Archived entries for celebrity

Now that we’ve been over the “What” of Hatsune Miku, let’s go over the “Why”. As in, why she’s important.

Pat commented yesterday that on stage Hatsune’s not that different from The Gorillaz live shows, and that her voice is still based on a real person’s voice. And he’s right about both of those things. The Gorillaz project animated performers onto a screen that masks human musicians, and Hatsune’s voice is built up from the phoneme recordings of a real person.

But her key difference from previous, similar things is that her plasticity, her artificiality, is COMPLETE. Absolutely nothing about her is real.

First, let’s think about her as an animated character.

Animated characters are tied to visuals and to voices. It can be argued that Mel Blanc was more key to popularizing most of the Warner Bros characters than their visual representations. The problem here is that Mel Blanc is a human, and humans, well not to spoil the end of your life for you, die. And when Blanc finally did expire, Warner had several years where they had to convince people that Bugs Bunny really sounded like this new guy, and not at all like that old, dead guy. Same thing with Kermit the Frog, or Tony the Tiger, or any character that’s deeply engrained in the social consciousness and voiced by a real human with an expiration date. Hatsune Miko has no expiration dates. Because her voice is created in a computer by the clever application of a few billions ones and zeroes, she’ll never get die. She’ll never get old, go through puberty, or ruin her voice with smoking and whiskey. A thousand years from now, she’ll sound the exact same as she does right now. She is the first voice of the future, because in the future she’ll sound exactly the same.

Now, let’s think about her as a commercial character.

Ultimately, Hatsune Miko was created as a bit of stunt by Crypton Future Media. They’re sound technology people. So, they made the apex of current sound technology. She was meant to raise awareness of the company that created her, and I’m sure her records sales are a nice bonus. Like Pandora and her box, Crypton’s unwittingly unleashed something on the world. There is no question that most Disney pop stars are trained and groomed from a young age to become billion dollar industries. There is also no question that Disney would probably love to not have said pop stars taking a chunk of their revenue and then spend it on things that get them plastered all over the front of grocery store tabloids. Making a pop star out of ray tracing and vocal synthesizers is one way to do that. And it doesn’t have to be Disney doing it, either. If a relatively small company like Crypton can do it, anyone can. Every new product or initiative could have a fake pop star attached to it, filling the air waves and fiber optic cables. And speaking as a guy in advertising who could pitch that to a client, this is fantastic and frightening

Lastly, let’s think about her as a musical character.

Touched on this a bit in the first one, but Hatsune and the future things like her, are fixed point in space. The point can be fixed as a 16 year old pop idol, or a 60 year old torch singer, or a 20 something folk-rocker. And since they are artificial, and built up by a team of people, they’ll never go off on some bizarre introspective tangent and make a record like Pet Sounds. Their music will be consistent, uniform across all of their releases. And if the people behind them ever get bored or want to try something different? They’ll just whip up a new vocaloid and create a new artist.

Hatsune Miko is important because of the simplicity of what she represents: The idea of an unchanging, easily replaceable commercial entity that you owe nothing to and will never do anything to embarrass or betray you.

While I could put money on their never being an indie-rock vocaloid success (ONLY because the hipsters won’t allow it, not because it couldn’t be good), I can’t put that same money on idorus like Hatsune Miko carving out a niche for themselves in pop music.

I give you Hatsune Miku.

A teal-green haired Japanese school girl that’s apparently holding a leek or onion or something in this picture.

She’s fake. Completely not real. She’s the intellectual property of Japan’s Crypton Future Media. And probably the most crystal clear vision of the future that I’ve ever seen.

Crypton Future Media makes sound…things. Mainly digital libraries of sounds or programs to generate those libraries. They’ve sold their products to video game companies, software developers, and even Japanese government agencies. After looking over the list of companies they’ve done work for, I’d be willing to put money that everyone with a toe in the digital world has probably heard their stuff.

So what is a glorified MIDI card of a company doing whipping up an anime character with an apparent obsession with vegetables of the Alliaceae family?

The answer lies in a translation of her name.

Hatsune Miku can be loosely translated to mean “First Sound of the Future”.

And that’s exactly what Hatsune Miku is. She’s a completely artificial anime-esque pop sensation. In a world where pop stars are more often than not manufactured people with equally fake personalities and musical talents, Crypton Future Media has taken a visionary step and gone ahead and cut out the fleshy animal medium entirely.

