Technology and sports go hand in hand in this day and age, and James Murphy has figured out a way to turn that very idea into music. Using raw data from tennis matches, Murphy, together with IBM, creates algorithms that will give each individual match its own unique musical score.
In an online trailer for the intriguing project, Murphy admits up front, “I’ve never done anything like this before,” and sure enough this is a project that is well beyond what he’s used to exploring with his former group, LCD Soundsystem. The group, which had been disbanded since 2011, had been widely known for a blend of danceable, punkish music, but never before did they undergo what is purely electronic music. Although he is directly manipulating the machines during the recording process, James Murphy is not creating the music directly. The music is being generated from raw data obtained from the U.S. Open, which is currently underway. The raw data is then transferred into a complex algorithm from which the music itself is generated. Murphy is essentially acting as a physical intermediary from the raw data to the musical data, but the music itself is not created by Murphy- it’s created by the algorithm.
After all is said and done, the project is expected to yield over four hundred hours of music to listen to and enjoy, each piece unique from all of the other pieces, as the data from each match will be unique. The entire process is happening live until September 8, and the various match results and how they are inputted into the algorithm can be found on the official U.S. Open site, sponsored by IBM. You can also view the project trailer here. Whether or not this project will lead to an album remains to be seen, but it can be certain that this ambitious project will produce some incredible new music not heard before by anyone.