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Brian Eno Back to Ambient Roots, in iPad App with Peter Chilvers, Upcoming Album

Brian Eno’s influence on music, particularly music termed “ambient,” is such that it might itself blend into the background. But make no mistake, work like Music for Films and Music for Airports has left an indelible impression on the sound of a lot of music, and moreover in how we think about sound and structure. A newly-announced album on Warp promises to return to the long-form, expansive compositional ideas of those works, in a 75-minute opus called LUX. (More on that at bottom, though we can’t hear it yet.) But perhaps it’s even more appropriate to look at Eno’s work …

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Generative Ambient Event Bots, Free in Ableton + Max for Live

Composing with rules instead of playing notes directly, composer Richard Garrett has built a series of generative, algorithmic, ambient note makers and processors in Ableton Live and the Max for Live add-on. (And yes, user-generated content continues to be a rationale for why many people would purchase Max for Live in addition to Live itself.) With loads of useful controls for duration, start, and voicing – and the ability to feed events into anything you like – the results in your own work could sound very different than what you see hear. But whatever your musical aspirations, you can check …

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dewan

Nodal Music Making Hands-on, as Creative Compositional Worlds Meet Synth Laboratories

What’s a “lab,” anyway? For music, any number of tools – software or hardware – can become gateways to creative musical explorations. Chris Stack joins us again to look at Nodal, Mac/Windows software that generates musical patterns from graphical maps of nodes, alongside hardware explorations. Along the way, Chris has some reflections on composition itself. -Ed. Sometimes life imitates art. Sometimes life imitates avant-garde art. Random events placed together can often form surprising harmonies, causing daily affairs to resemble an aleatoric composition. This concept was brought to mind by the juxtaposition of a pair of recent events. The first was …

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Nodal: Generative Music Software for Mac (Free for Non-Commercial Use)

If you’re interested in generative and algorithmic music – music that evolves organically rather than being pre-composed in start-to-finish linear fashion – you won’t want to miss this site. Nodal is a free (for non-commercial use) app for developing generative musical systems and transmitting MIDI. You’ll need a Mac (PowerPC/Intel) to run the software, but even if you’re on Windows or Linux, you’ll find a number of interesting research papers on the site. vinayk writes: The program is called Nodal – osx only, BEAUTIFUL interface, and FREE, it does a bit more sophisticated things but I basically plugged the output …

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M Interactive Composer: Retro Software, Now Intel Mac Native, Core MIDI-ready

Here’s a blast from the past — an algorithmic compositional blast from the past, that is. M is a unique piece of software for “interactive composition.” With patterns, cycles, and conducting options, you can create algorithmically-generated music, adjusting various parameters for sophisticated results rather than sequencing directly. It’s a totally different approach to working, something that’s easier to experience than to describe. M launched way back in 1987 and eventually support Atari, Amiga, Mac, and Windows; it was a big hit in the years afterward. The creators were David Zicarelli (now with Cycling ’74, and a sort of father to …

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Brian Eno, with Wright on Spore and Generative Systems, Sound, and Paintings

It’s pretty stunning to watch Brian Eno, one the major pioneers of our time in terms of thinking about musical form, onstage with Will Wright, one of the major pioneers of our time in terms of thinking about game design. Here’s Brian Eno in conversation with Will Wright, chatting about the kind of generative systems that drive their collaboration in Wright’s upcoming game Spore. There’s plenty of Web coverage of the game itself: here, they go the classic generative model, cellular automata, and talk about how an unbelievably simple set of rules can yield immense complexity. CA was developed decades …

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Mother of all Musini Music Toy Circuit Bends

The Musini began its life as an award-winning toy. The product description is hilarious: A perfect gift for rambunctious toddlers, the Musini music box provides a constructive way for children to channel their physical and creative energy. While kids step, jump, turn, and tap, the Musini’s patented MusicSensor detects their every move and translates it into a totally unique musical response, teaching cause and effect. A Style Dial encourages children to explore the five different musical styles, ranging from jazz to classical, and musical variation buttons offer four different interpretations of each musical style. (Some of us rambunctious toddlers here …

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Bent Derelict Spacecraft Keyboard, Musini Ambient Music Generator

Mike’s description: “It’s the type of artifact you might discover hidden away on a derelict alien freighter drifting aimlessly somewhere near the ancient center of our galaxy … There are mysterious faded glyphs on the buttons – the remnants of a now long dead language.” Mike aka Chronovalve writes CDM to share two new projects: a circuit-bent keyboard called Debris and the Musini, a children’s toy turned into a surprisingly sophisticated ambient music generator. Here’s the surprise: just because these are circuit-bent / DIY projects doesn’t have to mean they sound like glitchy chaos. One of the conversations I had …

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Music Scored by Bubble Gum on a Train Platform: Grime + Sibelius

Nat Jeanneret aka “funnel”, the musician and artist behind the CDM site design, has been busy at work on a new project: creating music my scoring those little spots of gum and dirt found on a train platform. It’s a great example of aleatoric music, not in the best-known sense of “pure” chance but in reflecting the patterns found in the world around the composer. Nat has made a video, as well, in which you can watch him convert bubble gum-on-platform music to Sibelius digital notation. It’s the ultimate digital music, in a way: the analog (erm, disgusting old bubble …

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Coding for Composers: Music-Friendly Library for Java, Free Processing Environment

Programming offers incredible possibilities for music creation, and with the free Processing development environment for Mac, Windows, and Linux, even non-programmers can get into the artistic horizons of code. But code doesn’t always think like composers do. That’s why the new sound library jm-Etude looks promising: New sound library: jm-Etude [Code & form] jm-Etude for Processing, and the Java library jMusic on which it’s based, allow you to structure your code more musically with notes, phrases, parts, and scores. Combine this with the Sonia synthesis library for Processing (or, for Java development, the corresponding JSyn plug-in), and you have a …

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