Word Gen

16/03/2013

A few months ago my band started writing some new material and I was tasked with writing the lyrics for the new songs.

I used to enjoy writing lyrics, but I must admit that it’s probably been a good year or two since I’ve really felt I had anything to say or anything to write about. It was not a task that I was particularly looking forward to.

Instead of spending weeks searching for inspiration, the result of which would probably be a few cliche ridden lines, I decided to try a new approach.

Naturally I began working on a Pd patch.

I created a simple patch that would randomly choose from a predetermined word bank, and output lyrics to a text document, which I could then open, edit and print.

It was a bit of an experiment, and there was a bit of me that was expecting the results to be unusable nonsense.

I was however, pleasantly surprised with the results.

I created 4 sets of lyrics, making a few changes to the words in the word bank for each. I then went through each set, removing some of the nonsense, and making a few adjustments here and there to improve the pace and scan of the lyrics. I was careful not to begin asserting too many alterations however, trying to keep what I had as true to the initial results as possible.

I then took these  lyrics to band practice, and began dipping in and out, seeing which bits worked where and for which songs.

After a few further and final adjustments, I was left with what I consider to be some pretty cool lyrics.

I’m always fascinated with how our brains look for patterns, and look to make sense of the things around us. If you look at the final lyrics I have, I don’t think anyone would guess that they were created in a pseudo random fashion. I think people might actually try and make sense of them, establishing a vague narrative and perhaps trying to draw some kind of meaning.

I can’t help but draw some comparisons between the technique used for creating these lyrics, and other techniques I have used in the past for creating music, most noticeably my MultiLoop Performance Tool, and what would become ‘Playing the Weather’.

WordGenScreenShot

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