Monthly Archives: January 2007

Spore is a highly anticipated video game from Will Wright, the creator of SimCity, The Sims, and other Sim-games. Brian Eno is creating the score for the game.

Spore will let players create microbes which evolve into interplanetary civilizations (check out the Flash intro at the official Spore site or the Google Video of a demo by Will Wright…it’s cool).

Eno’s score for Spore will reflect the algorithmic nature of Sim worlds, where simple rules give rise to complex, elegant systems. Eno is using software to generate ambient clips which plan to never repeat during your lifetime (much less during gameplay).

There’s a Brian Eno / Rob Wright podcast talking about all this at recent a Long Now Foundation seminar (down street here in San Francisco). Start 4 minutes 50 seconds in, where they start speaking.

Eno talks about the experience of “generating” the music from the bottom up, using simple rule-based models to explore ideas rather accidentally. “It’s making seeds rather than forests”, says Eno. He cites wind chimes as perhaps the simplest example of such a “generative” musical system.

WWMNA wrote about the event:

(Eno) went on to demonstrate a simple software called “The Shuffler” which he uses to create fragments for the soundtrack of Spore and which even with a simple combination of samples possibly would never create the same composition twice within a lifetime.

All rather opposite from traditional top-down method of having an idea in your head and sculpting it in the studio. I found it an interesting discussion for composers, they’re brilliant guys to listen to.

(Also you can check out some of Eno’s ambient albums here…)

Hat tip: Eno to generate Spore soundtrack – Joystiq

Posted 11 years ago by John Piscitello

24 is about to start its new season… the best blog post I’ve seen is from Ken Levine, who made up a hypothetical 24 spec script rejection letter. Read it, it’s funny.

24 gets its big hybrid orchestral / synthesized sound from Sean Callery. I was surprised when I learned the show does not use a real orchestra, but just Sean working in his home studio. The soundtrack album is lovely stuff, you can hear a little from the album in this 24 parody on YouTube.

It turns out Sean Callery got his start at New England Digital, the makers of the Synclavier, the $250,000 digital recording solution that was the high-end machine to use in the 80s. Sean was a product specialist, and got involved with hands-on productions and sound design early on.

I met another Synclavier vet this past week, at an excellent 2-day seminar on Logic Audio led by Bruce Nazarian, who has a digital media consulting practice in Las Vegas. Bruce has a number of sound editing credits on IMDb, many done on the Synclavier. As Bruce was training us on Logic, he often noted how easy things are today vs. the Synclavier back in the day.

The Synclavier is a classic, check it out the here and here. (I assume you all know where to find 24…)

Posted 11 years ago by John Piscitello

You don’t have to be all that young to enter this…just 18-35. If you win, you get the “opportunity” to produce a score for the silent movie “Beau Brummel” and TCM will put it on the air. Congratulations, you’ll have your first IMDb entry! 😉

Here’s what you need to do according to the rules (they’re a little long but here’s the rough version):

  • Go write yourself a 60-second score to one of 4 Beau Brummel clips on TCM’s site.
  • Upload your score here by March 31st.
  • Judges will choose 10 semi-finalists in April.
  • The semi-finalists find lawyers among friends and family to review legal releases to keep TCM’s legal department happy. (Also they will have to send in written scores of their 60-second demos).
  • The judges cull the group down to 5 finalists.
  • In May, finalists receive a new 90-second clip to score by June.
  • Finally, in August, judges pick a winner.

The champion composer gets a 4GB dual CPU Intel Mac, an extra copy of Logic Pro, and an “opportunity” to complete a score to “Beau Brummel”, which, if not blown, will result in the composer inviting friends over to watch it on TCM.

In past years it says Hans Zimmer has served to “mentor the winner, shepherding them through the composing process and sharing his enormous experience with the lucky individual.” It’s not crystal clear from the Web site that it will happen this year, but even if it’s just over email, that’s pretty cool.

