James Murphy tennis project

As the former frontman of LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy has earned enough goodwill that he can spend the rest of his life farting around with film scores and coffee, and nobody will have any right to get mad about it. Murphy’s latest project is very much in the farting-around category, but it’s pretty interesting in theory. As Self-Titled points out, Murphy and IBM are teaming up to use the raw data from tennis matches in the U.S. Open, which is currently going on, to make an algorithm that’ll turn each match into its own unique musical piece. In the end, they’ll have almost 400 hours of music, though it’s not like that music is being written or played by humans. “I’m not writing music,” says Murphy in an online trailer for the project. “I’m generating probabilities for music.” Check out that trailer below.

You can already head over here to listen to plenty of music from the project, and based on clicking through a couple of matches, it mostly sounds like random bloop-bloop stuff.

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Comments (12)
  1. I constantly have to defend my musical choices to people with no taste and/or only listen to Classic Rock.
    I’m constantly labeled “hipster” or “pretentious fuckface”.

    It’s stuff like this project that make my position indefensible.

    • I think you’re taking this a bit too seriously. As the article says, if anyone’s earned the right to fuck around it’s James Murphy.

  2. james murphy see’s your song reader album beck and raises you the probability to make music.

  3. Feels like something John Cage would’ve done if he had been around in the digital age.

    Also opens up the debate for what can be considered “music”- is music just a series of sounds and rhythms or does it require a human to create them? Granted, Murphy had input in deciding what sound would be linked to which tennis movement. So I guess it’s music in the most basic sense, though not in the popular culture sense.

    Yes, I now this project is “pretentious,” but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. And honestly, having listened to some of the songs they are at least better than some of the electronic noise out there.

    • This is exactly the sort of thing Cage did (and many, many composers since have done) only this is, from what I’ve sampled, is way more boring. Any match with Monica Seles in it sounded more interesting than this. In a more indie rock vein, The Flaming Lips dabbled in this sort of aleatoric realm around the time of Zaireeka with far more interesting results, as have Oval and Autechre.

      • Yeah, turning data from natural occurrences or non-musical human actions into “music” isn’t an original concept, and as illustrated here, it frequently leads to pretty boring results.

        They were originally going to name this “Daddy needs IBM to fund his vanity projects and IBM is desperate to market itself as hip” but it didn’t quite roll off the tongue. Game, set, match.

  4. “What are you listening to?”
    “Tennis.”
    “Oh, they’re a great band. Young and Old was a solid album.”
    “No…tennis the sport.”
    (hipster’s head explodes)

  5. Cory McConnell  |   Posted on Aug 28th +4

    Sure he’s earned some farting around but how many steps away is this from him sampling his real actual farts and releasing a triple LP of them called “Farting Around” on limited edition poo colored vinyl

  6. The spirit of David Foster Wallace is grinning in excitement right now.

  7. serve yrself clean, bro

  8. Rats, I thought he was going to pull a lil wayne and sample all kinds of grunts.

    I’m listening to Sam Stosur play Kaia Kanepi. Things are definitely a bleepin’ and a bloopin’, and it’s hard to say why.

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