“Sometimes when I look at you, I feel I’m gazing at a distant star. It’s dazzling, but the light is from tens of thousands of years ago. Maybe the star doesn’t even exist anymore. Yet sometimes that light seems more real to me than anything.”—Haruki Murakami (via immortels)
I don’t mean that in the sense that it’s tomorrow’s next big electronica style, but rather that the music itself has undergone Darwinian selection.
DarwinTunes is a project of Bob MacCallum and Armand Leroi from Imperial College London. They wondered if music might evolve by means similar to the way natural selection acts on genetic traits, with the best bits surviving and remixing into a more fit future tune.
They began with this cacophony, a real mess of dissonance. Then they let listeners pick their favorite bits and allowed those loops to “mate”. What you hear above is the result after 3,000 generations of musical replication, and clear tendencies toward beat and harmony are evident. Of course, listeners come into this experiment with modern notions of what pleasant sounds mean, and real musical evolution took place over thousands of years and with hugely differing cultural influences.
I found blood and I saw stars All in the backseat of your car And I told you it was love But you don’t wanna know the truth I was young and in my prime With my heart still filled with fear And it goes on bleedin’
On September 4, The Music Tapes will release Mary’s Voice.
Mary’s Voice, The Music Tapes’ third full-length album, is the warmest and most accessible invitation yet into Julian Koster’s world—the culmination of a vision he has been realizing for over a decade.
That vision began taking shape in the ’90s, during which time Koster also became a key member of Neutral Milk Hotel and a contributor to The Olivia Tremor Control and other legendary members of the enormously influential Elephant 6 Collective. Since then, Koster (along with long-time collaborator Robbie Cucchiaro on horns) has pushed the boundaries of what audiences have come to expect from an “indie rock” band—staging unique caroling and lullaby tours, performing alongside mechanical contraptions like the 7-Foot-Tall Metronome, and displaying virtuosity on both the singing saw and orchestral banjo.
Mary’s Voice, the follow-up to 2008’s acclaimed Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes, is part one of a planned two-part album and inaugurates a newly active phase in The Music Tapes’ evolution—with plans to tour the world in a circus tent later this year and an NPR radio serial in the works. Recorded with The Music Tapes’ signature method of using recording machines of both past (early 1900s, ’30s, ’40s, ’60s) and present to achieve a timeless sound, the album is, in Koster’s own words, “a holiday from what is so often mistakenly called the ‘real world’… In music, time can disappear the way it does in long summer evenings when we’re allowed to go out and play as kids, or afterwards, when exhausted, we dream.”
Mary’s Voice track listing:
1. The Dark Is Singing Songs (Sleepy Time Down South) 2. Saw and Calliope Organ on Wire 3. S’ Alive (Pt. 1) 4. The Big Beautiful Shops (It’s Said That It Could Be Anyone) 5. Spare the Dark Streets 6. To All Who Say Goodnight 7. Kolyada #3 8. Playing “Evening” 9. Go Home Again 10. S’ Alive to Be Known (May We Starve) 11. Untitled 12. Takeshi and Elijah
(In my excitement, when I went to add the release date, I accidentally deleted the earlier post. Sorry! T.I.C.O.T.I.S.)