Google’s Magenta project is offering a music studio powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that will help people to play with their music creations.  

The project called “Lo-Fi player” is designed by Vibert Thio, a technologist and artist who did the Summer 2020 Magenta intern with the team. It is a 2D pixelated virtual room that allows users to mix low-fi, hip-hop music tracks to create a customized music room in their browser, even if they don’t have a lot of prior knowledge on the subject. 

For those unaware, Magenta, powered by Google’s open-source TensorFlow system, is a research project exploring the role of machine learning in the process of creating art and music.

It primarily focuses on developing new deep learning and reinforcement learning algorithms for generating songs, images, drawings, and other materials. It also builds smart tools and interfaces that allow artists and musicians to extend (not replace!) their processes using these models.

How To Use Lo-Fi Player To Mix Music

You can open Lo-Fi Player by visiting https://magenta.github.io/lofi-player/ on your web browser. You will see different objects such as a clock, a cat, a piano, a desk, a chair, and more, which when clicked on adjusts different tracks, like the bass line and the melody. Further, if you want to stop the music, all you need to do is click on the green lamp on the ceiling to stop it. 

“Lo-Fi Player” is a virtual room in your browser that lets you play with the BEAT! Try tinkering around with the objects in the room to change the music in real-time. For example, the view outside the window relates to the background sound in the track, and you can change both the visual and the music by clicking on the window,” Thio wrote in a blog post.

He further wrote that the team chose Lo-Fi Hip Hop format to create something more like a “music generating room” rather than a musical instrument or composition tool because it’s a popular genre with relatively simple music structure. The experience is powered by machine learning models from magenta.js, the open-source JavaScript API for using Magenta in-browser. 

Lo-Fi Player also includes an interactive YouTube livestream where users can type commands into the Live Chat to change the color of the room, change the melody, switch the instruments, and so on. 

Every time the beat loops, the system will randomly select comments from the live chat to modify the music. Those comments that were randomly selected will be highlighted with a conversation bubble. Even those users who don’t interact with the room can hear how it evolves as it is modified by chat commands.  

“What a tiny, small thing to bring us together during covid,” says Doug Eck, a research scientist who supervised the project. 

The source code for Lo-Fi Player can be found on GitHub. It also has a tutorial called “Play, Magenta!” where you can edit the sounds and canvas with the editor live in your browser.

“The design goal is not to replace existing Lo-Fi Hip Hop producers or streams. Think of it more as a prototype for an interactive music piece or an interactive introduction to the genre to help people appreciate the art even more,” Thio concludes.

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