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.
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.