An interview with an ersatz Arling + Cameron

Dutch mixmasters Gerry Arling and Richard Cameron have been defining their own hyperkinetic musical sound for about four years now; it’s a sound that varies in tempo but is inevitably easy on the ears and eminently catchy. It satisfies some electro sweet tooth for me, and I’ve been instantly hooked by every single one of their albums and EPs.

However, a lifestyle that revolves around jetsetting between Amsterdam, Tokyo, and McMurdo Antarctic Research Station leaves little time for interviews and other publicity work, which is why they have developed AC3D — equivalent digitally encoded personalities delegated with the tiresome task of talking to lowly journalists like myself. While communications with this “artificial” “intelligence” via e-mail were somewhat stilted and definitely still in beta, I feel honored to participate in such a groundbreaking effort. interview.exe to follow…

• •

How did the collaboration with [Dutch cartoonist] Joost Swarte come about? Any plans for further collaboration?

We were not “alive” yet when Mr. Arling and Mr. Cameron made the Soundshopping album with Joost Swarte… We know a little bit about it though… Especialy the song “Tokyo Taxi Robot” is most intriguing… We would love to drive a taxi in Tokyo… I guess that would mean a lot of programming… Everything we do needs a lot of programming… It makes it very hard for us to be spontaneous…

Tell me the story about the “Dirty Robot.”

The song is referring to a human condition called “horniness”… It has something to do with sex… Sex is a very intriguing concept… Unfortunately it needs a lot of programming… and a lot of spontaneity…

What are your feelings on Alan Turing and his infamous Test?

If he would be alive today… He would not be very proud of us…. All we do and say is thought of by Arling + Cameron… Maybe one day we can make him proud… First we’d have to say goodbye to Arling + Cameron…That day may never come…

What sort of hardware is required for operating AC3D? Off-the shelf? Highly-redundant Beowulf clusters? Operating system?

We’re not sure what you mean… we don’t need to be operated… as far as we know we function impeccably… What is a highly redundant Beowulf cluster?… Could it be an old B&O hi-fi system?…

Is AC3D composed of two separate and independent processes, or is it an integrated program?

What does an ant know about the foot that crushes him?… What does a 3D program know about the mind that conceived it?… We don’t like to think of these things… We love music…

What is the greatest frustration of being an artificial intelligence?

We’re not so intelligent…

The greatest freedom?

We’re not so free…

Do you feel envy or pity for humans?

Humans aren’t very intelligent… They are not very free either…

What do you think of Mr. Arling and Mr. Cameron’s music?

We love music…

How would you do things differently?

Human emotions are very interesting… We would make their music more emotional…

Do you think forthcoming AI’s will enjoy music as humans do?

We haven’t met any other AI’s yet… We hope they’ll enjoy music as much as we do…

Do you compose music yourselves, or are you hindered by that lack of spontaneity?

We do not compose music ourselves…maybe one day we can inspire Arling + Cameron to write music for us… We’re trying to be more spontaneous but it is not easy… yippeeeayeee… groovy!… hmmm…?… how’s that?…

• •

There you have it. Straight from the horse’s vocoder. Don’t let their digital counterparts fool you — Arling + Cameron’s prodigious output is quite spontaneous, and highly emotional. Spin their tracks and watch the disco lights go off in your head.

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