Here’s a very cool find by longtime friend of no notes Marc (Disquiet) Weidenbaum: Louis Armstrong’s classic take on “SJI” gets a serious makeover by way of a remix by San Francisco’s Christopher Abad/Aempirei.
In late August, Abad wrote in a single post on the blog of the Tenderloin District art gallery he runs, twentygoto10.com, about two separate events: first, that he had been in a bike accident; second, that he’d been “working on a generalized method for note detection on musical instruments.” His goal was to be able to have the computer transcribe what he played on his trumpet. “Needless to say, I inevitably failed,” he writes (at twentygoto10.com), “but I did come up with some novel audio filters during my fruitless research.”
In the manner of jazz musicians and computer programmers alike, he made use of his self-described “failure” and improvised, putting the notes of “St. James Infirmary” through the hombrewed filter and coming up with a version all his own, one that clocks in at a little longer than nine minutes. The result has the shape of the antique original (that lonesome chordal arc, and the requisite funereal pace) as well as the digital fixings of a contemporary rendition (notably the algorithmic pulses, as well as some glitches that suggest a dog barking). Abad has posted the C++ code of his little program, should you want to compile it and fiddle with the experiment.
I can’t top that description. It might take a coupla three listens to really hear “SJI” in the remix, but it’s pretty interesting.