Tech & Infinity of Music

Web-Summit presentation. 2019 Lisbon

Have you ever tried to solve an equation that contains multiple unknowns? Unknowns such as: uniqueness, a world premiere, technology, electro-sound, ambient, new-age-video, sound show, laser and biggest projections and the infinity of possibilities? If  you see such an amazing combination of elements in an artistic work, you immediately recognize the Creator behind it. But if you want to create something similar, the process of obtaining it is very complex and hard to (re)create it.

Every time when we try to understand or penetrate through that “something”, we analyse the final results and almost never the entire process of work. But what happens when the final artistic work is so unique that it is stripped off all the stereotypical elements that we used to use in our analyses? Because these rules are the basis of an entire school of analysis and recognition. These new values can be possible only when there is a higher added value that you are able to recognize. New rules are created that can exist alongside older rules, but still they change something. Such phenomena are rarer than Aurora Borealis.

I am trying to talk about Jean-Michel André Jarre’s uniqueness. Although I can’t murmur any melodic lines he composed, my brain remembers some vibration and energetical variation of his creation. I can recognise him after a lot of items, not just frequencies, tones, notes, rhythm but also after his beauty-craziness decibels, after the light that his sound spread “La Lumiere qui se propage de sa musique”.

Until a few months ago, a few months ago meaning pre-covid era, art and technology did not make a good marriage. Very few artists were attracted to the mix that art and tech can create. And even fewer saw the long-term benefits. Covid-era changed all that and we witnessed the first experiments of going online. And then to the realisation that offline cannot be repeated online, and on-line is not a solution for art. On a short run, we can make concerts from our kitchen or living rooms, being in pyjamas. But, if we are not preparing for a Big Brother show, after some time, art transforms itself in a form without power or a future. The mix between art, and in this case music, and technology should be about something else. Let’s take a tour in the work and mind of an artist always attracted by this mix, and all the new forms that can be obtained by AI, virtual and augmented reality.

An example of how to fight is to produce some Métamorphoses in this situation and give Some Oxygène to the entire art world. It happened on June 21st at 21h15 CET. The international day of music was celebrated with the World premiere. Jean-Michel André Jarre’s created a Live performance in virtual reality “Alone Together” an inspired title for those days. With this performance the artist sends a message to the public and the entire music industry. His message is about the art value. The value of Art and the Art is value.

“Virtual or augmented realities can be to the performing arts what the advent of cinema was to the theatre, an additional mode of expression made possible by new technologies at a given time,” predicts Jarre at the beginning of the concert.

And it’s true, because we, like an artist in this moment, need to present our art not by looking back, but exploring the future, and the endless possibilities that the future is offering us. The capacity to reinvent ourselves as artists, it means also to reinvent art, it’s a capacity to evolve in time, it never can be equal with survival. Survival was never meant to bring progress, it’s just a situation in which many times we indulge. And this can be the real stop for creation.

The concert offered by Jean Michel Jarre was in this line: Online can bring something new, that can transform the music industry forever. His concert is brilliant and memorable for so many reasons. Not just the art or technology used. It was also a first trial of interactivity. Maybe not perfect but a first test toward it. But also, the invitation: look this can be done, do we want to further develop it or we can forget it? Anyhow, definitely it will be a concert that will enter history books.

But how come that it was Jarre to make this big leap in the music industry? Little while ago he said that an artist is a mix of these 3 elements. Frustration, Curiosity and Hope

FRUSTRATION is because never it’s enough

Hope– Artist hope that next time will be better

Curiosity– because we are able to still (find inspiration) from everywhere.

I’ve often wondered from whom he tries to steal (find inspiration)?

But probably this fatal combination is what drives him towards undiscovered lands and continuous experimentations.

Last year when we met Jean-Michel André Jarre at WebSummit Lisbon, he came directly from Tokyo to Lisbon to share his new creations. It was impressive to witness that tremendous delight to reveal the story of a new way to make music shows, and the big joy of rediscovering himself. Actually, he was very proud of his achievement. The emotion, that passion that he had when he told us about his innovation was the characteristic of the eternal and tireless seeker.

Firstly, he presented “FLOW machine”. This is the most sophisticated AI music composition, in which the algorithm produces music, like in collaboration with a musician. And the second project named EoN that will be able to generate an infinity of musical and visual compositions. EON project was named after Greek that symbolises “life”, “vital force” or “being”, “generation” “a period of time” Time & Eternity.

And this form or method can make your art eternal. In this generative art-music he creates the impossible to understand an algorithm with infinite type of tempo, harmony, melody, never ending process of creation. Musical compositions had a beginning and an end, but here is not a beginning, nor an ending. This music can continue till infinity

This music that I am going to experience is Irepetable, and will never happen again. You can’t turn the musical moment in, like in life. I love this idea that music is not going to repeat again in the perception that everything is ephemera in the world”

Will technology break music production? Or destroy artists and composition? Not really. Because a fulfilled artist is recognisable forever. It is his style, that unique algorithm. And Jarre is not afraid that technology will destroy artists.

“Wherever happened in the next years I think my music will be recognisable, it shows that you can be in Technology but kept also your DNA like an Artist”

We know that every writing needs to have a beginning and an end. But in this article we prefer to not put an ending point because if we do this it means we did not write about Jean Michel Jarre.

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N.B From 15 July 2020 to 11 January 2021, Open Museum Music at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille… On the occasion of the Open Museum Music, discover the generative musical-visual work EōN, created by Jean-Michel Jarre.

More info here OPEN MUSEUM

More info about WebSummit