Relentless doppelganger: a non-stop stream of death metal has been created with artificial intelligence

An image to illustrate death metal, which has now been created using artificial intelligence neural networks.
© iStock/vithib

Relentless doppelganger is a new project which plays a non-stop live stream of death metal music created using a type of artificial intelligence, recurrent neural networks.

The stream plays technical death metal which has been generated using artificial intelligence to imitate the band Archspire. The accompanying paper, says: “The goal is to synthesise music within the limited aesthetic space of the album’s sound.”

Creating music using artificial intelligence

“This early example of neural synthesis is a proof-of concept for how machine learning can drive new types of music software. Creating music can be as simple as specifying a set of music influences on which a model trains. We demonstrate a method for generating albums that imitate bands in experimental music genres previously unrealised by traditional synthesis techniques (e.g. additive, subtractive, FM, granular, concatenative).”

Recurrent neural networks

The method used in the new project is called SampleRNN, which is a recurrent neural network. The authors of the paper explain that recurrent neural networks are used for sequence prediction, or in other words, based on what has happened already, what will happen next? The music is modelled as a sequence of events in this way. This technique is called autoregressive generation and is one example of neural synthesis.

Why death metal?

The authors explain: “We ran initial experiments on multiple genres including
electronic, hip-hop, black metal, mathcore, rock, and skate
punk.”

“We observed that electronic music and hip-hop instrumentals did not seem to train as well as organic, electroacoustic ensembles of musicians. Music genres like metal
and punk seem to work better, perhaps because the strange
artifacts of neural synthesis (noise, chaos, grotesque mutations of voice) are aesthetically pleasing in these styles. Furthermore, their fast tempos and creative use of loose performance techniques translate well to SampleRNN’s rhythmic
distortions.”

Listen to the death metal stream

Relentless doppelganger is a play on the title of the Canadian technical death metal band Archspire’s album

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