Russian PR studio RODNYA and Wild Turkey turn to neural networks and artificial intelligence to create a new sound
Jazz and bourbon. They go together like the sound of drum brushes and the double bass, evoking a husky, cool, smoky Americana. Even in Russia, this quintessentially American combination has an irresistibly romantic appeal.
That’s why when Wild Turkey wanted to connect to Russian consumers, they turned to the country’s jazz community. It also just so happens that 2017 marked the 100-year anniversary of the first ever jazz recording on a vinyl plate – what better moment to explore the link between bourbon and jazz?
However, they didn’t want to rely on easy nostalgia and together with their agency, creative PR studio RODNYA, they started to imagine what the jazz of the future might sound like.
The Moscow-based studio decided to marry up cutting edge artificial intelligence technology with the skill and craft of gigging jazz musicians. With the help of Vladimir Glazachev at Creaited Labs, they built up a neural network – that’s a computer system modelled on the human brain and nervous system – and fed it thousands of examples of jazz. The system began to identify trends and create its own music in response.
It was then the turn of renowned Russian jazzman Vadim Eilenkrig to interpret the system’s new music and transpose it into something that a real jazz band could play. “Actually, it was a very interesting idea, but being a conservative person, at first I was about to refuse to participate,” he reveals. “But then I understood it was a cool dare.”
The final track was revealed in a live performance at the Wild turkey Jazz Festival in Russia – a powerful collaboration between man and machine. And, perhaps, a glimpse into the future.