Now that James Murphy has called time on LCD Soundsystem you'd be forgiven for thinking that he's sitting round twiddling his thumbs with his adorable dog. Turns out he's still twiddling knobs. Murphy's partnered with IBM for an ambitious musical project – creating over 400 hours of music using US Open tennis match data.
Murphy isn't soundtracking 400 hours worth of tennis matches, but relying on an algorithm to generate the sounds – Murphy is the conduit in the project, the person generating probabilities. The algorithm has three parts to it – the data that's coming in from the tennis matches (fault, second serve, ace etc), the sound output and then the complicated part – the part of the algorithm that has to translate between the tennis data and the sonic data.
For any of you thinking that this music will be a mess not worth bothering with, we just listened to the music generated by Andy Murray's victory over Matthias Bachinger in the second round of the US Open; a match just that took place last night. It was a beautiful listen, a peaceful sonic landscape featuring glorious vintage synth sounds and unpredictable rhythms. Certainly far better than listening to the thud of a ball and OTT grunts anyway.
It's not the first time that Murphy has experimented with the world's endless sonic possibilities. Six months ago it was revealed that Murphy is working on a system of harmonious notes unique to each of the city's 486 subway stops, creating a beautiful, organic orchestra on the city's underground each time someone taps in.
For more information on the tennis project, head here.
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