Find out what we got up to at Europe's leading technology festival, Tech Open Air 2019. Plus, watch our film on tech, science and AI in music production, featuring trailblazers Simonne Jones, Baptiste Moulin and Portrait XO.
“People are unwilling to be at the mercy of a fading flower,” noted one anthropologist when artificial flowers began to bloom in the ‘60s. Plastic plants had been prophesied over a decade earlier, a perennial picture of humanity’s fake future. Nowadays, it’s our very own brains at stake! As technology advances exponentially, AI growing smarter by the day, we refuse to be limited by our own minds. But if nature’s blossoms still reign supreme, perhaps the artificial isn’t quite as scary as we make it out to be.
At Tech Open Air 2019, hosted by Funkhaus Berlin, we explored what our burgeoning technological landscape means for the future of music and film. Tomorrow’s sound, look and feel is right at our fingertips, Catalyst’s hallowed halls brimming with the next generation of international talent. Our trailblazing tutors – Screen Acting vocal coach Cavana Hazelton and Creative Production Music MA lead Richard Scott – were perfectly placed to discuss how we can evolve together in the creative industries and stretch the boundaries of creation. Meanwhile, our students brought their magic to the insider’s event as volunteers. The cherry on the future-proof cake of TOA19, we also had the pleasure of meeting three musical renegades whose exciting work is fuelled by new technologies.
Driven by pure curiosity, singer, producer, visual artist and activist Simonne Jones merges the scientific and the artistic to create extraordinary pop music. From her Berlin laboratory, she experiments with elements as diverse as synth pop, dream pop, punk, alternative, baroque pop, electronica and electro. Nothing quite captures her innovative take on the classics like her “cyborg” acoustic guitar. We can’t get enough of her recent interpretation of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ for Samsung’s Women’s World Cup commercial.
Sound engineer Baptiste Moulin lives to build instruments. As well as working at live concert venues and clubs such as Badehaus Berlin, BMVI, Maze and Monster Ronson’s, he is a sonic alchemist in his converted Apotheke studio Der Oker-Keller. Among his inventive designs are a fascinating crystal-amplified Roscellae Guitar and a series of coaxial speakers. Moulin also creates sound installations and workshops, one of which we were thrilled to attend at TOA.
Singer, songwriter and producer Portrait XO‘s music is AI evangelism in its most human form; an inquisitive and soulful interplay of sensory, emotional and scientific dimensions. She is the inaugural resident artist at Factory Berlin, exploring all the possibilities of AI, sound and interactive media. There she recently debuted her latest piece ‘_______ __ _ WIRE,’ a neural vocal duet in collaboration with DADABOTS x VanTa.
Created in collaboration with Tech Open Air, we are thrilled to present our film on tech, science and AI in music production, starring the formidable trio. What’s next in electronic music? Press play on The Sound of Future below.