scape – week three – a new spoken language emerges…

another week with scape, the application…and somehow, not quite sure how, in such a short time, but I find to my astonishment that I now have no less than 502 scapes.

I hasten to add, though, that in a number of cases, if I ended up with a scape that I really, really like,,,that I might well save it multiple times – usually, selecting some or all of the different mood filters, so I can hear it in 7 or 8 different “ambiences” – or sometimes, I might leave the mood the same, and save it with different backgrounds or even combinations of backgrounds.

even so – even with these extra versions…there are still an astonishing number of unique, one of a kind scapes. what a remarkable instrument this is!!!

events this week, well, the usual musical ‘gifts’ have arrived – a new background, some new elements, and so on…and I find I look forward to their arrival with an almost childish delight…

two new elements have arrived in the “spiky blue elements” category, and these two are remarkable – one looks like the top of a music stand, the other, like an asterisk – but all of the blue spiky family of elements are especially cool – because they MOVE when they play back – they are animated!

these two in particular I am really liking, because I wasn’t sure about the first three in this series – they are a bit harsh, a bit more disturbing than any other elements to date. I really struggled to use those first three ‘spiky blues’ – I could and did manage to create interesting enough scapes with them, but – they are a bit…musically uncomfortable (??) compared to most. so it was with a bit of trepidation that I received spiky blue elements four and five – but I need not have been apprehensive.

In fact, unlike the first three, I think they are now becoming some of my very favourite elements of all – and I am living much more comfortably with the whole blue family of elements now as well. my initial discomfort is dispelled and I ‘get it’ now…

another really, really remarkable yellow note element also arrived, this one with the most amazing echo/delay pattern, vaguely something like a really clever delay set up by the edge, only using an eno synth sound instead of a guitar. it has a beautiful, pure tone, and if, for example, if you set just three of these into an empty mood – you get a really lovely cascading, echoing, delayed set of notes that I can just sit and listen to forever…

in fact, that element, and the last few elements (including the whole spiky blue element family!) have had really intricate, amazing delays – and used together, for example, a scape built with this new ‘the edge’ yellow note element and say, some spiky blue elements 4 and 5, yields a wonderful, cascading scape of great beauty,

then, the latest new element, an incredibly quiet, ambient and amazingly beautiful bass guitar sample – that again, on it’s own, just sound astonishing…this is a light grey coloured triangle with two vertical black lines in it – one of the most ambient of samples, has arrived right in the midst of all the dissonance and disturbance of the blue spiky family…fantastic!

last night, another new element made an appearance in the “bells” section, shaped and coloured uncannily like the sun in the painting which is the cover of phil manzanera’s band ‘quiet sun’, the album entitled ‘mainstream’…a really gorgeous delayed bell that I am now thinking of as ‘the quiet sun bell’…

which brings me to comment on eno’s strategy with this tool – everything is hidden. you can’t name your scapes, they are just automatically numbered, and the backgrounds, palettes, and elements don’t have names – so I find, as a user, that I have developed my own language to describe these musical objects. so where normally I might say ‘it’s a sort of basic sine wave synth sound with a lush and complex echo and delay’…

…instead, I find myself now saying “it’s one of the yellow note element family, a u-shape turned upside down, with a clear sine sound with a complex echo and delay…” so since there are no instrument or voice names, just elements represented by coloured shapes – the whole descriptive vocabulary of music changes – and it’s all about colour and shape, sound becomes almost secondary except as a point of reference – the bell sounds are all rounded, and all pinkish-red, where as the note sounds are all yellow, the bass sounds, all black, grey or white triangles – and so on.

when I write about scape, I find myself talking naturally in this strange new language, a scape language, and then I realise, probably, only another scape user will have any idea what I am going on and on about, when I talk about “spiky blue elements” – but if you are a user, you know exactly what I mean 😉

so – it’s been another brilliant week of scaping, a little uncomfortable during the early spiky blue element era, but it’s rounded out beautifully with all the amazing new tools that have arrived since then – and still, so much more to come – I cannot wait to see what will arrive next week…

keep on scaping…502 and counting 🙂


4 responses to “scape – week three – a new spoken language emerges…

  1. Hi
    Interesting to read your journey. It is an amazing tool makes me feel like a musician. Love trying to find names for elements. You should post some scapes

    • Hi Jeremy, thanks very much for your comments. I think each user makes up their own names for elements – part of the fun, part of the mystery. I certainly have my own names for many of them already…

      Actually, I have posted several scapes already…search YouTube for the purescapes17 channel, or, search soundcloud for user purescapes…the first 12 of almost 900 now created are uploaded, more on the way.

      All the best

      dave ~~~

      • Hi
        Found them – thanks
        It is interesting looking at the waveforms – you can see repeated elements & get a sense of the ‘fullness’ of a piece. Also, do you manipulate them once they’re running? If not the waves also show some with quite dramatic changes, such as 9
        Btw I emailed opal about the edit tool which is a pen but only allows you to delete, to see if you could name scapes. Peter replied you can’t but a few people have asked & so they are considering that for an upgrade
        I share you excitement when a new tool arrives, and have followed a hint of yours and have tried some one tool pieces – these help appreciate the focus of the tool & the loopings

        • At first, I really wanted to name the scapes. That frustrated me a bit, but there are a few things that you wish you could control, that you can’t.

          I think pretty quickly, though, I decided – that I would stop worrying about it. I would accept, that for now, that these pieces, for which I could imagine wonderful titles – will just have numbers.

          I don’t think I am wanting to edit a finished scape – I think I just want to create a new one. I do change them as they are running, sometimes, I mutate and mutate, taking snapshots all the while – so one scape might end up with seven or twelve snapshots, and sometimes, radically altered from the very first version…

          Other times, I just create it, and that’s that – I don’t alter anything – although often, I will take the standard seven snapshots – or is it eight now – one in each “mood” – I like having those variations available – basic track, and, one copy in each mood 🙂

          New tools – well, I just got THE most beautiful bass sound – the best one EVER, so I am really excited about how that’s sounding in recent scapes…

          I love this tool, it’s just so relaxing to listen to, and very fun to create with – I’ve never created visually before, and I absolutely love it.

          all the best –


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