Scape is the new musical app designed by the famous electronic music composer Brian Eno and his partner Peter Chilvers. After a previous iOS app called Bloom, the two musicians offer an application based on the generative music theory.

During his long career, Brian Eno has always experimented an idea of a music auto-generative; a music able to forbear from a human composer, from a human creator. An idea that Brian Eno, at a certain point, realizes to share with another musician and composer: Peter Chilvers. They have collaborated first in 2007, when realized Bloom. The collaboration between them includes two other app: Trope and Air. More info you can find on  Generative Music site.

After the great success of Bloom, in September 2012, the two composers design Scape, a new app that in accordance with Brian Eno

makes music that thinks for itself

So, this app, reveals his conceptual nature of an application based on capacity of the composers to step aside, giving up to the authorship status. Scape is not only a mobile app – frequently confused with simple musical games – but a real software based on a music theory that Brian Eno called Generative Music; a theory that show himself as a challenge for those engaged in the art, musical or not.

But, how Scape work? Very simple, even recreational: the basic concept of this app is to prompt users to design scenes made of colors and geometries. In fact we can talk of a very musical scene, formed by the user, step to step, when he drag various elements on the compositional space. More items he drag, and less important becomes the role of the user. Paradoxically.

During this visual creative step, an ambient music is generated; based on rules programmed by developers. A music that hardly could be repeat one more time.

The drag-and-drop action, is not the only playful element. The number and the type of elements that the user can use, so the type of scenes that he can design, is initially limited. The user is forced to use the app for more than a single afternoon if he wants more items, more interesting scenes and, in particular, more music. Moreover, Scape is a social app, allowing users to share their music scenes with others users, so that one can modify or simply listen what someone else did.

With Scape, Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers rediscover the theory of generative music, that they used for music composition in the previous years. By Brian Eno we can remember Music for Airports and Discreet Music. While Chilvers in the early Nineties composed the music for Creatures, a video game produced by the Creature Labs.

Le copertine di Music for Airports e Discreet Music
Covers of Music for Airports (1978) and Discreet Music (1975)

The link with the past is not only for the theoretical approach adopted with Scape but also for the sounds. In fact, though the sounds used for the app are almost all original, during an interview for The Guardian, Eno and Chilvers declared that some sounds are derived from previous songs of Brian Eno, extrapolated by their original context and rearranged for the app. Some bass guitar sounds are dated even 10 or 20 years!

Eno and Chilvers tell us that Scape is not only an app for do something, but it is conceived also for listen. For this, Scape is programmed to be used in background and to play ten inedit songs composed expressly for this project.

From this point of view, Scape is a new iOS app but also the new album signed by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers. Ten new songs to be listen in every moment, ten new songs that emphasize the listening experience of this application.

Not only app. But something more. An environment in which is not the user to play with the app but it is the app that plays with their users; forcing him to accept the idea of a music that after being created no longer needs of human action. A music that forcing, who carried it out, to lose the possesion of their creation.

Scape urges another consideration: musical education still has importance? The application of Eno and Chilvers seems capable to make everyone music composers, without the necessity of a musical training. A problem similar to that of the photography and Instagram. Is the music destined to a trivial combination of  preconceived elements? We hope not, after all it is only an app.

Want to buy Scape? You can find it on App Store.


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