Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Transcendent 2000 - from the future?

Ah, the Transcendent 2000! In the late 1970s the synthesizer was offered for sale as a DIY kit at a very attractive price. My friend Rik Neuteboom, who is a technical guy, bought it and managed to build a fully functioning synthesizer without too much trouble. After that he didn't really know what to do with it, and sold it to me in 1980. Lucky me!

In discovering the possibilities of the machine, I produced Leven na de bollen (Life after the spheres), the third release of Kubus Cassettes. Two long tracks that, following my initial settings, practically composed themselves. Was the T2000 alive?

The more I got to know that machine, the more I felt it had arrived from the future, like that other T2000, the Terminator that was sent back in time to eliminate Sarah Connor. I could construct my own sounds from scratch - even sounds that couldn't be produced by the existing acoustic instruments. Even better was that it had an audio input, so that you could feed external audio sources to the filter section, which turned the T2000 into a musical warp drive!

And now, in 2019, I live in the future of 1980. There's artificial intelligence, there's machine learning, there are neural networks, and much of it is available at a very low price, or even for free, thanks to the cloud services of Google, Microsoft and Amazon.

The way we compose music is changing: there's more machine intelligence, and less human input. Where will it end?

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