The piece of music was completely generated via machine learning.
The AI program responsible is named Spawn, which Herndon and her partner Mat Dryhurst developed over the past two years. To create "Godmother," Spawn repeatedly listened to Jlin's work, and attempted to replicate it with Herndon's voice. "This piece of music was generated from silence with no samples, edits, or overdubs, and trained with the guidance of Spawn’s godfatherJules LaPlace," said Herndon.
Herndon views Spawn's capabilities as a precursor to ethical questions in music. As AI improves, it will be able to learn and replicate any style. "Are we to recoil from these developments?" She asks. "Or is there a more beautiful, symbiotic, path of machine/human collaboration, owing to the legacies of pioneers like George Lewis, that view these developments as an opportunity to reconsider who we are, and dream up new ways of creating and organizing accordingly?"
Watch the video for "Godmother" and read Herndon's statement in full.
"Godmother" is out now on 4AD.