This AI-based music synthesizer might just change how you make music

Introducing SPIN, which allows you to make compositions using the AI language model MusicGen.

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SPIN: AI-music synthesizer

Image: Arvind Sanjeev

On today’s episode of ‘wacky instruments you’ve probably never asked for’, we have SPIN, an AI music synthesizer that lets you make compositions with the language model, MusicGen.

Developed by designer Arvind Sanjeev, the machine – which kinda looks like a cross between a turntable and a Novation Launchpad – offers a tangible interface for co-composing music with AI.

Simply enter the desired mood, genre, sounds and bpm, and listen to the music come alive on an LP record. A DVS (Digital Vinyl System) lets you slow down, zoom in, scratch and listen between the notes. You can use it to create new compositions, as a simple sound synthesizer, as a scratch tool, or to play generative music in the background.

Beneath its wooden hood, SPIN takes the input prompts via button presses through an Arduino Mega. This is sent via serial to a Raspberry Pi that prompts the MusicGen API, which spits out an mp3 file that’s then loaded onto the DVS.

For the turntable, a transmuted Numark PT-01 and a timecoded control vinyl record were used. The xwax DVS package for Raspberry Pi, meanwhile, reads the vinyl timecode through a Behringer audio driver, and all output is played via stereo speakers.

Of his process, Sanjeev explains: “There are a lot of amazing generative music experiments, from Dadabots’s relentless death metal streaming AI on YouTube to Holly Herndon’s experiments around voice transplantations.”

“But I realised we hit a tipping point when I stumbled upon the Riffusion music model; I was taken aback by its depth and realism, including its new update that adds lyrical voices to the output. Inspired by this, I wanted to build a platform to let me further explore and combine never-before-heard combinations of music and sounds. This laid the seed for building SPIN.”

Check out the synthesizer in action below.

Learn more at Arvind Sanjeev’s website.


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