"I want to listen to this forever"
October 5, 2019 5:57 PM   Subscribe

Gnossiennes No. 1 Forever is a generative, unending version of Erik Satie's minimalist piano composition, Gnossiennes No. 1. It uses digital sheet music, markov chains, and browser-based midi to extend the composition indefinitely. Watch creator Mouse Reeve explain how (and why) they made it in their recent talk, Minimalist Piano Forever, at the Strange Loop conference.
posted by Lirp (19 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
I love the idea so much and it's a piece I love to play but I hate that the generator is rolling the chords. It's just making it sound really messy to me.
posted by acidnova at 6:41 PM on October 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm rather loving this, as:
  1. the directions are a hoot: so far I've seen “Collect tranquility”, “Be translucent”, “With questions”, and my favourite “Repudiate a hole”;
  2. Hit Print, and you'll get a decently typeset score;
  3. I'm still a bit surprised that web MIDI is a thing that sounds good.
(I may be somewhat high right now and my enjoyment of music and other small objects could be in a heightened state)
posted by scruss at 6:44 PM on October 5, 2019 [7 favorites]

Something sounds really off in the rhythm of the bass clef. Or rather the rhythm is very on, there's no poetry in it. Not sure what the word for what I'm missing is; if this piece were written 30 years later I'd say it has no swing. Sounds almost like a metronome or some other clockwork. Is that a limitation of their generative system? Or do the performances of this piece I know just have the pianist bringing their own softness to the rhythm?

I imagine there's been a lot of attempts at generative furniture music. Here's one.
posted by Nelson at 7:05 PM on October 5, 2019

in dub
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 7:14 PM on October 5, 2019 [4 favorites]

1. the directions are a hoot: so far I've seen “Collect tranquility”, “Be translucent”, “With questions”, and my favourite “Repudiate a hole”;

That is a very common trait with Satie. I recommend you check out more of his scores as the directions are a delight in and of themselves!
posted by acidnova at 7:24 PM on October 5, 2019 [4 favorites]

It's nice background music for when I'm sitting at home chatting with Alexa and playing online chess against a computer.
posted by Umami Dearest at 9:20 PM on October 5, 2019 [4 favorites]

It's too fast.
posted by straight at 10:45 PM on October 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

Vintage 1960s public service announcement : Full 60 seconds of Gnossiennes overlaid by visuals of out of focus over exposed moving water , finally the words , "drowning is the leading cause of death in our national parks" . spiritual mysteries on television late at night .
posted by hortense at 11:41 PM on October 5, 2019 [4 favorites]

need to combine with beat takeshi walking from violent cop to make my own personal nyan cat heaven/hell
posted by fleacircus at 1:20 AM on October 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Interesting, but after about an hour of testing I decided I'd rather listen to the recording on repeat.
posted by hat_eater at 5:18 AM on October 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Off topic a bit, I have fond memories of listening to Satie's Gymnopédies in the 1960's. It was an old recording of my father's, that I still have in the vinyl vaults, of Serge Koussevitzy conducting the BSO on RCA Camden records. La Mer was the top draw on the side and the Satie might have been filler. I remember it being a summer night and the piece stuck with me. Then I heard Blood Sweat and Tears do it on their second album not long after.
posted by DJZouke at 7:16 AM on October 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Satie's Gymnopedie #3 was the first computer-generated music I heard, back in 1980 when I was a 10-year-old kid. On my dad's Apple II. With a tape drive. I thought that was just how music sounded when you tried to stuff it into computer code. Probably some programmer cum amateur musician's recent invention.

Eventually, I rediscovered Satie. Now, his music evokes the smell of a soul awakening.

But, alas, Reeve's algorithm doesn't do it for me. Thanks for the experiment, though.
posted by brambleboy at 9:41 AM on October 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you're looking for more endless music, generative.fm is an easy recommend - many styles of ambient music that never really get old (yet also of course never really go anywhere). I've found it great for writing and other tasks where I can't have anything too ear-grabbing in the background.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 9:56 AM on October 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

Satie would approve.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:55 AM on October 6, 2019

Satie looks more visionary every year imo! I really loved this previously.
posted by grobstein at 12:02 PM on October 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

I feel like this should’ve been Vexations.

(...an excerpt from my favorite recording)
posted by mykescipark at 11:04 PM on October 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Clarification, it was the Gymnopédie No. 1 that first drew me in. Now I can't get out. My soul mate has always considered them mournfully sad. For me, there is melancholy but also a serene spiritual element. I faintly recall that the athletic dances of the Spartan youth had something to do with homage to a goddess with a Hades connection, but don't quote me.
posted by DJZouke at 5:56 AM on October 7, 2019

grobstein: holy crap thank you for that previously! In total and absolute love with that arrangement.
posted by youarenothere at 7:20 PM on October 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

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