Brian Eno’s Latest Album, For iOS & Apple TV, Goes On Forever

Brian Eno’s ambient albums have always been a snapshot of musical systems that could generate unique music as long as you let the system play.

His ambient works make use of two techniques, both of which can be used to create a constant stream of new music:

  • Eno’s earlier ambient music made frequent use of long, asynchronous loops, using sounds that would mesh together in musical ways, no matter how they coincided in time.
  • Much of Eno’s later ambient music makes use of probabilistic events, where he arranges a group of sound events that work together and controls the probability and frequency of each type of event happening.

With his latest album, Reflection, Eno is going beyond traditional formats and simultaneously releasing the album as an iOS and Apple TV application. Reflection translates the same generative processes that he’s used previously into software, so that the app can play forever, always creating a new version of the work. 

Here’s what Eno has to say about the Reflection app:

REFLECTION is the most recent of my Ambient experiments and represents the most sophisticated of them so far.

My original intention with Ambient music was to make endless music, music that would be there as long as you wanted it to be. I wanted also that this music would unfold differently all the time – ‘like sitting by a river’: it’s always the same river, but it’s always changing.

But recordings – whether vinyl, cassette or CD – are limited in length, and replay identically each time you listen to them. So in the past I was limited to making the systems which make the music, but then recording 30 minutes or an hour and releasing that.

REFLECTION in its album form – on vinyl or CD – is like this. But the app by which REFLECTION is produced is not restricted: it creates an endless and endlessly changing version of the piece of music.

Minimum requirements:

  • iPad 3
  • iPhone 5
  • iPad mini 2
  • AppleTV (4th generation)

Pricing and Availability

Reflection is available for US $39.99 in the App Store. If you’ve used Reflection, share your thoughts on it in the comments.

35 thoughts on “Brian Eno’s Latest Album, For iOS & Apple TV, Goes On Forever

  1. Just get the Aweseom app Moodscaper. Only like $4 and you can use your own sounds, etc. I love Eno, but this is just stupid. $40 for an album you need to build yourself? It’s like IKEA music.

    Why not just give out copies of pd and a script?

  2. who is going to pay 40 bucks for an interactive album app?

    i wonder what the thinking is there. i’d like to check back in a couple months and see how many people shelled out.

  3. Kind of sad… I’ve been a fan of Eno for a very long time, but considering Bloom, Trope and Hyde-Eno were totally boring… I’m definitely not shelling out $40 for uninspired generative music.

  4. I’m concerned about how releases like this will last in the long term. When an Apple OS update inevitably breaks something, does Eno plan to keep maintaining the app? Or does this $40 (yikes) album essentially come with an expiry date?

  5. Remember when different drummer thought it was so different it could sell for a few hundred dollars? Well that didn’t work out so well did it. We need to send emo to generative music app pricing school.

  6. I bought it, mostly because I had iTunes account money to burn. It’s cool and the concept is a good one. It’s not interactive at all. You just press play. After about 30 minutes, it kind of just sounds the same. I would play this for a baby, or have it going in a bathroom when hosting a party. If you want something really cool and generative, spend your money on that new ‘buddha box’ from Room40.

    1. There had to be one person here buy it and have an excuse for doing so. You bought pish… You could have spent the money on something much better. You know that modern art consisting of a plank of wood laying across a bed of sawdust? That’s what you bought and you paid a lot of money for it.

      1. Someone here had to take one for the team, with a review based on empirical data. it’s silly to condemn this release without experiencing it directly.

    2. “I would play this for a baby, or have it going in a bathroom when hosting a party.”

      Eno should have called it “Music For Defecating”.

  7. OR you could have your cat walk all over a novation launchpad set up with low attack tones. probably NOT generative but generative by kitty power!

  8. He can do better, coming from a fan.. He could have recorded the record playing through a fan. Records need to have an end otherwise it will become torture eventually.

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