VICTOR TANGERMANN

Trippier Hop

The 1998 trip-hop album Mezzanine by Massive Attack was a huge hit when it dropped — and as Engadgetreports, now it’s getting an AI makeover.

As part of an exhibit called “AI: More than Human” at London’s Barbican art center, visitors can listen to a new version of the album that was completely remixed by a machine learning algorithm. The original members of Massive Attack teamed up with Mick Grierson, a professor at the University of Arts London to execute the idea.

Alien Language

For almost a year, according to Engadget’s report, Grierson loaded individual tracks into the algorithm in the morning and checked what it had produced in the evening. The resulting eerie mix of familiar yet jumbled up textures even includes a vocal track inspired by Massive Attack’s Robert “3D” Del Naja who lent his voice to tracks on Mezzanine.

It sounds like 3D talking in an alien language,” Grierson told Engadget.

Bass Head

To make the exhibit interactive, Grierson included a small camera that analyzes how many people are in the near vicinity of the speakers. The more people there are, the mix will pump up the drums and bass.

Apart from the unique listening experience, the exhibit also includes a glass display case for a black spray can that holds the entire album in a DNA-encoded format. The exhibit will be on at the Barbican through August 2019.

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