Mick Sussman, the creator of the Rosenberg Algorithmic Music Generator, is debuting a new project, “The Kressel Studies.” While Rosenberg is a monumental 100,000-line software program, these pieces are each generated from concise snippets of code. The Kressel Studies are noisier and more diverse in texture than Rosenberg, while sharing its focus on rhythmically intricate patterns. Like Rosenberg, the Kressel Studies are formalistic and experimental, but also quirky and unruly, highlighting the tensions in teaching a machine to make music for humans.
True to the name “studies,” these algorithms often explore a particular synthesis or melody-generation technique. The resulting pieces are varied: the metallic swells of Kr. 37.1.13, the mutating micro-groove of Kr. 32.4.3, the chilly drone of Kr. 38.1.15, the balmy bell-like melody of Kr. 27.6.18. (The titles of the pieces are meant to evoke software numbering convention. For instance, Kr. 37.1.13 is an iteration of the code from Kr. 37.1.8, while Kr. 38.1.15 is based on a new software kernel.) Most of the algorithms have randomized elements, so the recordings here represent just one potential execution of the code. The pieces are of modest scale, patterns set in motion for a couple of minutes. Collectively, they form a procession of highly condensed vignettes.
Available commercially for the first time since its initial 1991 release, Spiegel’s fantastic “intelligent instrument” album testifies to the power of an artist who pushed the boundaries of electronic music to unexplored territory. Bandcamp Album of the Day Jan 11, 2019