I wrote recently about Brian Eno’s composing work on the upcoming video game Spore, and linked to a talk in San Francisco of Wil Wright & Brian Eno talking about developing the algorithmically-generated musical score for the game.Well since then I bought some of his albums and was surprised by a couple of things.
One, the music appears to have been hugely influential – listen to any number of scores from films in thriller and horror genres, and you hear sounds resembling stuff on “Ambient 4 On Land”, which Eno composed 1978-1982.
Two, think of the era where he came up with the stuff. Jimmy Carter is president. There’s no Internet or CDs. Hardly anyone gets cable. Record shops and radio stations have Blondie’s “Rapture” and The Clash’s “Combat Rock”.
Along comes Brian Eno with this slooow, spooky, new age music composed mostly of gongs, gurgling, electronic fuzz and the occasional frog. And he gets a record contract. I’m kind of curious who the A&R guy was who discovered him and what the story was there….
It’s awesome stuff. Not exactly dance floor music. and you wouldn’t want to blast it out of your car. I’ve heard Brian Eno say once that he created ambient music partially is because he wanted something to listen to while working that wouldn’t break his concentration.
(Of course, Stephen King listens to Metallica while he works, so I guess YMMV…)
Here are a couple of YouTubes…
The first talks about his “Music For Airports” project, where he came up with music to be played at O’Hare airport, and what kind of music you might want to hear when getting on and off planes:
And another called “77 Million Paintings”,which is related to the algorithmic music stuff that is going into Spore. Enjoy!