Dreaming Species


Dreaming Species is a listening experience for headphones in three parts. It imagines a world in which the human connection with animals begins to re-tune, using the shared processes of human memory and machine learning.



Across three episodes, this dream-like piece embarks on a journey into a world in which human connection to animals is re-imagined using the processes of machine learning. To engage with the crisis of biodiversity loss in the UK, Wilson collaborated with an AI neural net, using the voices of animals at risk of extinction and human voices, creating a new sonic language.

Combining multi-part vocal music, animal and machine voice, text and binaural recording techniques, Dreaming Species is the opening creative chapter of a multi-year research process, in which Wilson has explored the possibilities of machine learning to imagine new sonic meeting grounds for human and animal narratives.

dreamingspecies.com



background

Wilson collaborated with PRiSM (Practice Research in Science and Music) at RNCM, Manchester, to create the machine-generated voice in this project. She also collaborated with singers Peyee Chen, Adey Grummet, Simone Ibbet-Brown and Melanie Pappenheim to create elements of the music through improvisation.

This work was funded by Arts Council, England and created as part of Sound and Music’s New Voices programme, of which Melanie was a 2020/21 selected composer.

Following this, Dreaming Species enters its next chapter on stage as Oracle: a new live music performance for six voices, live electronics and projection premiering in 2025.

Dates and venues will be announced in summer 2024.




credits

Concept, score, text, voiceover & sound design
Melanie Wilson

Singers
Peyee Chen, Adey Grummet, Simone Ibbett-Brown and Melanie Pappenheim

Neural net training voices
Peyee Chen & Héloïse Werner

Neural net programmer
Dr Christopher Melen

Video artist
Akhila Krishnan


Website design, identity & additional video design
Graeme Swinton

Music facilitator
Yshani Perinpanayagam

Mentor to Melanie
Dr Sam Salem

Produced by
Fuel

Recorded at Urchin Studios, London

This work was funded by Arts Council, England and created as part of Sound and Music’s New Voices programme, of which Melanie was a 2020/21 selected composer.

Dreaming Species is part of a wider research project.
Warm gratitude to the vocal collaborators and musicians who have developed ideas with me:


Benoît André, Michael Betteridge, Sarah Cameron, Kate Huggett, Rosie Middleton, Robin Morton, Edmund Phillips and Rose Stachniewska.

A huge thank you for support and catalysis:
Emily Howard, Director PRiSM
Laonikos Psimikakis Chalkokondylis, Sound and Music

Thank you to ASDP for binaural head loan.







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