Holly Herndon & Conrad Shawcross
* Music created by Holly Herndon in answer to art creation, ‘The ADA Project’, by Conrad Shawcross
* Pressed on 180-gram heavyweight one-sided 12″ black vinyl
* Original composition by Holly Herndon
* Full colour outer sleeve with artwork by Conrad Shawcross
Conrad Shawcross found inspiration for ‘The ADA Project’ from Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) the mathematician (and daughter of Lord Byron). Working alongside Charles Babbage, inventor of the first proto-computer, Lovelace predicted that this complex counting machine “might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent”, pre-empting the birth of programmed music by more than a century.
The musicians, all of whom use electronic programming in their work, worked closely with Shawcross in his studio discussing Babbage and Lovelace’s discoveries, and studying the robot as it played out one of four programmed patterns created by the artist. Each distinctive pattern is based on ratios and drawings for the computer which Babbage never fully realised, a fact that provides added significance to the programming that depicts them and the computer generated music which they inspire.
For the project, four renowned female musicians created works in response to the movements of an industrial robot that has been hacked and programmed by the artist to create four unique choreographies. In this first-of-its-kind collaborative artwork, Conrad Shawcross takes a new approach to commissioning music, reversing the traditional process, so that the robot’s dance provides the inspiration and parameters for the music.
Using a combination of vocal processing, synthesis and recordings of the robot in motion, Holly Herndon attempted to emote the sentience implied in the robot’s movements as she curiously probes and surveys her environment.