The Computer Accent
About the Film
To some degree making music has been a DIY experience. There are musicians who have pioneered their own signature sounds, created their own instruments, or modified existing ones. “Necessity is the mother of invention” and that describes musicians perfectly; always searching to take what is inside them and express it though melody. But what if the melody wasn’t created by a human?
This is the idea behind THE COMPUTER ACCENT, a new documentary directed by Sebastian Pardo and Riel Roch Decter which delves into the introduction of AI into the music creation process, following the band YACHT as they endeavor to see what the computer comes up with.
One good thing about this film is that it is an auditory and visual treat. Even if you aren’t into YACHT’s music and the idea of AI created music doesn’t interest you, THE COMPUTER ACCENT still feels like a concept concert video.
The movie explores the idea of creation, and the creation of ideas. It looks at ownership, auteur-ship, and how we interact as technology dependent fans with something that isn’t technically alive. It’s a head-y movie if you step back from it a moment and examine what the actual thesis is. Can electro-pop music be outsourced to a machine? Can ALL art be outsourced to a server?
This documentary comes at a very apt time when the average user is now getting access to AI-driven tools like Dali, feeding it input and getting a visual representation/interpretation by the computer as an output. These images are being shared, sold on the open NFT market, and commoditized. The question still remains, is it art?
The movie attempts to answer some of these important questions, using Claire L. Evans, Jona Bechtolt, and Bobby Birdman of YACHT as a conduit for experimentation and explanation.
The cinematography is a combination of frenetic images and interviews. The time capsule aspect of the imagery fits perfectly with the futuristic aesthetic of the film’s thesis. Watching Yacht manipulate technology is a combination of intense apprehension from this former IT person, followed by relief and wonder seeing the end result.
The three-year journey of the filmmakers and the band culminates in… what, exactly? It ends as you’d expect any journey towards creation by a band would end, with a concert (or several spliced together); using their newfound AI-driven music to thrill and entertain audiences.
THE COMPUTER ACCENT is entertaining and informative if you are a fan of AI and how it is shaping our future, or a fan of the band YACHT. The movie is one part band chronicle, one part TED Talk, and one part concert film. There is also an element of freedom from scrutiny that creeps into the movie. If the music isn’t accepted by the artists, or the public, then it’s only bad because of the computer, not the artists/musicians.
THE COMPUTER ACCENT has a modest hour-and-a-half runtime but packs in a lot of information, music, and visuals to treat the viewer. To some degree, it’s the best of both worlds of right and left-brained thinking, using creativity of a human and the algorithmic capacity of a computer to create something reminiscent of both.