Listen To An AI’s Nightmarish Beatboxing

You've been warned.

12. 4. 18 by Victor Tangermann
Holly Herndon
Image by Holly Herndon

Beats By AI

There’s something deeply unsettling about listening to a neural network recreate music.

We’ve heard music composed and written by an AI. We’ve even listened to music produced by an AI. But have you ever listened to an “AI baby” recreate electronic beats using only the sampled voice of its creator?

No, we haven’t either. But that’s essentially what renowned composer and sound artist Holly Herndon has done in her latest release, “Godmother.” And to call it unsettling or unnerving would be an understatement. Listen for yourself:

AI Offspring

With the help of her partner Mat Dryhurst, Herndon fed electronic beats by artist Jlin to a neural network. They then reinterpreted those beats using only Herndon’s own — human — voice. The result is what Herndon and Dryhurst lovingly call “Spawn” or “AI baby.”


And before you recoil in horror, the music isn’t supposed to be appealing or easy to listen to. Herndon intends to confront the alien nature of artificial intelligence in her work.

“I find something hopeful about the roughness of this piece of music,” she wrote in a press release, as quoted by NPR Music. “Amidst a lot of misleading AI hype, it communicates something honest about the state of this technology; it is still a baby. It is important to be cautious that we are not raising a monster.”

READ MORE: Holly Herndon’s AI Baby Sings To Her ‘Godmother’ [NPR]

More on AI music: This Musician Created an AI to Write Songs For Him, And They’re Pretty Strange


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