Black MIDI songs will kill your brain and your computer

by birtanpublished on July 2, 2020

Have you ever been listening to a normal song
and thought, "I wish this normal song

had 280 million notes and took up 11 terabytes
of data and was literally unplayable on any

computer?" Of course, you're only human

MIDI is a shared digital language that lets electronic
instruments communicate with computers,

invented in the early 1980s to provide a technical
standard in the burgeoning field of electronic music

MIDI used to sound like this

Now MIDI is literally at the core of all pop
music — it's how keyboards and laptops and

samplers make Katy Perry records It's how
your ring tone works It's how you use a tiny

plastic guitar to play the "Freebird" solo
on Expert It's basically digital music air

It is in everything

Black MIDI is a sequenced MIDI file so dense
with notes, it literally just appears to be

jet black So instead of sounding like this

It sounds like this –

Uploaded on February 6th, 2011, that piece
of hypnotic mayhem from kakakakaito1998 is

the first-ever Black MIDI Although these
files were being traded online as early as

2009 in Japan, kakakakaito1998 an original
"blacker" Because naturally his subculture

has bad-ass lingo

These songs are created — or "blacked" as
the bad-ass lingo goes — by initially layering

multiple MIDI files on top of each other,
shortening the notes, and then presumably

offering some sacrifice to the pagan Gods
of yore because seriously this shit is insane

and no one who does it seems eager to divulge
the secret sauce

The visual side of black MIDI is as mesmerizing
as the notes themselves — of which that song

has 767 million There is an element of technical
braggadocio and one ups-manship to not only

the number of notes, but the presentation
The description of that video is simply "My

graphics card has enough memory to run this
without invisible notes :D"

Why? Why? Why? Bullet hell

The most popular blackened MIDIs all originate
with the Touhou project, a one-man enterprise

that has seen the release of 21 bullet hell
games in as many years The quintessential

Japanese shoot 'em ups, Touhou games feature
an unending reign of enemy fire and big tunes

That, for example, is a 2003 Touhou game called
Perfect Cherry Blossom And this is "Necrofantasia,"

a popular song from Perfect Cherry Blossom

In fact, the 10 largest black MIDIs, according
to the Impossible Music Wiki's leaderboard,

are all Touhou project songs But it's YouTube
so of course someone did "What Does the Fox

Say"

But in the end, the best part of any of these
songs is when the computer just gives up and

barfs pure black

That was Jingle Bells

When Adrian Chen wrote about black MIDI for
Gawker, he joked that we should expect Rihanna

to be stealing it within three months What
do you think? Could this blow up all weirdly

mainstream like sea punk? Like us know in
the comments, and be sure to subscribe for

new episodes of This Exists every week Happy
blacking

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