twelve x twelve collaborates with multimodal audio visual artist Portrait XO for the launch of her debut AI album WIRE

I feel extremely privileged to have collaborated with data scientists and mindblowing artists who continue to inspire and support me.

At the start of creating this album, I had no idea what to expect. I felt I needed a drastic change that would remove me from having any kind of expectation.

While I question whether AI will ever be sentient, I do think AI offers us an opportunity to become even more intimate with our work when we use our own works as datasets for training.

CJ first introduced me to the idea of training a dataset of audio in 2015. It took awhile for us to finally work together and we manifested our first experiment during our Factory Berlin x Sonar+D artist residency in 2019. I was especially inspired after his collaboration with Reeps One who used his beatboxing recordings as a dataset and used the AI-generated output to challenge himself. After providing CJ 1 hour recording of my vocals from unreleased music, he trained it with his custom SampleRNN model for 2 1⁄2 days and sent me 10 hours of AI-generated audio.

Fun fact: I wrote over 200 songs between 2018–2019 and I liked maybe 5–10% of it.

The 1 hour recording of my vocals I provided as the dataset for training involved me picking the songs I was happy with based on vocal texture, dynamics, and range.

Expressing myself with music is so complex, I didn’t feel completely satisfied for years with what I was creating. I was desperate to evolve and break free from form.

Trying to translate complex emotions into sounds is such a strange journey, but necessary for me to do as an act of catharsis. I’ve accepted that I need to create music as a form of some kind of therapy while accepting that although music provides relief and joy for most of us music lovers, it’s a strange reality that the creation of music can sometimes feel so challenging.

WIRE — album cover

Being human is so weird.

Listening to a machine try to sing like a human and that human being me is even weirder — in the best possible way. This album is my stamp in time reflecting on different states of reality.

While I constantly question what it means to be human in a data-driven society, I’m constantly trying to strike a balance of how much time I spend with different types of technology.

As the lines continue to blur, I’ve surrendered to my constant state of confusion and have leaned into it by playing with confusion through acts of curiosity. Playing with AI models has opened up so many rabbit holes leading to more questions than answers. I become excited about the unknown in unexpected ways. Especially during lockdown, the unpredictable nature of AI was (and continues to be) the one kind of unpredictability that allowed me to have fun while it felt like everything else was falling apart.

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