# # Blooming Idiot

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

Blooming Idiot



Bloom – from Brian Eno & Peter Chilvers

I don’t know about you but I spend around 90 minutes a day collaborating with Brian Eno.

No, really.

I am doing so via three applications I was able to download to my iTouch: Bloom, Trope, and Air.

All three allow the user to either participate in or observe generative musical compositions created by Brian Eno, or based upon his works, expressly for interaction via unique and fascinating touch-screen interfaces.

Bloom is probably my favorite to play with: the interface blossoming with little circles of soft, tonal peals at a touch from your fingertips. Different modes allow for various amounts of control, repetition, etc. Setting up and altering the flow of the music is quite easy, entertaining, and hypnotic.



Trope – from Brian Eno & Peter Chilvers

Darker and more drone-y in tone, Trope has become my favorite to listen to. The interface here is similar to Bloom but, instead of circles, the user blots or drags their fingertips across the screen to create varying drones of sound. The initial shapes triggered by your touch can be changed as well, with choices ranging from stars, triangles, circles, and more.

Finally there is Air, billed as an endless “Music for Airports.” I keep meaning to mess with this application more but have yet to get around to it, likely because its interface is less interesting to me than Trope or Bloom and the sounds it uses are voice and piano, which I find less enticing. Instead of a blank screen favored by Trope and Bloom, in Air the user is presented with a diamond pattern, the spaces of which can be triggered by touch to change color as they “ring” with either a voice or piano note. The really interesting thing about Air is that there is an option to interact with others who also have the application on their iPhone or iTouch.



Air – from Sandra O’Neill & Peter Chilvers

I wish this was true of Bloom and Trope, though there is nothing keeping you from interacting with others who have the applications, of course. It’s just that I wish it possible to do on my own; I am itching to combine the two atmospheres of Trope and Bloom. So spoiled – give me a universe and my imagination immediately begins looking for its edges …


If there was a downside to these applications, beyond the fact that only Mac users get to fool around with them, it would be that what they generate is slow, quiet, ambient music.

Now, as an admitted Eno fan, you might find it strange that I’m not much of an ambient music fan but that’s the truth. Soft, droning music has its place, it’s just that, most of the time, that place is not my ears. I use music to motivate and energize myself – not to fall to sleep to – and ambient music, in general, bores me to snores.

The only reason why I am able to enjoy these applications for nearly two hours a day is that I commute via bus for that length of time and I *do* tend to snooze while doing so – or try to, anyway. Usually there is too much noise from the other passengers to do so effectively, so I used to wear earplugs. Now I pull out my iTouch, pop in the earbuds, twink around with the generative music interface a bit, pull my hat down over my eyes, and drift off into an ever-changing landscape of sound.

For my money, though, it would be GREAT if someone would take these basic platforms and make one that was a touch more … awake. I would love to have one that featured the blaring skronk of a too loud guitar, the growling buzz of a distorted bass, the punch of some kickdrum, or just some real sound samples: breaking glass, metal clangs, the ripping of cloth. You’re looking at me like I’m nuts but, I’m telling you, I’m bouncing up and down in my seat at the idea over here. Think I’m kidding? Read this.


All three applications are reasonably inexpensive: Bloom and Trope are $3.99 apiece while Air is only $1.99 – all available in iTunes.

Check ’em out! generativemusic.com

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