today’s session, my second, with scape, the latest ambient music creation tool for the iPad, was a real learning experience. I have to say, brian eno and peter chilvers have done a great job on this – it’s miles beyond the very, very excellent “bloom” – eno’s previous application (which I also love!).
as I went to create new scapes, after I completed and saved each one, the app…began to give me advice, in writing !
here are a few of the instructions, or strategies for scape creation, that I noted as I worked…just a sample:
“use only the extremes”
“find contrasting textures”
“create a storm”
“create a scape and watch from a distance”
“create a vast empty landscape”
“focus on the background”
“read a book. provide a background”
“as little movement as possible”
“clear skies above a troubled world”
”create three similar scapes and make a playlist”
“highs and lows”
so, I earnestly tried to do exactly what each one said – and I found that I could do what they suggested, in every case ! and the result, in each case, was a unique, vivid, living, breathing ambient atmosphere – a scape.
of course, this brings to mind, instantly, brian eno’s friend and colleague, peter schmidt, and the famous “oblique strategies” cards – and these are of course the kinds of “instructions” that we automatically associate with brian eno – and here they are, updated, but still totally relevant, in a 2012 app for an iPad – and for me, as a novice at creating scapes – I personally find them really helpful and useful, they actually help me to understand what shapes, configurations and VISUAL ideas, will create what sounds – which is invaluable.
and for me – it’s a reward system – I create the scape that the instruction suggests, it works, I listen to it – I save it – and my reward is…the next instruction. that in turn, challenges me to create very many different types of unique scapes, each in a completely different musical atmosphere – thanks to the remarkable instructions.
and the process repeats – endlessly it would seem. and I find I am really enjoying trying to do what the instructions suggest – although in most cases, I find it easy to do – you just use your imagination, and visually build what the instructions suggest you build – it’s easy, and fun, too !
if truth be told, maybe because I’ve been playing ambient music for a long time, I don’t know, and, often, I have if not a written set, at least a mental set of instructions for most ambient pieces that I create – if truth be told, for a few of the instructions, such as, ”create three similar scapes and make a playlist” – I had already done that yesterday, on scape day 1 🙂
so I “get” it – but I am excited, I can’t wait to see what other interesting developments there will be, apparently, more and more of the app’s functionality is revealed as time goes on – which I think is fantastic in itself, I love a nice progression – and “scapes” startsout incredibly beautiful and take you…on a very unique and seemingly never-ending journey that I, for one, am utterly willing to go on – what a sound…
I should also mention, the app features a complete album from eno and chilvers, which is a great introduction to “what can be done with scapes” – and, it’s a nice bonus to get a new eno-related album for free in an application!
I am looking forward to a time, when I have time to get back into the studio to make music (life, and “gone native”, have so far prevented me from doing so for many weeks, unfortunately) when I can set up “scape” as the live backing, and then loop ebow guitar, or guitar, or guitar synth over it – I think this will be the best combination of an app and guitar possible – better than animoog v guitar synth, better than kaossilator v guitar synth, even better than synth raga – iTabla via various app synths – I think “scape v dave stafford guitar/looping” is going to be so, so much fun – and hopefully, will result in some REALLY interesting, evolving pieces of live, accompanied-by-scape music.
…and I am currently drowning in lush, beautiful, peaceful, tormented, wonderful, ambient, disturbing “scapes” of all descriptions.