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Monday, January 07, 2013

The Scape Now Playing...

I got an iPad for my birthday. Aside from the zillions of free things one can grab in the app store, I paid £3.99 for Scape.

The blurb says:

Scape makes music that thinks for itself. From Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers, creators of Bloom, 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.
£3.99 is an especially modest amount of money for what is essentially a handy-sized  DIY Brian Eno ambient album kit.

It's easy to use - too easy to use.

Within a few seconds of downloading it I found myself lost dragging new elements into the central palette creating what sounded like every Brian Eno album you'd ever heard. Looking up, an hour had passed by without me realising it.

Over the next couple of days, Scape was the soundtrack to my day; visits to the kitchen, the bedroom and even the bathroom - which is probably more detail than you want - were all accompanied by this self-generating music, floating in and out of focus like some kind of musical Mogadon.

Just as looping technology gave anyone with the bucks, if not always the talent, to promulgate their very own rolling drifts of ambient seepage, this app will also give rise to many more legions of soundscapes exquisitely wafting about the internet, though this isn't necessarily a good thing. 

As well as enjoying the novelty of train-spotting some of the sounds - "Oooh, there's that bit off Thursday Afternoon" - it's instantly apparent that the key to truly great ambient music isn't so much the sound as the conception in the first place and then the painstaking process of editing and arranging.

You don't have to be Brian Eno to be able to use Scape but if you want to make something interesting and distinctive, it probably helps. 

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