In the era of facial recognition software, social media feeds designed to keep us depressed and addicted, and Spotify playlists feeding us the same nostalgic 80s trash (no judgement) over and over again, algorithms are getting a pretty bad rap. Facebook, Amazon and other Big Tech are using algorithms for their own nefarious purposes to develop a kind of technofeudalist Panopticon. It’s pretty grim.
This makes me pretty sad, because I think algorithms can also be really beautiful! My interest in algorithmic composition with SuperCollider and TidalCycles has started to creep into my jazz composition as well. On a recent trip to Lisbon, Portugal, where I visited a friend/partner and tanked a bit of Vitamin D, I was stunned by the beauty of the ceramic tiles everywhere, and their algorithmic nature.
This trip to Portugal, and my research into algorithmic music, inspired the Algorithm Project. (to do: link). With my new band, the Ceramic Tiles, ft. Jonas Westergaard, Peter Ehwald and Max Stadtfeld, I went into the studio to investigate what roles algorithms can play in contemporary jazz. I’m keen to continue to explore this into the future with these wonderful musicians!