YACHT - Chain Tripping
The explosion of electronic music in the 2000s has been pretty incredible to watch. It's wormed it's way into so many different arenas and venues that it seems to be the main focus of almost all pop these days. One of the real innovators in the indie electronic scene was YACHT. Their blend of slick female vocals with trippy electronics skittering about mixed with real live banging instrumentation. It was wild and arty in a way that felt like The Talking Heads. It might not be all that surprising then to learn that this album was recorded through a process called "machine-learning generated composition". What this meant is the New York duo flew to Google's headquarters to plug in elements and allow an AI to produce the record. Rather than butcher the technical aspects it's better to let the band explain: "It still couldn’t make a song just by pushing a button; it was not at all an easy or fun flow to work through,” Bechtolt says. “So after three days, we were like, ‘OK, I think we have enough stuff.’ By that point we had a few thousand clips between two- and 16-bars, and we just had to call it quits at some point.” “It wasn’t something where we fed something into a model, hit print, and had songs,” Evans adds. “We’d have to be involved. There’d have to be a human involved at every step of the process to ultimately make music… The larger structure, lyrics, the relationship between lyrics and structure—all of these other things are beyond the technology’s capacity, which is good.”.
So it wasn't just telling a machine what to make and letting it happen, they had to laboriously input their own back catalog, any bars they had and any tones in the hopes it would be enough information for the AI to find patterns to recreate. This album actually feels more focused than their most recent work, really directed towards the dance floor. The beats skitter and scatter, but there is always this underlying current to keep the beat on the floor. There is a hollow feeling to this entire record, like there is really nothing behind the eyes of this. It feels...dare I say robotic? However listening to YACHT you kind of expect it to be a straight faced celebration of Indie Dance Punk. Something to sway too rather than really jam out. It honestly feels a bit strange to like this record, but it sounds more like YACHT than they have sounded like themselves in awhile. If you didn't dig into the actual way the record was created I doubt you would even know the difference. So that in and of itse;f makes Chain Tripping a success and reveals a potential for this in the future. Only time will tell.
8.1 out of 10