Mar 26, 2012

From the 20th century on, experimental artists of all kinds have been fascinated by the concept of randomness applied to art — it all started with Dadaism. In music, the element of chance was already present in Jazz before it officially appeared in the mid century “Aleatory Music” movement. The Beatles managed to recycle it in a very pop way, cutting and re-assembling a tape at random in the “Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite”’s fairground organ solo. Since then rock music has flirted and toyed with this idea innumerous times. Here are some of the most interesting products designed to create what music producers call “happy accidents”:

1. Oblique Strategies Cards: Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in 1975 created a set of cards designed to break an inspirational deadlock. Each card features a sentence that can be applied to any creative process, like “Honour thy error as a hidden intention”, “Work at a different speed” and “What to increase? What to reduce?” The idea is to pick a card when a dilemma or inspirational lock occurs to overcome it.

2. Korg’s Kaoss Pad: Kaos is the greek root of the English word “Chaos”, and means formless and/or unpredictable. The Kaoss Pad is a sampler/ multi-effect engine that can be controlled through a touch screen featuring a x- and y- axis. More or less random movements of the hands on the screen create unexpected results.

3. Step Filter Plug Ins: These programmable effects allow you to slightly alter an existing melody by applying controlled or random filter sequences that can also generate resonance driven tones. There are several step filter plug ins available on the internet – and some of them are free. – PDG

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