Posted 11 years ago by John Piscitello

See below for the liveblogging. This was all done on a Blackberry, the Blackberry which will go on eBay as soon as I get my hands on a Smartphone…

  • Best line of the day: John Mayer saying “Apple makes your life better….it’s like the complete opposite of terrorism…”
  • Best guest star: Al Gore, for his voicemail message on Steve Jobs’ iPhone which slyly mentioned his global warming presentation.
  • Worst guest star: Stan Sigman, CEO of Cingular, for dryly reading a prepared speech from notecards, and totally losing the interest of the audience. Better to speak off the top of your head and keep it short.
  • Smartest guy in the room: The guy next to me, who bought 5000 shares of Apple stock when he saw the iPhone. The stock promptly went up 6 points, earning him $30,000.
  • Least smart guy in the room: That would have to be me, who spent time liveblogging on a Blackberry instead of buying and selling Apple shares on Etrade, which would have been far more profitable.
  • Best new feature: A real Safari web browser, so you don’t have to look at crippled web pages on your portable device anymore.
  • Worst new feature: The $499 price tag for the 4GB iPhone. Somehow I bet those phone and data plans that come with it from Cingular aren’t going to be the best deal going.
  • Verdict: I want the iPhone, but getting up early and killing the whole morning at the keynote isn’t the best use of time! 😉
Posted 11 years ago by John Piscitello

One last bit of news…with the iphone launch, apple is dropping “computer” from its corporate name.

Jobs is thanking his employees and their families, because everyone has been pulling late nights on this, apparently…that’s a nice note.

Ok one more bit – john mayer (one of my favorites) is going to play a song…he’s singing “gravity”, happens to be my favorite from “Continuum”…people loved the guitar solo…its a minimalist performance, quiet, as opposed to noisy..

Mayer says “apple inc makes life more fun…its kind of like the exact opposite of terrorism”.

Now he’s playing “waiting on the world to change”.

Steve is saying thanks…and that’s it…we’re done!

Posted 11 years ago by John Piscitello

My old boss Eric S is speaking…his style is a little different – he is talking about “cloud computers” providing “html, xml, data services” – most notably says “this product is going to be hot” – really just a short little set of comments to show support.

And who comes next? Jerry Yang from Yahoo. His comments are more promoting of yahoo (as opposed to eric schmidt’s more techy comments). But they are just as light, and also simply a show of support.

Having both execs on stage shows apple’s increasing muscle…and that there is still consumer power in the yahoo brand (as much as they’ve been maligned in the past year…).

Posted 11 years ago by John Piscitello

The guy next to me just bought 5000 AAPL shares the second he saw the iphone…

You can load google maps, search for Starbucks, tap the number in the search result, and call.

Jobs just crank-called a Starbucks and ordered 4000 lattes…

Yes, the Google maps satellite images work….yes the crowd oohs ans aahs when they see this, still, even though this can be done on other phones…

It is nice how you can bookmark Google maps locations…also the google earth application appears to have some apple-like enhancements, the way the pushpins “fly in” to their location when you load a page. They say they have been working closely with Google on this..

Ok, here comes Eric Schmidt on stage…

“Its the internet in your pocket.”

Posted 11 years ago by John Piscitello

So the big news is free imap sync for yahoo mail..this appears to be only for iphone users.

When you see a phone number in a mail message, you can touch the number to dial…

The on screen keyboard shows up again in the mail interface…

There is autocomplete for email addresses…

The browser is safari, unfortunately not Firefox…and they make the correct choice to show you the original html version of the web sites, not these crippled mobile web sites you get on phones…

Plus there is a cool zoom-in feature for web pages, by double tapping the screen to zoom in and out of pages…you can do this even when the page is still loading…

Their take on tabs is cool, hard to explain, but basically having tabs is a big win, I hate not having them on the blackberry.

Posted 11 years ago by John Piscitello

The crowd loves the “pinch” gesture…when looking at a photo, just put 2 fingers on the screen, and squeeze them or pinch them to zoom the photo in and out…that got the oohs and aahs…

“We have reinvented the phone”.

Really its enough to make you want to work at apple, who else can do such elegant devices?

Posted 11 years ago by John Piscitello

At the top left, it says “Cingular” on all the menu screens.

So we are now switching to the phone features – the big thing is to use your contacts to dial, so you don’t have to reenter them.

The voicemail is random access, use the screen ui to skip to the call you want to hear…
Its quad band and has wifi built in.

The ringtones sound like the music from the mac vs pc commercials.

Al gore is in Steve Jobs’ contacts, by the way…

You can have your own picture show up on other peoples’ phones, apparently.

They are taking a big advantage of the touchscreen for the ui – you immediately wonder why all the other phones are so shabby in their ui’s today…very nice how the screen shows your call waiting choices, and a single button for conferencing….

Neat trick for long phone numbers – they don’t scroll, they just get smaller…

Now we are hearing al gore’s voice mail…

Sms let’s you have multiple conversations at once, just navigating between them. They keyboard shows up on the screen, and has error detection built in for your typing…once the message is sent, it is shown as a conversation a la I’m interfaces…

Posted 11 years ago by John Piscitello