Friday, April 13, 2012

Computer Generated Music?

Special Effects technology in film has brought us marvels such as completely computer-generated characters like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Such effects have been utilized to complete a film when an actor dies during production (Brandon Lee in The Crow and Oliver Reed in Gladiator are two examples).

Rumors abound that George Lucas had all of the original cast members of The Star Wars trilogy digitally scanned after completion of Jedi.  Lucas wanted to eventually continue the trilogy with computer-generated versions of the actors.  At the time the idea seemed preposterous.  If the technology advances to the point where the CGI becomes indistinguishable from real life, Lucas’ foresight might not be easily dismissed. 

Computers can make the visual duplications of stars—both living and dead—but when will the technology allow the audio to be faithfully duplicated?  I’m not trying to dismiss the original; there will never be a replacement for a Springsteen, Benatar, or Gabriel.  But I would be curious to hear a computer replication that would allow rock stars to have one last chance before the microphone.

Like the comic book fan that ponders the implications of team-up like Superman and Indiana Jones, I ponder the potential of a song sung by Steve Perry and Freddie Mercury.  The possibilities would be endless, and most would be absolutely terrible.

I don’t want to see something like this become an acceptable wave of music culture.  Instead, this is done for the sheer hypothetical curiosity.  This is a day and age when ‘what might have been’ has been replaced with let’s see how it would be.  But it’s time that the audio caught up with the visual. 

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