Holly Herndon // PROTO (4AD)



  1. ‘Birth’
  2. ‘Alienation’
  3. ‘Canaan (Live Training)’
  4. ‘Eternal’
  5. ‘Crawler’
  6. ‘Extreme Love (with Lily Anna Hayes and Jenna Sutela)’
  7. ‘Frontier’
  8. ‘Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt’
  9. ‘SWIM’
  10. ‘Evening Shades (Live Training)’
  11. ‘Bridge (with Martine Syms)’
  12. ‘Godmother (with Jlin)’
  13. ‘Last Gasp’

It’s happening y’all!


yeah boi, been too long


holy shit this sounds awesome :robot: :baby: :sparkling_heart:


Eternal is fucking dope.

The post about the AI baby feels vaguely creepy though. There’s nothing wrong with software (be it a machine-learning platform or your DAW) in music creation. Why anthropomorphize it?


because extremism/subversion is a proxy for credibility in the creepy incestuous tech bubble circle jerk these people run around in?


in response to the anthropomorphize thing, that is far from the intention. Spawn has never been given a face, and humans aren’t the only species to have children. To the contrary, embracing inhuman/other intelligences has long been the stated goal, and the framing of offspring seems fairly consistent with the fact that 1)this tech is young and still forming 2)it is literally training on what it learns from us and so we might do well to assume collective responsibility over its development

I can also say that working with these tools is a notably different experience than any other we’ve played with, for exactly the reason that it occasionally tricks you into thinking that it has a mind of it’s own. It inspires a little romance.

Not sure about the extremism/subversion/incestuous tech bubble thing. Sounds like a circle we would avoid like the plague :wink:


hi Mat, nice of you to chime in :man_facepalming:


you know, I occasionally find time to check in with music people between our ritzy lunches with tech billionaires :slight_smile:


Herndon’s post uses the following terms/phrases to describe the software: “she”, “parents”, “her godmother”, “her mother’s voice”, “godfather”, “collaborating with her”, “non-human entities… to witness”.

That’s treating software like a human. Software is not a species. It’s not equivalent to humans or other animals. This is all creepy because y’all seem to sincerely imply that programmers are creating life. Imagining software branded as living “entities” will inevitably be used maliciously for profit and control (like ever other algorithm + platform associated to music these days). So it’s worrying to see artists leaning into this pattern, as they’ll be the vanguard normalizing this.


Can’t speak for H, but I also agree with your concern that anthropomorphized software will indeed be used for heinous things in future. So probably worth hashing that out. Arguably this has already been normalized by literally every kitsch depiction of a humanoid AI over the past century.

We didn’t opt for that approach deliberately - Spawn is actually quite free to be whatever she wants to be, which is far more interesting to work with :slight_smile: