XJ Music Brings Innovative Algorithmic Approach to Video Game Music While Maintaining Its Human Character  

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Interactive media such as video games rely heavily on music to create an immersive atmosphere, providing deeper emotional impact, and serving as a feedback mechanism for the player’s actions, letting them know if their character is in danger or a pivotal moment is approaching. Many players say that background music is almost as important as the story itself, with many memorable scenes made iconic by outstanding music. Even the most visually stunning video game, when played without music, feels sterile and falls flat.

Many of today’s video games feature expansive open worlds that give the player the freedom to do virtually anything they like. This nonlinear gameplay creates multiple scenarios and various conditions that trigger different background music tracks. Many modern games use AI algorithms to generate specific scenarios for the player, ensuring no two gameplays are alike. These algorithms should also extend to music, making the game’s soundtrack more adaptive and interactive.

As with AI-generated visual art, there are issues about creativity and quality when it comes to algorithmic music. Some composers feel that algorithmic music lacks the passion of an original soundtrack composed by an experienced music professional.

Thus, there is a need to find a middle ground between using technology to create more dynamic experiences while still conveying the human emotion felt in a composed score.

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Credit: XJ Music

Caption: Company logo

XJ music is a new algorithmic medium that allows artists to create background music for media such as video games, live streams, and environments, adapting to events to ensure a more realistic and immersive experience. It is a patented (US10446126) technology that creates unique, never-ending musical compositions. This technology could transform music production and consumption, particularly in the digital space.

XJ utilizes a versatile template that accepts various inputs, such as content, programs, and instruments from many libraries. XJ’s complex playback functionality is powered by a feature called the Nexus, which meticulously reads the content and constructs an ongoing sequence of segments. Each segment, unique in its timeline placement, composites and preserves all the content employed to forge it.

Multiple types of instrument audio are utilized formulaically within XJ, such as ambient, performance, and transition audio. This creates a cohesive, dynamic, and robust sonic experience. Hence, XJ combines all these elements to generate a beautifully organized and harmonious audio segment, providing a user-friendly, intricate, and comprehensive approach to music creation. Unlike other music generation programs, XJ has a wide variety of features that go beyond just looping the music and going from scene to scene.

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Commissioned Caricature of Charney Kaye for Podcast

Credit: Artist Daniel Jardim

Despite this sophisticated algorithmic approach, XJ is based on the core principle that music is human. Its founder, Charney Kaye, is an artist, DJ, musician, hacker, and avid video gamer. Kaye believes that AI algorithms can never replace humans in the realm of music and that XJ are just tools for composers and music directors to use to create better video game scenarios.

Kaye says that small, independent game studios, who previously bought royalty-free music to use in their games, will be shifting to using generative programs for all their music needs. However, on a large scale, he believes that the industry will still rely on human creativity. A music composer may utilize any AI generation. Yet, more is required to solve the core problem of structuring and addressing a massive aleatory musical composition in a live playback setting, such as a video game.

“I believe that people are very wary of solutions that promise turnkey, note-by-note musical generation,” Kaye says. “People who have devoted their careers to differentiating their work in terms of quality are not swayed by these general-purpose solutions. From what I’ve seen, most of the algorithm-generated stuff has not been impressive. They’re just neural networks that are remixing low-quality music into more low-quality music.”

According to Kaye, XJ is not intended as a substitute for original music composers in the age of AI. Instead, he believes XJ will be an additional tool in the kit for composers, allowing them to produce a different level of work and elevating their capabilities. The XJ music team is looking to get in touch with video game studios and other media creators, working closely with them to develop custom-made algorithmic music solutions.

“Generative AI is inevitably becoming a bigger and bigger part of creative processes,” Kaye says. “However, for quality, people want to have control over their art – they want to know what that finished product is going to sound like. What we’ve done here is create an instrument that allows human beings to make generative music and realize some new possibilities based on their existing ideas. This technology doesn’t make the average person into a musician, but it does allow the experienced musician to express a musical recording across time and space in previously inconceivable ways.”

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