The mighty and brilliant Brian Eno (Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno to his teacher when she was cross with him) is probably the best known pioneer of mainstream ambient and generative music. He is of the opinion that our grandchildren will find recorded music unlistenable – “You mean you used to listen to the same thing over and over again?”.
I’m not so sure, I mean obviously he’s right … he’s Brian Eno and I’m not, but maybe we’re not ready yet. I like familiar books and music, the anticipation of a favourite bit is every bit as satisfying as an anticipated favourite meal or punchline.
Anyway, until generative music comes into its own we have the Infinite Jukebox. This natty bit of software takes a song and analyses it for beats, and matches those surrounded by similar tempo, volume and timbre. It then plays the song randomly branching whenever it comes to a point with a matched point or points elsewhere. It can therefore run, potentially infinitely. I fed it a new track I have just about finished which has quite a lot of rhythmic repetition (Its about running) and it works quite well although there seems to be a stomping / ticking when it plays which is not in the original. Anyway it’s a bit of fun and there’s a lot more music to try out as well. My track “Running stitch” can be found here .
It may be advisable to tell a friend or leave a note when visiting the site as you may end up in a hypnotic trance if you inadvertently choose something like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”.