Humans have pushed against the perfections of electronics for years. One of the ways they’ve done this is by designing effects pedals meant to distort the sounds of music. The pedals usually have evocative names (“Morley Emerald Echo”, “Happy Snake Lucifuzz Fuzz”, “Lovepedal Purple Pickle Vibe”). I had never really heard of these until Will from 608device scraped 669 pedal names from (with input from the stompbox fans at Could a neural network learn to imitate them?

If I trained a neural network from scratch, there probably wouldn’t be enough data for it to do more than memorize the short list of names and spit them back at me. So, I turned to a pretrained neural net called GPT-2, which I’ve used before. From the time it spent looking at huge sections of the internet, this neural net starts with a knowledge of which letters and words tend to go together in English. Using a colaboratory notebook set up by Max Woolf, I started with the pretrained GPT-2 neural net and then trained it for just a little bit on the list of effects pedals.

It is? kind of? spookily good at this?

A Tale Of Two Reverb Systems
A Room Like No Other
Best Damn Bass
Chuck Collins TinyTone Octifer
Meat Loaf Real Sweet Reverb
Boiling Point Coffee Deep Dish Fuzz
Cloudthunder Screaming Bird Tremolo
Damn Fine Aluminum Finger Wah Amounts Vibe
The Horribly Overgrown CIA Chorus
Release the Buffalo FLYBOARD Glamour Box
Blood Orange Overdrive
Beelzebub Wet Screamer Ear Flanger
Bigfoot Audio Radium Nitrate Distortion
Boogie Woogie Nonesuch Tones Embryo Chorus
Mr. Bubblegum Powered By God Tube Distortion

Although some of its names were a bit weirder.

Bat Face Down Under
K.S.Aji Sea Slug Chorus
Big Chocolate + Yellow Magic Delay
Big Cheese Big Cheese Box of Peas
Bite Outside The Bacon Battery
Me And A Big Bit of Cheese
Dentures Distortion Monster Dish
Blondie Moose Ant Farm Chorus/Vibrato
Anneliese Gillenamy The Nightlight Feminizer
Achtung Baby TinyMuffin Boost
Akahashi Harp of Confusion
Barton Junior Finger Pan Gelato Espresso Machine
Bare Knuckle Biochemistry Professor, Neuroscientist And Librarian

And these are… frankly a little unsettling?

Metalliv Robot Zookeeper
Machines Are People Too
Dangerous But Not Unbearably So
Beneath The Planet The Human Genome May Be Hacked
Am I really that Transhuman
Love and Sex Are A Mercy Clause
Atomic Brain Check Thank God We’re All Flying Again
Disastrously Varied Mental Model
Doomed To Think Or Predict in Chord Form
Dazzling So Beautiful Yet So Terrifying
Electric Sheep Fuzz
Empowered By the Power Of Mind Control
Misanthropic Fondue From the Oasis of Luxury Krautrock Parlor
A Shockingly Simple Method To Turn The Phrase, “I want this!,” Into Something Still Not Quite Envelope-Less Wheezy And Dreadfully Close To Normal

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