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YACHT using AI software for new album, share “(Downtown) Dancing”


Arch indie dance vets YACHT, who are a three piece these days, are back on DFA Records after releasing I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler on Downtown in 2015, and will release a new album later this year. For it, the band are experimenting with open-source Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning tools as part of the songwriting process, drawing on YACHT’s 82-song back catalog as source material for the programs. “It’s not so much about collaborating with the machine as it is about collaborating with people through the medium of the machine,” says singer Claire L. Evans. “Creating this kind of work requires that creative and technical people work together, and that’s a good thing in our increasingly siloed culture.” Their first AI collab is new single “(Downtown) Dancing,” a funky disco number very much in the catchy, YACHTy style. “We wanted to find a way to interrogate technology more deeply,” explains Evans. “Now that we’re making music again, it feels more human than human, more YACHT than YACHT, “ says Jona Bechtolt. “And easily the thing we’ve made that most reflects how we see ourselves.”

The song’s video also incorporates learning software, using an experimental typeface called Obsolete created by artist Barney McCann that he created by “feeding standard letterforms into a neural network; his typeface is a fluid expression of that neural network’s attempts to find the most efficient path from one letter to the next in any given sentence.” The flowing nature of the video, which looks like an audio waveform but with text, fits the song’s retro-future vibe. Watch that and check out a couple remixes:

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