issue 27 - so now i’ll sing for you til i can’t talk
Po-uta the Vocaloid, the ethics and sentimentality of AI, originals versus remixes, the Clockenflap recap, getting Ghosted, bling features and more
welcome back to FRESH! find us on insta @freshbywing ♡ don’t forget to nourish your body with some good food and drink today.
hey FREShers - i’ve been dealing with a particularly nasty flu this past week and have been under the weather for most of it, so i’ll do my best to make this issue work! once again, writing this tucked up in bed to give my body some extra rest.
FRESH: tech + music
for long time listeners of Porter Robinson, especially for enthusiasts of the Vocaloid-heavy Worlds - this news shouldn’t come as much of a surprise! earlier in the week, Porter announced that he had immortalized his voice as an official Vocaloid voicebank for YAMAHA in the style of his most recent album Nurture, a Vocaloid aptly named Po-uta.
the deeply intriguing part of this announcement stems from the demo track that Porter produced using his own Vocaloid - Humansongs, and his accompanying interview explaining his thought process behind its creation:
Q2: What are your thoughts or hope on the demo song?
I want people to contemplate the future of AI, and to feel a bit of grief and sadness for all of the confusion and ethical dilemmas that will emerge in the age of AI. It's a story about an artificial mind, Po-UTA, who looks up to me, Porter, as a father figure. But because I'm mortal and he's not, he's separated from me for all eternity, and comes to terms with the grief that ensues. It's a story about a child grieving its parent. Of course, it's looking at AI through the lens of human emotions, so I don't know if it's realistic, but after all it's art that's meant to resonate with humans.
first off, it takes balls to write a song this meta about the very thing it utilizes. the ethical Pandora’s Box that AI has inevitably already opened (with technology like ChatGPT) is something that has been on my mind for some time now, and it’s great to see it be explicitly acknowledged and explored in a creative context this way.
writing the song from AI/Vocaloid Po-uta’s perspective is a fresh spin that allows listeners to humanize and empathize with the technological offspring we create. in the final verses of Humansongs, Po-uta laments, “so now i’ll sing for you til i can’t talk / i’ve been teaching myself to cry so that you know how much you’re loved”. living, learning, having emotions and making art are core pillars of the human experience - if our AI offspring can eventually do the same, we really should consider treating them with the same gravitas and consideration that we do with our human ones, and keep in mind the ethical boundaries we may be blurring or crossing.
FRESH: new music
Bad Lover (DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ Remix) - Small Black
this year is shaping up to be one full of DJSTTDJ goodness! we covered DJSTTDJ’s earlier single Brave back in issue 21, and we’re back again with her dual remix package of Small Black’s 2010 indie classics, Bad Lover and Despicable Dogs.
the best remixes retain the spirit of the original track whilst transforming it into completely new sonic territory, and this one of Bad Lover happens to do just that. it may very well become my go-to version of the track now, the way i’ve considered Washed Out’s remix of Despicable Dogs the ‘original’ version of the track in my mind for over a decade now. an absolute indie electronica classic that sounds as fresh as it did thirteen years ago.
here’s a fun recent interview in The Guardian with the still-anonymous DJSTTDJ, detailing a little of her creative origins and musical inspirations (some being lo-fi house legends Ross from Friends and DJ Seinfeld!)
listen to this new release and more on our dedicated FRESH 2023 playlist!
FRESH: live sets
we promised you a writeup of Clockenflap this year, and we shan’t disappoint! let’s start with first impressions - apart from a longer-than-usual queue time on Friday where all ticket holders needed to acquire their wristbands, Clockenflap was a well pre-organized festival. practical venue layout, impeccable artist selection, fantastic stage design, water refills all weekend long, plenty of places to lounge out, great food despite the lines.
the biggest surprise perhaps was the main stage on Friday - just look at how many people managed to pack into that space! i’ve been to many a festival and have never felt more like a sardine in a crowd than i did at this point; there was literally no space to walk even on the very fringes of the crowd, and no crowd control happening. maybe everyone was just super excited for Clockenflap’s sold-out return or having Friday fever, either way this could’ve been a recipe for crowd disaster and i’m very glad we all made it out okay.
some highlights from the weekend:
seeing my favorites Phoenix rocking in my hometown for the first time, and hearing some big discography throwbacks to their first album - namely, Too Young and If I Ever Feel Better.
getting the rave on with exceptional electronic music at the Electriq and Robot stages. Dee Montero and Serum were absolutely fantastic.
catching the elusive Birdman animatronics performances! white-clad performers on towering stilts would perform a ritualistic bird dance, before roaming around the grounds inquisitively - one time, it started playfully pecking a little girl on her dad’s shoulders with its beak for fun!
as always, i do my best with set-listing here. Clockenflap has already announced its return later this year from December 1st to 3rd - maybe i’ll see you there!
alright alright, this film is already as cheesy as it looks and sounds, but that’s what it’s meant to be, no? the Chris Evans and Ana de Armas action rom-com is finally here, after their previous team-ups on 2019’s Knives Out and 2022’s The Gray Man. Ghosted features Evans’ as the lovelorn sidekick following de Armas to London, after she ghosts (ha) him after their night of hooking up - upon which he discovers she’s in fact, a CIA agent. touché!
i’ll only be watching this for pure comedic value, and to see what these two can cook up on a piece of their own. maybe also to see Evans in a “boyfriend” role again, instead of as Avenger-Superhero-Captain-America, and to see some ladies kicking butt and saving the day.
the original IRIDESCENT WATERFALL necklace has been spotted on the socials of the wonderful magazine publication Canto Cutie, after being featured in Volume 5!
more bling pieces are in the making pipeline - just have to physically recover and get them finished, photographed and up on the site!
this couple hours of focused speedwriting every Sunday late afternoon is perhaps working and developing into a workable routine… will see if i can fit in writing at other points during the week, but for now this makes a lot of sense.
teaching myself to cry so that you know how much you’re loved,
alright, over to you now - hit up the comments section, or reply to this email with your thoughts! if you enjoy a little prompting:
what are your thoughts on the dilemmas around AI?
what do you, or don’t you use AI for? why?
which remix do you prefer over the original? which original do you reckon needs no remixes, as it is already perfect?
which have been your best and worst festival experiences?
which are your go-to cheesy rom-coms?
head over to freshbywing.com to catch up on past issues of FRESH, and find us on instagram!
damn, i'm always down for new DJSTTDJ! appreciate the lob 🙏. also that main stage for Clockenflap looks wild (in the best way possible!) love the backdrop too
in terms of cheesy romcoms, there are a few i'll never get tired of:
- The Family Stone (2005) [great Xmas movie btw!]
- Just Friends (2005)
- Definitely, Maybe (2008)