Monday, January 23, 2023

About ChatGPT

Music critic Simon Reynolds is sanguine regarding the threat that an AI program such as ChatGPT might present to his trade:

...A.I. has no need to write, either — no deep-seated motivation to put words on paper or on screen. The kind of texts it generates resemble what I think of as “motiveless” writing, like school homework, or advertorial. Proper music criticism, even if done to earn a living, is closer to the sort of willed writing that fills diaries, journals and poems — where the compulsion to write is internal rather than externally imposed.

Except that what he (and, if you were to put a gun to my head, I) would define as “proper music criticism” has been in retreat for years, squeezed out by the twin monsters of economics and technology in favour of, well, advertorial. Mr Reynolds may well survive the onslaught, but any number of lesser names may not be so lucky.

In other news, I had a go with the program, and this happened:

PS: Also this, from The Times. “Artistic types” indeed.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

About the B-52’s

In a farewell to the B-52’s, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre opines: “...there are tons of different people who have made incredibly iconic, important music, who aren’t straight white guys, and I think it’s important to acknowledge that.” Nice of her to rescue the likes of Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein, Tchaikovsky, Prince, Aretha Franklin and Kate Bush from the obscurity to which the critical consensus has consigned them over the decades.

Sarcasm aside, to be fair, I think she’s leaning towards a good point; that the Georgia band made a virtue of spurning the dumb machismo that has long afflicted rock music. A few years ago I saw an exhibition of rock instruments at the Met in New York and while others drooled over the guitars of Hendrix, Page, Townshend and the like, I only had eyes for the Farfisa organ that made this happen:

Monday, January 09, 2023

About Lydon

It’s not the fact that John Lydon’s Public Image Limited is in the running to represent Ireland at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest that’s startling. It’s that the song – about his love for his wife, in the throes of dementia – is actually rather good.

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

About blogging

LC, one of the mainstays of our little virtual gang when this whole thing felt like the future, directs us to this article by Monique Judge, suggesting that blogging needs to make a comeback. Except I think what she really wants is something that isn’t Twitter.