Innovative recording artist Brian Eno has detailed an app-based “endless and endlessly changing” generative edition of his upcoming LP Reflection. The new ambient album, including the generative edition, is due out via Warp Records on New Year’s Day.
Eno’s follow-up to his 2016 album The Ship further expands his pioneering catalog of ambient releases, including his full length LUX in 2012. Composed of just one 54-minute title track, the generative edition of Reflection was developed by Eno and his long-time collaborator Peter Chilvers. Here’s more from Eno on the generative Reflection versions being made available on Apple TV and iOS:
Reflection is the most recent of my Ambient experiments and represents the most sophisticated of them so far. My original intention with Ambient music was to make endless music, music that would be there as long as you wanted it to be. I wanted also that this music would unfold differently all the time – “like sitting by a river”: it’s always the same river, but it’s always changing. But recordings – whether vinyl, cassette or CD – are limited in length, and replay identically each time you listen to them. So in the past I was limited to making the systems which make the music, but then recording 30 minutes or an hour and releasing that. Reflection in its album form – on vinyl or CD – is like this. But the app by which Reflection is produced is not restricted: it creates an endless and endlessly changing version of the piece of music.
The creation of a piece of music like this falls into three stages: the first is the selection of sonic materials and a musical mode – a constellation of musical relationships. These are then patterned and explored by a system of algorithms which vary and permutate the initial elements I feed into them, resulting in a constantly morphing stream (or river) of music. The third stage is listening. Once I have the system up and running I spend a long time – many days and weeks in fact – seeing what it does and fine-tuning the materials and sets of rules that run the algorithms. It’s a lot like gardening: you plant the seeds and then you keep tending to them until you get a garden you like.
Generative Edition Screengshot
Generative Edition Screengshot
The app-based edition comes alongside more conventional vinyl LP, CD, digital download and streaming offerings. “Moving the composition into software allowed an extra opportunity,” said Chilvers. “The rules themselves could change with the time of day. The harmony is brighter in the morning, transitioning gradually over the afternoon to reach the original key by evening. As the early hours draw in, newly introduced conditions thin the notes out and slow everything down.”
Follow this link to pre-order Reflection.
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