Brian Eno’s Scape Asks ‘Can Machines Create Original Music?’

Opal has released Scape – a new generative music application, created by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers.

Here’s what they have to say about Scape:

Scape is a new form of album which offers users deep access to its musical elements. These can be endlessly recombined to behave intelligently: reacting to each other, changing mood together, making new sonic spaces.

Can machines create original music? Scape is our answer to that question: it employs some of the sounds, processes and compositional rules that we have been using for many years and applies them in fresh combinations, to create new music. Scape makes music that thinks for itself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zNLlKRrUVk

Features:

  • Includes 15 original scapes
  • Scapes can be saved into a gallery and added to a playlist
  • Plays in background of other apps (excluding iPad 1)
  • Generates random scapes
  • Scapes can be shared by email
  • Supports AirPlay and Retina display

Scape is $5.99 in the App Store.

If you’ve tried Scape, let us know what you think of it!

18 thoughts on “Brian Eno’s Scape Asks ‘Can Machines Create Original Music?’

  1. I guess I’ll save up $5.99 then !
    I can understand small devs can’t test their apps on every device but it shows how App store approval process really serves no purpose to the end user.
    Including proper testing in the process might be too expensive for a company that’s so short on cash after all.

    But once the money is in, why would they bother huh ?

  2. I’m sorry that you’ve experienced difficulties with Scape. We’re looking into the problem, which seems to have affected a small number of users. We’ve been unable to reproduce the problem on any of our iPads, and are keen to solve it as soon as possible. Please contact us via the support page on http://www.generativemusic.com if you’re experiencing difficulties.

  3. I have nothing but praise for Eno in general, but “music that thinks for itself?” Okay, I get it, its a miniature musical AI for ambient and probably miles better than a mere white- & wave-noise machine. I just felt a small glitch with yet another remove from human hands. Ambient is a natural for electronic instruments; its a realm I enjoy. I just don’t want to feel as if any piece of music came too easily.

  4. “Can machines create original music? Scape is our answer to that question:” I guess the answer is yes but apps like scape sure can’t, if they keep crashing! No sound or video demos, and more than a few reporting crash problems? I think I’ll pass till they fix it and show me what I’m buying 1st. I’m an Eno fan, but this is ridiculous. And…they don’t even have an iPhone version. FAIL!

  5. The download (on iOS6) went smoothly and well. It’s very well designed and does a fine job of what it does – I find myself drawn again to thinking about the question of virtuosity with respect to subtle and finely crafting things like this: is anyone going to actually sit down and spend the hours and days to actually understand what (for example) the “hidden” bits of the algorithms are and how they function? It seems clear that quite a lot of thought has been put into those very considerations [hint – throw one of the “W” shapes to the left or right edge of the screen and watch what happens… *very* elegant way to describe what you’re hearing. The Monday morning cynic in me figures it’s more likely that a bunch of people will flood FB groups with things they made in the first 5 minutes and never bother to spend any more time on it. I look forward to being proved wrong. 🙂

  6. The app works fine on my iPad with OS6. I have been composing with cellular automata, AI, and IA (intelligence amplification) for a number of years. I think that Scape is a good integration and a look forward towards the future. I’ve already made a few recordings using it. If you are familiar with the concept of “The Virtual Mixer” ( http://www.globerecording.com/virtualmixer/vm.html ) you can see the steps towards that in Scape. The combination of an “album” and a music creation tool is an example of thinking beyond the box, I hope to see more artists expand on this!

  7. Deeply fascinating and enigmatic. But I really would like to have some indication of the rules and parameters each of the elements are guided by..

    I am concerned that despite playing with this software for many many hours, one could still not find out or understand the rules that each element works by. I would like to be able to at least understand the initial oddities that I input before letting the software take it away.
    Any chance of a text file with at least some explanations as to the rules?
    As a ps, the installation for the Brighton festival at Fabrica in a disused church, was the most compelling and entrancing art installation I’ve ever been to. This app is redolent of that time I spent there.

  8. Fully enjoying the exceptional soundscapes and depth of various tones and surprisingly playful rhythmic ability of various images/modules; however, I am UNABLE to save a scape on my ipad2. Upon playing a scape that I created from my playlist, it simply begins exactly where I left off, as if there was never any development of the piece. Is this intentional or is there some manner of saving the scape other than the snapshot button? I anxiously await someone’s reply. Thanks.

  9. Hi. Thinking of downloading this app, but am curious to know if any part of a user creation using this app can be used in an original composition

    cheers

  10. I’d like to suggest that you all dig deeper and create as many scapes as you can as other moods, sounds etc will appear in time. I have just “uncovered” an extra set of controls that determine the tempo (I think), scales and randomness.
    One scape a day brings the good stuff to the surface 😉

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