Red Bull Mind Gamers Round 5: Music

Another week, another round of Red Bull Mind Gamers finalists.  

This time around, I’m particularly unqualified to be a judge since I am not very well-informed about music.  I know where the notes fall on a treble clef, and if pressed I could probably draw them on a bass clef, too.  But I cannot tell you the difference between B sharp and C flat if my life depended on it.  

Regardless, I will judge to the best of my limited ability here and cast my vote.

It’s a Brain Thing (Mike P)

Mike follows Red Bull’s guidelines to put together a composition lauding the brain (literally, as the crux of the composition is that it works in parts of the brain as puns).  However, it comes across as more of a poem recital than as music.  

Mike himself apologizes at the end of the composition, which is kind of funny.

Ugo P (Abnax)

I think this is a place where my lack of familiarity with modern music comes into play.  I don’t know how to classify this one.  Hip hop, maybe?  It’s got a nice beat to it.  I’m curious if the background music was developed using one of the music generation tools I was exploring when I read the rules of the contest- if so, good job on implementing that.

The words flow strangely, with a lot of evocative adjectives and lines that don’t really seem to connect with each other.  It reminds me of a story from my own life…

When I was in the 9th grade, one of my English class projects was to put together a poetry portfolio.  We needed about 30 poems so I had a ton of room to experiment.  For one of them, I dumped a lot of heavy imagery and bold adjectives into a pseudo narrative.  It was the only poem of the set I got an A+ on.  There was no deeper meaning behind any of it, but it sounded like there was, and if someone studied it long enough, they could probably find a theme.

That’s how I felt about Abnax.  The only repeated line is “Bury your holes and shout out your howls, become your own whole.”  If I squint at it I can come up with some kind of message about empowerment, but I don’t want to read too much into it.  It also doesn’t seem to be an ode to the mind the way Red Bull was requesting.  Some of the lines evoke mind skills (logic and memory are the most explicit).

Maybe I’m just not artsy enough- points for coming up with a solid beat, but the words didn’t really resonate with me.  Though I will say, if I find out the lyrics were written via AI, I would declare this winner instantly.

Soundtrack in My Mind (Lisa G)

This one is a guitar-based song that tells a little bit of a funny and sweet story.  

“Hey you, I’m really bad in memories, maths, and clues, but my music skills are genius because of you…”

“Hey you, don’t feed my mind with numbers, give it muse, I’m overthinking lyrics just because of you…”

Lines like this are sung over a basic guitar beat- it’s pretty simple, pretty funny, and exactly what Red Bull wanted for this contest.


I’m voting for Soundtrack in My Mind this round.  It’s exactly what Red Bull was looking for, both in this round, and for the contest in general- to have a representative of each of the mind skills.  

It also touches upon why I’m a little sensitive that I won the Visual round…  I’d be a much better Logic guy than Visual guy, and even though I could hold my own in a number of categories, I’d love to represent the one closest to my heart.  I’m still happy to have my ticket punched to the Discovery Lab, but I’ll never know how my Logic entry would have fared in the judgment.

My Own Entry

I didn’t submit an entry for the Music round, but I downloaded and experimented with a bunch of different free music generation software tools.  None of them did exactly what I wanted, but I found a few that got close.

Had I entered, my plan would have been to start with a simple repeating beat, plain but catchy.  Then I would have added tones over the beat to write out words/phrases in Morse code related to the Red Bull mind skills.  This would have avoided me needing to sing for the contest- trust me, it’s better that way.

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