AI-powered synthesizer lets you create tailored music just by pressing buttons

AI has become a powerful and controversial tool that’s being applied to the creation of many things in different industries. The most well-known are, of course, images and text, but these same technologies can also be applied to other fields, even ones that are considered to require more human creativity than others. Music, for example, is believed to be an art that’s hard to master and difficult to quantify in a way that would be of use to AI, but that’s exactly what’s happening here with this “artifact from the future.” That said, the suitcase-sized synthesizer doesn’t completely wrest the act of creation away from your hands but turns it into a creative collaboration between man and machine.

Designer: Arvind Sanjeev

Imagine having to only press a few buttons and you’ll have tunes that are specifically crafted to suit a given mood or genre. Most synthesizers simply give you the raw controls to mix and match to your heart’s content, but you’ll have to draw from your own creativity to actually come up with a pleasing harmony tailored to fit that situation. SPIN, the name for this AI-powered music synthesizer, actually helps you in this creative journey by serving ready-made ingredients to put into your mix without taking anything away from your freedom. It’s like the difference between buying a can of tomato sauce for a recipe versus making your own from scratch.

SPIN has buttons for different moods, genres, and sounds that you can mix and match to your heart’s content. How does happy death-metal disco sound? Why not try some dark jazz opera to really turn heads? Not every combination is going to work, of course, so you’ll still have to step in and fine-tune it to your tastes, no pun intended. And with sliders for BPM or duration and a turntable to scratch, you also have the tools to make your own style shine, with or without AI’s help.

The synth is just as much a work of art as it is a demonstration of the power of AI. A variety of off-the-shelf components are assembled to provide the brains and muscle behind the scenes, almost literally. You won’t see any of these while using SPIN, as all are hidden behind an interface and a design that’s meant to encourage playfulness and experimentation. Even the choice of bright yellow and white colors, unusual for most synth designs, emphasizes that rather jovial character.

Generative AI has been receiving a lot of flak, in no small part thanks to abuse and misuse of the technology rather than anything inherent. SPIN is an attempt to reverse that perception and present AI not only as something approachable but even fun to use. Given how it works, you won’t even have to worry about infringing on anyone’s copyright or intellectual property, leaving you free to explore that harmony between human creativity and machine learning.