Boring Blackalicious

I recently took the MIR Workshop at CCRMA Stanford (which I highly recommend) and got a chance to play around with python signal processing libraries including librosa. During the week one of the guest presenters used ‘Alphabet Aerobics’ by Blackalicious to demonstrate his source separation algorithm. This was a challenging piece of material because this track famously does not have a constant tempo and speeds up considerably throughout the song.

The thought struck me that it’d be way less interesting if the tempo was constant throughout, so this weekend I put my newly developed python processing skills to work and created ‘Boring Blackalicious’ – the constant tempo version of Alphabet Aerobics.

It uses librosa’s onset detection, beat tracking and tempo estimation functions to create a tempo map (with the help of some manual tweaking to correct the estimated tempos of the later segments, where the librosa functions had more difficulty keeping up).

The tempo map was used to calculate the correct rate to slow down each segment using librosa’s phase vocoder function. I used the phase vocoder over librosa.effect.time_stretch so I could tweak the fft length directly to get a better sounding result.

The python source is available here and you can listen to the original for comparison below!