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Jasmine Guffond

Alien Intelligence (LP)

Label: OOH-sounds

Format: LP

Genre: Experimental

In stock


Through the medium of a distinctly synthesised, sustained ambience, seasoned artist and composer Jasmine Guffond arrives on OOH to explore the tension between technology and human creativity in an increasingly ambiguous playing field. »Alien Intelligence« came into being during Guffond's residency at fabled Parisian institution GRM in 2021. While learning how to generate sound and make music with the in-house Serge modular synthesiser, the Australian artist noticed the typical role of human input for machine output was being subverted by the behaviour of certain electronic elements, which came to exercise their own influences on the direction of the music.

Taking this idea one step further, Guffond proceeded to explore the programming environment MaxMSP, a customisable interface which allowed her to blur the lines between human input and machine directives even further. Across the three extended pieces which make up »Alien Intelligence« you can hear the results of Guffond's inquisitive approach as she coaxed the machines into bringing their own ideas to bear on the music. The tension inherent in this thematic duality is mirrored by the contrast between glacial ambience and chaotic interference across the album. On »Serge & Maxine Variation One« the presiding mood is a slow and patient one, as undulating waveforms rich with harmonic overtones spill out over one another across 10 minutes. The track's latter passage, driven by steadily intensifying oscillations, is then interrupted with an unexpected flurry of pitch shifting. This kind of complex technical movement features more prominently at the start of 'Serge & Maxine Variation Three', which then gradually shifts into a gentler ebb and flow of rising and falling frequencies.

Angled slightly differently and residing on the B side of the album, 15-minute quiet epic »Serge & Maxine Variation Two« bookends a louder passage of synth work with serene, sustained notes that ring out a sort of hymnal melody. Throughout, the movement in the music evolves in subtly modulating, hypnotic, ways, but there are also unexpected turns or melodic diversions which feel much more incongruous. In its closing stretch, the notes dart around more freely as though played by hand, but it's hard to be sure whether these shifts in the otherwise delicate tonal music were a human conceit or a programming by-product. In the end, the two inputs logically become one.

As Guffond says herself, »More-than-human logics emerge, a kind of alien intelligence that questions an assumed central position of human subjectivity in socio-technical assemblages and considers the philosophical, socio-political and cultural implications beyond music practice in an increasingly technologically mediated world.« As AI creeps into art as much as other aspects of modern life, Guffond applies her playful instinct to the theme of these works by re-considering machine intelligence as ›alien∫, crediting its contributions with a more robust yet enigmatic identity in the creative process, leading to an end result which is far from artificial.

Cat. number: OOH-040
Year: 2024