There are music makers, and then there are the truly prolific ones. Enter Mirror Music [Simulation Theory]. With a staggering 35 albums released over the span of 18 years or so, their work rate could put even the most industrious musicians of the 60’s treadmill to shame. Impressive, to say the least. Now, onto the heart of the matter. Well, that’s where it gets tricky. And I’m aware that this might not be the answer you were hoping for when you turned to your friendly neighbourhood music aficionado for some enlightenment.
Let me clarify what this is not. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill music, conforming to standard song structures, if you could even call these tracks songs in the traditional sense. It doesn’t easily fit into any recognisable genre, and even verbose and made-up labels such as avant-garde cinematic experimentation seem inadequate for capturing the essence of what’s happening here. And it isn’t even music made in a conventional way, the shadowy entity(s) behind the Mirror readily admitting that it is built up using both regular studio tools and AI-driven creativity. Most tellingly, he/she/them/it/other say(s) that they come at the task with a Dadaist perspective speaks volumes.
You could argue that this album sits at the interface of music and machine, classical attitudes and modern potential. And I use the word classical to mean both traditional ways and ideas garnered from the orchestral and symphonic musical world. The music here often sounds like the result, not of conductors sweeping the baton to cue and coordinate the mass ranks of human players but of engineers leading banks of machines and synths and samples and programs to the same end.
This is most keenly observed on tracks such as The Nightmares of a Witches’ AI [Deep Berlioz Sabbat Dream], one of two tracks that references Hector’s romantic creations. And like all music, it isn’t made in a bubble, and as someone who appreciates both puns and high culture, (why should they be mutually exclusive) I love the jokiness of some of the titles. Transformed Tiger [The AI Dreams of Blake] is a fractured and fraught meander through chiming notes and scattered beats, and The AI is Bald [Seville’s Barber’s Day Off] reworks Rossini’s comic masterpiece into a grand and enchanting sonic soundscape
In Claw & Clutch [Cinemagraph], one of the few tracks featuring vocals, the timbre and delivery evoke memories of Gabriel-era Genesis, had Gabriel himself been a demo model for start-up investors in the Tyrell Corporation. The song unfolds like an elongated interlude from one of those enigmatic albums. And then there’s a suite of songs that evoke the essence of Kashmir, transporting the listener with electronic bleeps and sweeping soundscapes that somehow manage to evoke an exotic and oriental aura.
Even after this detailed exploration, I can’t help but feel that I haven’t quite done justice to the album. Not to its unparalleled uniqueness, its unconventional ways, its stirring and evocative sounds, or even its profound importance. Yes, importance. In an era where AI is increasingly permeating every aspect of life and creativity, the narrative often seems to centre on its potential harm, its encroachment on human jobs, and its supposed threat to artistic expression. eNuminous & Archimedes, however, represents a shift in the narrative. It’s the sound of AI assimilating into the creative process rather than challenging it. It’s the sound of the future of music, offering us a tantalising glimpse of what’s to come.
Play the full album HERE