Here’s the result, performing live in concert:

Hatsune Miku’s voice is created through the use of Yamaha’s Vocaloid voice synthesizer technology. Crypton took the vocal patterns of a young female anime voice actor, Saki Fujita, and through some technical wizardry and the Vocaloid synthesizer, created their most important product yet – a pop star.

God, I can’t tell you how surreal typing that line was. Anyway.

When she…err…it preforms, it’s a pre-rendered holographic projects done against a semi-permeable screen that lets you see the band behind her (featuring some of the crew from Crypton Future Media) and gives an illusion of depth.

Check out this longer video:

William Gibson, the Father of Cyberpunk, was speculating about creatures like Hatsune over a decade ago in his novel Idoru. But some how, I don’t think this is what he had in mind. While she’s not the first, she’s the biggest and most popular digital synthetic artificial whatever pop idol created yet. Hatsune Miku really is the first voice of the future.

Albeit a very, annoying, grating, saccharine future.

More on this tomorrow.

Yep, thats Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation reading E.A. Poe’s “The Raven”. And if that’s not about the most awesome thing you’ll see today, I don’t know what to say to you.

Probably that you should stop mainlining a cocktail of DMT and peyote, but, hey, who am I to judge?

Yesterday, Lindsay Lohan was sentenced to 90 days in jail for violating her parole. She was previously arrested for driving under the influence, possession of cocaine and fleeing the scene of an accident.

She is a person whose current state is the direct result of us, The Consumer.

As a child she was trained and groomed by Disney into a teen pop star, producing saccharine movies and records that were as common as the horde of manufactured stars just like her.

Then, the moment she turned 18, she was whisked off into the land of adulthood. Sex and debauchery were her stock and trade now. Since then, she’s been kept alive by a steady diet of vodka, coke and selling herself to the tabloid press.

The criminal aspects of that life came to a head yesterday at her sentencing. And what did she have to say to the world of Consumers that had brought her there?

A celebrity is nothing more than a person created by the world that the world can tear down at any moment.

Lindsay Lohan is just another notch on the butt of our rifle.

Pictures via WWTDD.

Martha Stewart’s Dog Dies. 

Fuck you CNN.

Fuck you. 

Over the last month here are the most common search strings that lead to my site:

perfect breasts
the uncanny
the worlds perfect breast
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angelina jolie breasts
angelina fucking images
angelina jolies breasts
“angelina jolie”
angelina jolie in beowulf
angelina jolie fuck

So what you are telling me is that I need to post more pictures of Angelina’s tits?

CG has come just far enough to make a direct copy of Angelina Jolie’s breasts, but place them directly in the Uncanny Valley, thereby creeping everyone the fuck out.

For those not aware, wikipedia defines the Uncanny Valley as so:

The Uncanny Valley is a hypothesis about robotics concerning the emotional response of humans to robots and other non-human entities. It was introduced by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970, although drawing heavily on Ernst Jentsch’s concept of “the uncanny,” identified in a 1906 essay, “On the Psychology of the Uncanny.” Jentsch’s conception is famously elaborated upon by Sigmund Freud in a 1919 essay, simply entitled “The Uncanny” (“Das Unheimliche”). A similar problem exists in realistic 3D computer animation [1].

Direct link to the article on The Uncanny Valley is here.

The still is taken from the new Robert Zemeckis movie, Beowulf. Specifically from the redband (stupid fucking term) trailer found here.

I feel like I’m living that scene in the Simpsons where Homer yells out “I’m going to clown college and none of you are going to stop me!” and runs out of the room. Bart answers back “Well, I don’t think any of us expected him to say that.”

Yeah that’s what my brain did this morning when I saw this little bit on CNN.

Were there really people out there clamoring for these five women to get back together and do their thing again? And if there really were, why have we, as a species not risen up and dealt with those people?

Good God what the hell is wrong with the rest of you?

EDIT: Now with stultifying imagery.

When the first thing you see in the morning, and the leading story on the newsfeeds, is that a bigoted, vapid, self-absorbed semen depository got out of jail last night after serving a hacked down sentence for endangering the rest of us…well…it makes one sort of want to find the zeitgeist and beat him in an alley with a baseball bat covered in hammered in nails.

Good morning Zach, this is your hangover and its going to be one of those of days.

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