The Australian team came up with the remarkable idea of using a neural network and training it on audio samples of Australian animals including koalas, kookaburras and Tasmanian devils.

Team Uncanny Valley

Country: Australia
Song: Beautiful the World
Team members: Charlton Hill, Caroline Pegram, Justin Shave, Dr. Oliver Bown, Dr. Alexandra, L. Uitdenbogerd, Dr. Brendan Wright and Sally-Ann Williams

On the internet: Blogpost and YouTube

AI trained on koalas

Team Uncanny Valley is passionate about algorithmically generated work. The Australian team came up with the remarkable idea of using a neural network and training it on audio samples of Australian animals including koalas, kookaburras and Tasmanian devils. They were inspired after collaborating on a project with Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney, which uses machine learning to advance music innovation. Uncanny Valley sees their work as a response to the huge forest fires that devastated Australia early this year and which took the lives of many animals. Their message is one of hope that nature will recover and triumph.

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fun DNA

An AI trained on Eurovision songs was solely responsible for the melody and the lyrics of Beautiful the world. The team is open that the humans played a major role in production, in that they utilised a producer and real vocalists to bring to life a song generated by an AI. “However, one major difference is that we used actual audio output, generated by an AI trained on Australian animals, in the final recording.” The team’s main priority was that the song should be ‘fun’. Partly because this is an intrinsic aspect of the Eurovision Song Contest, but also because it’s in the team’s DNA, they explain. Also, it had to be a song you could play on your guitar around a campfire.

‘It had to be a song you could play on your guitar around a campfire.’

Uncanny Valley is what you’d call a multidisciplinary team. Members of the team have a variety of academic backgrounds including maths, computer science, social anthropology, evolutionary and adaptive systems, music & computer science and interactive design.

In terms of music, several team members also have robust resumés. Justin Shave has produced songs for renowned artists including Sia and Darren Hayes. He is also co-founder of music tech collective Uncanny Valley with songwriter Charlton Hill, collaborating with producer and strategist Caroline Pegram alongside their data scientist colleague, Brendan Wright. Oliver Bown’s has produced tracks for electronic music legends like Aphex Twin and Four Tet and had compositions performed in Berlin at Club Transmediale. Alexandra Uitdenbogerd is an expert in algorithmic choral compositions and sonification and Sally-Ann Williams is the CEO of Cicada, Australia’s National Centre for Innovation.

lyrics of 'Beautiful the World'

[Verse 1]
Flying in fear but love keeps on coming (flying,flying)
Dreams still live on the wings of happiness (dreams still)
Flying from this world that has gone apart (flying, flying)
Open up the heart – I ain't scared no more, oh oh

[Chorus]
Welcome home, oh welcome home, oh oh oh... the world is beautiful the world
Welcome home, oh welcome home, oh oh oh... the world is beautiful the world
Welcome home, oh welcome home, oh oh oh... the world is beautiful the world

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[Verse 2]
Ding a dong, sweet song, thank you, darling
Open the door, no, it won't open the door, open the door (the door) the world we are, the things you see in your eyes
(dreams you know that you’ll never know)
the world would be a better place

[Chorus]
Welcome home, oh welcome home, oh oh oh... the world is beautiful the world
Welcome home, oh welcome home, oh oh oh... the world is beautiful the world

[Bridge]
Dreams are cheap, they can lead me crazy dreams Break your heart!
Their flames are vivid candles of hope
The Power of Fire, the power of fire…
The Power of Fire, the power of fire…
(dreams can save us)
The Power of Fire, the power of fire…
The music of the earth has arrived

Lu-lu-la, Love, love
Lu-lu-la, everything is black and white together.

[Chorus breakdown]
Welcome home, oh welcome home, oh oh oh... the world is beautiful the world
Welcome home, oh welcome home, oh oh oh... the world is beautiful the world
Welcome home, welcome home,
Welcome home, welcome home,
Welcome home, oh welcome home, oh oh oh... the world is beautiful the world
The world is beautiful the world