, tempo and time signature. The synths are evolved too (that's why they are often a bit harsh). I could work more on that.

What's going to put a lot of people off is that you need to give it time. It's at least 20-30 minutes before you'll hear that the things you rated highly are coming back more often and the things you hated are dying out... With the recent bugfix it's a lot better than it was Smile

Nice to have your comments and discuss this.

cheers,

rev. ken.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

1. Maybe you could have a short-term effect and a long-term effect in the way it deals with ratings. The short term effect holds onto things which have been popular in the last 5 minutes. The long term effect means things whose overall popularity is high are more likely to be tried again. This way you would see results almost immediately, but it would still retain some consistency. Does that make sense?
2. I'd definately divide it into 2 parts, if possible. Maybe two different loops playing in the left and right channels. Then the ratings system could be simplified, and actually be more meaningful by asking which channel do you prefer?

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revken



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Uncle K,

I was originally thinking that your suggestion (about two different timescales) wasn't going to work in practice, but I just realised that there might be a way! It's a bit more than a tweak but not a total rewrite. It could be a few months before I get a chance to try it (I'll post here again when I do), but thanks very much indeed for your helpful comments.

I'm less keen about the split channels - part of the fun is creating the overall "production quality" (of which a lot is in the stereo image). I guess you've all seen evolutionary art websites where you look at 9 pictures and vote for the ones you like. Bit difficult to do this with audio Smile

thanks again

Ken.

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revken



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ooh, I just did some clicking and one of the loops had a groovy salsa thing going on!
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yeah, I kind of thought the split channels might not sit with the overall feel of the thing. Maybe getting two loops and being able to toggle between them and then say which is better.
I just found that there were a few times when I'd rate a loop with say 80% and then my next rating would be %80 too but there's no way of saying that they got the same rating for two completely different reasons. If there's a chance to say that I like loop A just a little bit more than loop B then it becomes relative, and the reason why is something which the program can "work out" over time.
Hope that makes sense.
BTW do you know anything about neural networks and programmed feedback, fractals etc? I reckon that kind of thing could be what you need to look into, if you haven't already.
Ultimately, I think you're doing an important thing. And no, I'm not being sarcastic. It's unusual, innovative and interactive, inherently electronic and web driven. You're the only person I know who is working on this kind of thing. It's just that at this stage it still feels a bit flawed. That's a great reason to carry on the experiment. The great thing about this forum is the chance to bounce ideas off others and learn from their opinions, experience etc.
Keep up the good work.

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revken



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Krunkus - You're right, the relative vs. absolute ratings issue is something I need to look into some more (it has been in the back of my mind). It would be possible to normalise each person's contributions after they have made, say, 10 ratings. Something to think about for sure. Trouble is, a lot of people don't do more than 5 ratings (if they're not into electronica and loops I don't blame them). Without it (per-person normalisation) it does all come out in the wash, but maybe that's not good enough.

And thanks for your supportive comments! Whenever I get time I'll try to make it better and then hopefully take it beyond the prototype stage (so people like can use it for any style/tempo you like).

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revken



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

re: neural networks, chaos, fractals etc, I know quite a bit about NNs and a bit less about the others. NNs could be used for making automatic judgements of the music quality, and fractals could help make melodies more organic - I'll have to look into that too...
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revken



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi all,

I just completed a major rewrite of the user interface - no more separate audio stream with its dodgy gaps and delay - now you have a much more responsive experience - all on one page (flash loop player).

Here's the new url (but old one redirects to this)

http://leanbackproductions.com/remix/subgenius/

also if you don't feel like clicking:

http://leanbackproductions.com/remix/radio/

I'm going to add a new "channel" as soon as I get time, something much more mainstream and musical.

have fun - comments welcome here!

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revken



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi again.

Just to let you know that the Stream of Slack is no more, and has been replaced by the infinitely better "Evolutionary Remix Machine".

Now you can remix a real track (Musetta's "Ophelia's Song") under the creative commons licence at two different tempos/time sigs, and there's a subgenius channel for old time's sake!

No more fiddling with audio players - this is all in your browser using a flash loop player.

comments welcome as before.

many thanks,

rev. ken

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