Experimental duo Emptyset to get all ambitious and flowery on forthcoming AI album (despite the relatively dispassionate band name)

Experimental duo Emptyset to get all ambitious and flowery on forthcoming AI album (despite the relatively dispassionate band name)
Photo: James Ginzburg

I know what you’re thinking: “Goddamn, how much more ‘experimental’ can James Ginzburg and Paul Purgas of the U.K./Berlin visceral electro superduo Emptyset even GET, Dan?”

Well, first of all: thanks so much for swearing. I really think people should swear more. Seriously. I think it’s great.

Second of all, I got four words for you: fuckin’ MACHINE LEARNING, pal!

That’s right, Ginzburg and Purgas’ new album — entitled Blossoms — is focused entirely on “ideas of evolution and adaptation, bringing together Emptyset’s body of exploratory sound production with emerging methods of machine learning through neural networks and raw audio synthesis.”

I know what you’re thinking: “Holy ever-loving shit, Dan, what does any of that shit mean?!”

Welp, let me answer that with an even denser cluster of words that I didn’t write:

The machine learning system for Blossoms was developed through extensive audio training, a process of seeding a software model with a sonic knowledge base of material to learn and predict from. This was supplied from a collection of their existing material as well as 10 hours of improvised recordings using wood, metal and drum skins. This collection of electronic and acoustic sounds formed unexpected outcomes as the system sought out coherence from within this vastly diverse source material, attempting to form a logic from within the contradictions of the sonic data set. The system demonstrates obscure mechanisms of relational reasoning and pattern recognition, finding correlations and connections between seemingly unrelated sounds and manifesting an emergent non-human musicality.

Got it now?

Great. In that case, pre-order Blossoms from Thrill Jockey here in advance of its October 11 release date, and then thrill to the machine-victorious trills of the album’s opening track “Petal” down below. (It’ll give you a pretty good idea of where the duo is headed here; since — let’s be honest — you still aren’t exactly sure what the fuck I’ve been talking about.)


Blossoms’s complete plant morphology:

01. Petal
02. Blossom
03. Bloom
04. Pollen
05. Blade
06. Axil
07. Filament
08. Bulb
09. Stem
10. Clone

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