Albums to watch

PROTO

Holly Herndon

PROTO

Third album of experimental electronica / techno from the Tennessee-born, California-based producer and composer working with an AI program named "Spawn" created by Herndon and Mat Dryhurst

ADM rating[?]

8.0

Label
4AD
UK Release date
10/05/2019
US Release date
10/05/2019
  1. 10.0 |   The Skinny

    It’s great, difficult, enjoyable, rewarding, prescient – a notable work of art. It wouldn’t be surprising if the years to come recognise it as such
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  2. 10.0 |   The Observer

    It’s an album of dizzying, spiritual, science-fact beauty and bracing beats
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  3. 9.0 |   Clash

    At times it’s ugly and overblown. But it’s a collective vision, one that reflects back on our own inputs into the dataset as well as at our folk stories of survival and resistance
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  4. 9.0 |   PopMatters

    PROTO demonstrates that small data and machine learning can be used to evolve our practices of art, community, and tradition, using AI to enhance our most human practices
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  5. 9.0 |   Exclaim

    Herndon's palette overflows with euphoria-inducing sensations you might expect summiting a great mountain
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  6. 8.5 |   Spectrum Culture

    Herndon keys in on the notion that we might ultimately project ourselves into our synthetic children, but she takes a maternal outlook on things
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  7. 8.5 |   Under The Radar

    PROTO is a rare work that matches incredible conceptual ideas with accessibility for even the most passive of listeners
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  8. 8.2 |   Pitchfork

    A meditation on community, technology, and the future of, and beyond, the human species
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  9. 8.0 |   music OMH

    Proto is a very distinctive record, and its sound design is as astounding as we’ve come to expect from Herndon
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  10. 8.0 |   The Quietus

    Herndon’s work already has a precedent for recognising the close familiarity innate to the computer as it’s become, as she’s puts it, our most intimate instrument. But whereas her debut album Movement explores it insularly, Proto blows it up from its laptop camera-sized scope
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  11. 8.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    PROTO vacillates between ecstasy and anxiety, collapsing one into the other, and perfectly captures the conflicted feelings many possess as we face the future
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  12. 8.0 |   Q

    PROTO is well balanced between its human and digital masters. Print edition only

  13. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    Herndon counters the hysteria around AI with an album that presents it as a quizzical, cute pet on the leash of a human master: a sensitive, responsive part of the family
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  14. 8.0 |   The 405

    She’s done something that hardly anyone, musician or otherwise, has done in recent memory: She’s given us hope for the future
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  15. 8.0 |   Tiny Mix Tapes

    See review
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  16. 7.6 |   Resident Advisor

    Herndon is racing ahead, eager to plant her flag in the unknown territory where AI and art co-exist
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  17. 7.0 |   God Is In The TV

    While those unaccustomed to Herndon’s work could find the lack of consistent rhythm, lack of choruses and lack of lyrical clarity frustrating and counterproductive. Either way, I don’t know about you but I really want to meet the AI baby Spawn, that’s for certain
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  18. 7.0 |   Uncut

    While "Godmother" confounds with its sci-fi babble, the likes of "Alienation" and "External" suggest that a tune is a tune in any language. Print edition only

  19. 6.0 |   The FT

    The electronic musician employs an intelligent program to shape the contours of her soundworld
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  20. 6.0 |   The Arts Desk

    The results aren’t always beautiful but that, perhaps, is what makes them human
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