The molecule creates living music by thought

What if we make songs just thinking? We dreamed it. Electro performer molecule did it. 3rd type meeting with Molecule, who talks about his work with future instrument JIL.

Make live music with the grace of your thoughts, It’s a crazy bet, taken on May 18 in Paris by the 104-year-old musician Anu. That evening, on stage, the artist split into two instruments. Another classic is a mini studio, made with the artist’s mixing desk. The other is tall, thin, and the black is literally untouchable; Molecule content to fix it. The device comes in the form of a black monolith – reminiscent of one of Kubrick’s films, 2001, a space Odyssey. Its name is JIL, 2.50 meters long, there is probably a super power computer under the hood. It is not more or less according to its creators, a The tool of the future.

Love machine (and music)

This is not the first time that electronic music producer Anu has entered the wonderful world of new technology. With director Jan Kunen, he already signed in 2019 An immersive experience in VR and binocular sound Where he let the Arctic see and hear. This time, the artist designs and plays an instrument that can only be controlled by thought, JIL. “It’s a device that has a very strong, innate character I control partially thanks to the sensor (put in a headband, Editor’s comment) Screwed to the back of my skull, at the level of the visual cortex. A

Molecule in front of his “Mini” studio (Photo credit: Roman Mugnier for L’ADN)

Before handling it by thought, the molecule stands in front of the instrument at the beginning of the performance. The “calibration process”, JIL repeats loudly and clearly in a metallic voice, alternately feminine and masculine. After this first exchange, the molecule looks at the screen of JIL, on which different shapes are drawn. The man seems attentive. ” It is a device that constantly sends its own signal, which corrects the sounds emitted in real time.. It amazes me and overwhelms me. I almost bow to him. A

This exchange without sound actually escapes from the machine, changing the sound. Molecule goes back to his mixing desk and plays with it. “It’s fun for me to offer an experience that’s both innovative and hilarious where the device amazes me, living almost autonomously, but fits into my more traditional set up. In order to communicate with JIL, the artist announced that he would have to enter “a state near meditation”. A creative and “transcendental front and back (…), almost in a physical relationship”, which will be throughout the performance.

JIL before the concert fever (Photo credit: Roman Mughniar for L’ADN)

From home to the spotlight

At the origin of the project, a technology based on neuroscience and machine learning, which Startup Nextmind (acquired last March by Snap)) The French company was founded by Sid Cowder, a neuroscientist who was head of the ENS research laboratory on the brain and consciousness. “NextMind has created a small headset that goes to the level of the visual cortex. Did you know that you feel it in the back of your head?” The headband picks up the brain signals produced by the visual cortex and translates them into commands.. Yes, yes, you understand, we are not far from telekinesis.

Benjamin Levy, who was involved with the molecule in all the work of “translating” signals on musical instruments (Photo credit: Roman Mughniar for DNA)

“Basically it picks up what is called an electroencephalogram. [Le dispositif saisit] Where the focus is, whether the subject is focused, what is the general condition of the person. But the machine also constantly captures the generated signals. The whole is a musical element, the form absorbed by the artist on stage. But to achieve this, the artist and musical programmer had to open the hood of Nextmind’s sensors, which was not really intended for a stage career …

The music of the turf

“It simply came to our notice then.Pernode Record’s electronic music, specialized sponsorship program for experimentation around editor’s notes) Who introduced me to this technology. Instead, he had a home automation application, to open the shutters, to change the channels on his TV, “recalls Molikul. The rest, we know. “After reflection, I imagined that we could design an instrument that could see, think and play. The instrument of the future. In the future, Molecule would like to pick it up for other artists. We already knew the contemporary art produced by neuronal activity. What about embracing a new wave of neurogenic music? Maybe.

For now, the artist and his fun instrument are on their way to an electronic music festival throughout the summer. They will be at the Nuits Sonores in Lyon on May 28 and 29, at the Weekend des Curiosity in Toulouse on June 2, at the Le Bon Air Festival in Marseille on June 3, and again in Paris on September 11 for the Peacock Society. , 2022.

Leave a Comment