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PROTO Image
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 27 Ratings

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  • Summary: The third full-length release for the electronic artist was created with the help of an A.I. program co-created by Herndon and Mat Dryhurst called Spawn and features guest appearances from Annie Garlid, Lily Anna Haynes, Evelyn Saylor, Spawn, Jenna Sutela, and Martine Syms.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 18
  3. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. May 13, 2019
    100
    The continuity stressed between body and tool, folk history and future, like the work of Meredith Monk or Björk, lures the listener away from the twin traps of techno-evangelist complacency and technophobic retreat with sweet inspiration.
  2. May 13, 2019
    90
    The album is full of anticipation. 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.
  3. May 14, 2019
    90
    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.
  4. May 10, 2019
    80
    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.
  5. Q Magazine
    May 14, 2019
    80
    PROTO sometimes hews close to well-worn dystopian tropes, and the child narrator and see-sawing breath sounds of Extreme Love are undeniably annoying. But Herndon's creative restlessness and textural mastery sustain interest across 45 minutes. [Jul 2019, p.108]
  6. May 10, 2019
    80
    The whole album wobbles with the uncertainty of potential. The composition tumbles between folk, pop, techno and computer music. Sometimes it’s unrefined like the untethered looping of ‘Bridge’ and sometimes dazzling and terrifying like ‘Crawler’, a track that builds toward the edge of sentience--but it’s never short on ideas.
  7. The Wire
    May 7, 2019
    30
    Most of the vocals elsewhere are unintelligible, blurred between endless layers of patchworked echolalia or overlaid with metal grid sheen and a mesh of hissing and crunching, skittering beats far removed from any sense of body based, physically entrained rhythm. But ultimately it’s just a shonkier version of the cut-ups and vocal splices Herndon’s been working with since her 2014 12" Chorus. [May 2019, p.52]

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Mua
    May 21, 2019
    10
    Biblia del poc putariana desea cantar así. Artisimo, icónico, sucesor de medullarte.
  2. Jun 1, 2019
    10
    You will read a lot of reviews pointed to the technological significance of this album, but why Herndon's latest record is so important has toYou will read a lot of reviews pointed to the technological significance of this album, but why Herndon's latest record is so important has to do with the music present. The blend of the A.I. machine used (codenamed Spawn) to improvise and create vocals flow with the old fashioned use of chorales and layered vocal technique. In a huge way, Herndon takes everything we have learned so far with the glitch music genre and weaves it to a version of noise rock pioneered by so many others. This of it as a combination of My Bloody Valentine's 1991 album Loveless meets Solex's 2004 album The Laughing Stock of Indie Rock. Expand
  3. May 13, 2019
    9
    It is hard to distinguish between machine learning results and human involvement, and I guess those unearthly sounds are not meant to please,It is hard to distinguish between machine learning results and human involvement, and I guess those unearthly sounds are not meant to please, but this is something few have experimented before. Herndon's utilization of the AI-produced sounds, and the combination of the avant pop-based tracks and glitch influence, are themselves a kind of gesture and declaration, about our role and conflicted feelings towards a new era of technology. Expand
  4. May 14, 2019
    8
    Genius in every way! Holly creates sound between sound, life within life, and hope beyond the machine and the dark.
  5. May 10, 2019
    8
    What strikes me most about Holly Herndon's new album "PROTO" is it's ability to conjure difficult sounds and textures without fully exploringWhat strikes me most about Holly Herndon's new album "PROTO" is it's ability to conjure difficult sounds and textures without fully exploring their capabilities. This might turn most music listeners off, but the way Herndon controls this waning of her production is where the artistry comes through. It's much like grabbing a giant handful of sand and then letting the crystals slowly fall through your fingers to be swept away by the wind. Expand