On Generative Music

My fascination with generative music, a form defined by Brian Eno as “music that is ever-different and changing, created by a system,” is one that (like the music itself) only grows and transforms the more I play with and experience it.

(An excellent primer on how generative music works )

After learning of the app version of Eno’s latest, REFLECTION (though not yet, I’m loath to admit, willing to shell out $30.99 to explore it), I purchased Eno’s earlier collaborations with composer and software designer Peter Chilvers — TROPE and BLOOM HD — and was entranced by what I can describe only as a zen garden of endless sound, colors and sound unfolding in infinite permutation across a smudged iPad mini held to the wall by a loose nail and a broken Five Below generic tablet case. Both TROPE and BLOOM are perfect accompaniments for writing: infinite and unobtrusive sonic landscapes that eliminate distracting choices outside the work at hand and thereby enable deeper focus on the choices one must make in said work.

Perhaps it’s the jazz devotee in me that finds generative music so intriguing, the bands I love (The Necks, especially) being systems unto themselves and of the medium in which they are creating, an organic, ever-evolving version of the generative digital systems of Eno, et. al; or perhaps it’s simply the remnants of the composer in me that are endlessly fascinated by the possibilities of infinite sound and the sonic explorations they inspire as both creator and listener.