US-based composer Atif Afzal’s oeuvre is AI-driven

Engineer turned music director Atif Afzal’s hands are full of Hollywood projects

author_img Farah Khatoon Published :  09th October 2020 07:17 PM   |   Published :   |  09th October 2020 07:17 PM

Atif Afzal

Atif Afzal’s leap of faith – from a highly-paid engineering job to a soul-satisfying music career, paid off quite well. The 35-year-old New York-based talent has scored in international and homegrown films like Prague, Monsoon Shootout, That Sunday and more. Trained in Indian Classical music and Western orchestral music and opera, Afzal is parallelly working on artificial intelligence-driven World Music Hub, which the fitness freak believes will ‘change the entire way a music industry functions for film scoring.’ Afzal has finished working for The Twilight Zone, the American series, a while back, and here he talks about his AI-driven idea and more. Excerpts:     

World Music Catalogue sounds interesting. Tell us more.

Yes, it is one of the most exciting things I have worked on. I have previously worked on artificial intelligence-based products that react to the synapse signals produced by the human brain. This is my new venture and it is called World Music Hub. It is an artificial intelligence-based optimized world music search engine that helps music supervisors get the right track for their film scenes by just typing keywords. This will further evolve into a system that integrates the score for an entire film or episode based on the keywords. Not only that, but it will also stitch the entire score together and you have an AI-based music score at your disposal.

Also, how will it be affecting the music industry?

This can change the entire way a music industry functions for film scoring. It is like automating any industry. However, here, there is a difference since creativity is also involved. In World Music Hub, music will not be composed by AI. The music would be composed and recorded by real humans. However, the functionality has the intelligence to interpret parameters like scene length, previous and next scores, matching scales as per the circle of fifths etc. So, there is a lot going in this and can really increase the efficiency of the audio post-production at any level of film production. This is the next big thing. Mozart once never knew he could even record his symphonies; they just wrote staff notations. Today, they can be played on virtual synth instruments and symphonies are composed on digital audio workstations and recorded remotely using technology. So, the way music will evolve will keep changing for the better.

How was it working for The Twilight Zone and its soundscape?

The Twilight Zone is my second American series with CBS network. This was an interesting experience as the kind of music I composed involved a lot of research. It was influenced by South American tribal music portrayed cinematically. Every time I work with CBS, I have to stretch the boundaries and give my best creative output. Even in NCIS: Los Angeles, I had to be on top of my creative ability. NCIS is definitely one of the most popular and watched shows in the USA, and to compose for such great shows does give a huge creative satisfaction.

What are your upcoming projects?

I worked on a film Black Bud which is in post-production. The other film I composed for is DNA of Love. I am not sure of the release dates though. Internationally, I shall soon be starting composing for an Independent Hollywood feature film called Somewhere Quiet, which also happens to be a thriller. Also, I have been exploring various kinds of world tribal music and I am amused with the rich heritage of music every continent in the world has.