What happens when you take an already complex song and increase the complexity by an order of 50? Black MIDI happens. It's a form of music that counts the number of notes in a song in millions, when a typical pop song counts notes in the thousands, and it's a trip. The music was recently detailed by Rhizome, an organization that is dedicated to the creation, presentation, and critique of tech-based artistic practices.
Appropriately described by Gawker's Adrian Chen as evoking "a robotic squid with thousands of high-powered servo arms pounding a 360-degree piano inside the center of the sun," it's fair to say that Black MIDI is not for everyone, but if you can get past the noise, there's beauty to be found in the chaos.
There's beauty to be found in the chaos
"Necrofantasia," a track from the '90s bullet hell shooter Perfect Cherry Blossom, is already a highly complex track with over 70,000 notes. It's been adapted by many "Blackers," the artists who create Black MIDI, with note counts ranging from "just" a million notes all the way up to 53 million and possibly beyond. The higher the note count, the more abstract the music, with a 4.2 million-note version uploaded by TheTrustedComputer remaining a surprisingly coherent adaptation.
Another favorite of Blackers is "Bad Apple," a track from Lotus Land Story that's been adapted to feature over 100 million notes. The version embedded above, from prolific creator TheSuperMarioBros2, is probably the pick of the bunch. Sit back, watch 4.6 million notes flow before your eyes, and soak it all in.