Experimental / Contemporary / Krautrock

Sudden Voices – I Knew You At Once

by Louise Jaunet

You’ve probably never heard about the band Union Wireless. Actually, neither had we, until we found out about, through a happy accident, the new project, Sudden Voices, launched by Ben Morris, a reborn artist from the ashes of his unknown flying project from the 1990s after a long hiatus. This new London-based group keeps the experimental aspect of the previous space jazz band and refines its improvisational krautrock side inspired by Faust, while making the melodies more accessible by summoning a sort of spiritual hope in the chanted vocals and choirs, evoking the “Spirit of Eden” of Talk Talk.

For the video of the new track “I Knew You At Once,” Ben Morris uses Midjourney, an AI-image generator platform launched in 2022 as “an independent research lab exploring new mediums of thought and expanding the imaginative powers of the human species.” You’ve probably already crossed paths with this new art form through your scrolling machines, as the growing trend of this AI program notably gained attention by generating photos of Pope Francis wearing a fancy white puffer coat, of Donald Trump being arrested, or of French President Emmanuel Macron working as a garbage collector. Despite being fake, it’s hard to underestimate the fact that these randomly widespread pictures hold the potential to somehow reflect some accurate ideas we all hide in the back of our collective unconscious mind.

The video created by Ben Morris feels like a visit to an AI art gallery, like a selective reconceptualization of the history of visual art from Hieronymus Bosch, Botticelli, Leonardo, Velasquez, Goya, Turner, Picasso, and even Richard Avedon. Most artists might think that art generated by AI will lead to the devaluation of human achievements, but the new collaboration between humans and AI in the world of art is here to stay. It can’t be stopped and it will continue to shape the way we think about art and aesthetics for years to come. Like a single living entity that contains all beings and knows you at once, the act of creation in itself is an attempt to enter a mysterious realm. Set your biases aside, read between the lines of code, and look at the work in its own terms, as if it was made solely by a human, not a machine. Art has always been a portal to the unseen world. Space will still be the place.

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