Brian Eno Has a Year


Brian Eno & Karl Hyde – High Life at Warp Records

Brian Eno wins Giga-Hertz Award for contribution to electronic music
Producer and musician takes home €10,000 for his lifetime of ‘musical transgression’ at prestigious ceremony

Brian Eno Net

Brian Eno Tagged on Soundcloud

Brian Eno Music on Facebook

Eno & Hyde’s High Life is, for me, one of the highlight’s of the year in electronic and experimental music. Obviously the recording contains a bounty of wonderful sound, yet what really brightened my appreciation was learning that the duo made the record in five intense days of dedicated collaborative experimentation.

This reminds me of how I work. Although Eno is more a spiritual influence over thirty years rather than a direct sonic influence, some of the rough experiments for my next records are somewhat Eno-esque in their being unfinicky, ambient, experimental outputs.

Kamelmauz: Evolusi Spontans Project

Kamelmauz - Evolusi Spontans
new Kamelmauz music, below via Bandcamp

What I’ve been doing with generative music is making systems — in the particular case we’re talking about, an app — which generates music. The way it generates, it is somewhat under your control, somewhat under my control, and some part out of either of our control. That’s a move from the picture of the composer as a kind of architect, to a picture of the composer as a sort of gardener. So you now think of the composer as somebody who plants some seeds, and then watches them grow. Brian Eno

Composer Dave Stafford inspired me to revisit Eno & Chilver’s deep generative app for the iPad, Scape. Stafford has been posting examples of his own “Scapexperiments” on youtube. It is a very deep app in the class of audio apps for IOS I term configurative-generative.

This melding of configurative with generative captures the entwined fundamental concept of this class of apps: the user/composer configures the app and then lets the app generate the sound world. The user/composer can dip back into the configuration if he or she wishes and guide to some extent–often to an unknown extent–the subsequent re-generation.

There is a lot of meta hanging in the background because, given generatively, in the operational context are features that are: random, guided by hidden formulas, emergent, uncontrollable, unpredictable, indeterminate, and, autonomous.

One crucial meta aspect of such operations is that the user/composer is neither the controller or conductor. Making sound this way is to partner with a mysterious colleague, to join with the ‘machine,’ and to come face-to-screen with contingencies driven to highlight the chanciness of production.

This chanciness is part of any robust creative processing and production. However, usually, the creative effort is asserted to be necessarily centered on control rather than submission to chance.

iTunes podcast about Scape by Brian Eno & Pete Chilvers

Three apps plugged into three separate tracks Logic (on a laptop) and then being let loose to generate their magic.

iPAd Studio Set Up

The initial goal of the experiment was to see if Mike Giesen’s Drone FX would behave and play properly as a web-based application. It worked fine, running on an old MacBook. Drone FX’s interface was set to randomize the instruments and progressions, although I did do some responsive ADSR programming as it tipped into new configurations.

I used a dark, slow patch I devised on Scape on the iPad. And, the last track was input from an iPhone 4S using Immersion and another patch set to simply run and evolve.

The over-arching goal was to let the soundscapes evolve. This half minute video shows the set-up running.


Here’s an example of the raw three track rough mix.


I intervened a couple of times to refine the Scape patch and ride the envelopes in Drone FX. Later, after reviewing more than an hour of raw recordings it became clear that the ripest soundscape could be derived from melding the three track raw mixes together. This was a conscious decision to utilize the rough three tracks recordings and build up a finished track from, in effect, layering edits (or slices,) on top of one another.

full track:

Kamelmauz: Limber I Monos Om (mini ep)

This new set follows from the surging iPhone band-in-a-hand moment. It refers to a truly odd collaboration made possible by the strange new world of the iPhone, its so-called apps, and the kinds of sonic exploring the technology makes possible. Originally I was just biding my time, waiting for the iPad, and knowing eventually be plugging it into the studio machinery.

But the iPhone came along and with it–soon enough–came a slew of app-driven opportunities, including the most prime ones of all, courtesy of ambient giants Brian Eno and Steve Roach. I have collaborated with each, and with their colleagues, in these two slow, ambient pieces. Almost anybody who has an iPhone knows what I’m speaking of–Bloom, Trope, Air–in the latter case, and, may well also know of the fine Immersion Station app of Steve Roach and Eric Freeman. (Visual mixing is very cool!)

The odd point is that none of my collaborators know they have served as my collaborators! Yet, it was inevitable I was headed toward plugging iPhone/iPad into my digital rig and into Logic and force such collaborations to bear sonic fruit. Several other apps were used; I didn’t keep notes for the ninety minute exercise cum experiment. And, at the end, I did process the tracks in the convolution reverb studio and did a down-and-dirty (what I term,) mixmaster.

The overarching formula for each piece is: Intro (Eno) / Outro (Eno+Roach.)

As always, full digital, free download are available at Kamelmauz-Soundz Bandcamp for the savvy and well-equipped soundnaut.

Intro i