The Algorithm Smiles Upon You
We aren't totally comfortable with the idea of AI yet. As we count down the days until Skynet takes over, we can utilize functions of the internet which draw upon the power of AI. Functions such as the almighty algorithm!
One such function of said almighty algorithm is the uncanny ability for it to feed us the art we might enjoy consuming. Imagine my surprise when this played after a YouTube video I have now forgotten the name of. Color me intrigued.
Flash forward a few months, and I am speaking with Joe, a member of the group Aver & Move 78. Join us as we bask in the gentle jazz hum of the almighty algorithm, and learn a bit about the group!
EB: To start, maybe you could just give me a little background info on your own musical journey? AV: Hey man, Let us begin... I played violin when I was 8yrs old, for about a year. I was awful. I then played piano for a few years, maybe between 9-11yrs old, I was still awful. When I was 17yrs old, myself and my best mates formed a crew called The Natural Curriculum (TNC) and we would freestyle constantly, made our own beats and just loved nerding out over records.
Between 2004 - 2010 I did various studies in Music Technology, Sound Engnieering and Graphic Design (so I could do all the album covers and music videos for my own releases, as well as all the musical production). In 2011, we independently released the Dayse & Aver EP on vinyl, which features 8-tracks of left-field dystopian hip-hop, and helped us make a bit of name for ourselves in UK hip-hop scene. We did quite a lot of live shows and generally had loads of fun as mates messing around with music.
Between 2012 - 2016, I helped produce 8 other releases that TNC or myself made, most on vinyl, but for some reason or another things never really took off in the way we hoped. At the end of 2016 I moved to Berlin, Germany, to have a change of scenery, having lived in Manchester for 30years, and also because of Brexit. I really just wanted to practice making beats more as well. And so I did. I tried to do about 30hrs music a week, minimum.
I put out a free instrumental download at the start of 2017 and Village Live Records (VL) hit me up asking if I wanted to do a release with them. Some of the beats I'd been making to practice were released as Die Berlin Dateien that same year. It seemed to go down pretty well, and so I started working on more stuff. My sister (who moved to Berlin the same time as me) had started to date a jazz drummer (Nir Sabag) and via him I met a bunch of jazz musicians. After chilling with them for a year or so we decided to work on some music together. The first instances of this are on my second release with VL, Dressed For CCTV.
After this we wanted to go into a studio to record live versions of my beats and in doing so we formed Move 78. Since then we did three recording sessions in 6months, released an EP, we've got another single dropping in October, and I'm just finishing up the band's main debut LP right now. EB: If you can, please go into the background of the “Algorithm” record. Why is it credited to two artists? This is a jazz album that seems to have a bit of a concept, despite being instrumental. Any reflections for you on this topic?
AV: The album is credited to Aver (me) & Move 78, instead of just Move 78, as various streaming platforms don't allow you to submit songs to editorial playlists if you're a new artist. Like it or not these playlists can help you reach a much wider audience so it made sense to hit up my small following online whilst being able to submit our tracks to playlists when rolling out the band's first single. The band name is inspired by a famous Go match (an ancient Chinese board game) between Lee Sedol, the world champion of Go at the time, and a computer program named AlphaGo. Having been destroyed in the first three games of the five-game match by his AI-powered opponent, Sedol stunned spectators and commentators by adapting and playing a move so strange that it completely baffled AlphaGo and its algorithms, leading the program to scramble for historical data to make sense of it. The move - which represented Sedol's human response adapting to meet the challenges of an ever-evolving technological world - was move 78. Our music attempts to reflect this 'human response to the technological world'. It is crafted from hours of studio improvisations that were provoked (stimulated) by me playing the musicians loads of breaks and beats that I had arranged in my sampler. The improvisations (responses) have then been chopped-up, rearranged, and have had further layers of additional improvisations recorded on to via host of other musicians you are friends of the band in Berlin. I think the concept helped create the band's sound: a balance between free flowing jazz and automated, programmed hip-hop. But I think it also has a lot of potential for exploration creatively, and this will be seen more on the future releases, as I work out how to better manipulate the band's playing more effectively and they incorporate new equipment and ideas into their responses.
EB: What do you think about the idea of someone randomly stumbling upon this record via “autoplay next video”? Do you think that this completes the concept of the album? AV: I like the idea of anyone just stumbling across our music, but it does make me laugh knowing that if people come across it that way, it seems like the EP was waiting for them. If that makes sense. People also interpret the name the other way, in that they think it means a Godlike entity is watching over them in some dark way. I like it that it's open to interpretation.
EB: What is in store for your musical future, and the future of this group? Any plans to play this stuff live? AV: We're dropping a new double a-side 7" vinyl in October. We're recording a live video session type thing in October as well. And most importantly, I'm just finishing up the band's debut full length album, Automated Improvisation, which should be out Spring 2022.
EB: Those are exciting projects!! I’ll be on the lookout for those. How does this group look as a live unit? Is there a live drummer or is it mainly drum loop stuff? AV: Oh we're a four piece, so me on sampler n fx, Doron Segal on keys, Nir Sabag on drums and Hal Strewe on bass. We're recording a live video session soon and we'll also be joined by our friends Merav Goldman on French horn and Omri Abramov on saxophone
EB: That sounds like it will be a really legitimate jazz fusion style ensemble. What inspired you to get into using a sampler? What type of advantages do you feel the sampler has as a musical instrument? I feel that as a newer instrument, we’ve only scratched the surface on what can be done with samplers and electronics in general. AV: I guess just being a huge hip-hop fan and learning how it was integral throughout the genres various stages. I actually mostly produce using pro-tools, having had various different bits of outboard kit over the years. I can just move around the workspace faster, meaning I can manifest my ideas as soon as I have them. I use an sp404sx live, so it's got a lot of fx that I can replicate the productions with. I agree that we've only really just started using them, in a long term historical sense, and I'm interested to see how controllers, granulation and live sampling techniques change the way music is performed live. That's kinda another stage for the band, to try and do new things live in order to see where the technology leads us and not vice versa. EB: Any final message for the fans and friends before we wrap up? AV: Mad love to everyone supporting the music and keep ya fucking eyes peeled for Automated Improvisation, that's where you'll hear the proper Move 78 shit. Peace
hail the algorithm, viva Aver & Move 78, viva Evil Bubble