Interview: Jon Hopkins Talks Live, Studio Process, Habit, Instinct

Jon Hopkins performs live at the ICA. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Matt Biddulph. Classically trained as a pianist, musician and producer Jon Hopkins has one of the richest resumes in electronic music. He’s a frequent collaborator with Brian Eno, wand has worked with artists like Coldplay (who featured his music on their last album), Tunng, David Holmes, and Imogen Heap. He worked with director Peter Jackson, and has a sci-fi score on the way. He also has a rich set of solo releases. And we’ve seen him here recently with remix swaps with Four Tet and contributions to Eno’s upcoming Warp record. …

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Brian Eno “Small Craft On a Milk Sea” Confirmed on Warp, Preorder Wed.

After a fuss over a leak and then an official confirmation from Warp, Brian Eno has unveiled his next album, “Small Craft On a Milk Sea.” The launch page reveals far more about the packaging than the actual music (though I must say, the packaging is very pretty). But the album does focus on collaboration, working with returning artists Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams. Hopkins and Eno have worked together regularly, and that trio produced some wonderful sounds, recording with Peter Chilvers, for the soundtrack for “The Lovely Bones.” Abrahams’ original mention on his Web diary also described some of …

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Connect the Bots: Black Allegheny, An Entire Album Made by Algorithmic Swarms

Swarm Music Album Black Allegheny from Evan Merz on Vimeo. We’ve heard albums made by singular compositional minds and by bands. What would an album sound like if composed by swarm intelligence, by computer evolutionary models of individual agents or bots? That’s the question asked by composer Evan Merz in his new, full-length album “Black Allegheny.” (At top: the composer explains in a video.) Western musical and creative tradition is steeped in linearity, from the forward motion of the music staff to the mythos of Aristotle’s Poetics. So, maybe it’s little wonder that generative music – music that may not …

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iPad: Bloom, Setlists, Scores, Audio Palette, and Controlling Mac

As the iPad hits Europe and the world generally gets more time with the tablet, it continues to play host to new music software. I still have to wonder when some of its software design patterns – touch interfaces, big displays, and simplified, task-specific user experiences – will begin to influence other platforms. That is, it’s never been clear why arrays of tiny knobs were the best solution for conventional computers, either. But for those of you who have picked up an iPad and are curious what you can do with it, here are some ideas, all now “natively” optimized …

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Monolake Interactive Music for Jet Lag: Installed Max/MSP Audio, Free MP3 Download

Eno had Music for Airports. It’s fitting that Monolake would do Music for Jet Lag. Robert Henke writes about this month’s free download: Since I also have been flying a lot recently, I named it after one of the most annoying side effects of modern transportation and mixed it in a way that reflects that dizzy feeling of being hyper active and totally asleep at the same time. ( "Last call for mister Robert Henke, flying to Berlin, please come to gate B 154 IMMEDIATELY or we will unload your luggage !!!!!!!!!" ) I am myself recovering from jetlag on …

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Alternative Sequencers: Elysium Generative Mac App and the Joy of Hex

Switching tools isn’t a panacea, but it can inspire new ideas, by changing the way you structure your music. Elysium is a powerful new sequencer in development for the Mac the creates generative patterns on a beehive-shaped hexagonal grid. For the hardcore, you can even extend the tool with Ruby and JavaScript. Elysium is a MIDI sequencer only: it has no sound generation facility of its own. But that makes it an ideal complement to your existing tools and favorite synths; the creator shows it off with Apple Logic Studio (Sculpture physical modeling, anyone?) and Native Instruments Kore. Elysium [Mac-only …

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Buddha Machine 2: All-in-One $25 Ambient Box Gets a Sequel

  In the midst of the US election, I missed an important announcement: the smash hit Buddha Machine, a mysterious little $25 gadget that generates its own ambient music, has a sequel. You might think of Buddha Machine 2 as Buddha Machine Pro. New features: A bigger sonic palette, with nine loops Pitch bend (which the creators describe as being “like a whammy bar for your buddha box”) Three colors (well, it is a consumer product of sorts!) Expanding the sonic capabilities will be a welcome change. The packaging is wonderful, with a symbolically-appropriate lotus flower and a round hole …

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Hands-on with Bloom, New Generative iPhone App by Eno and Chilvers

Bloom is a new generative musical application for iPhone and iPod touch, created by Brian Eno and software designer Peter Shilvers. It’s quite simple, but if you’re looking for some soothing musical strains to float out of your mobile Apple device, this is your ticket. At launch, you’re given a choice of either using a pre-determined set of rules, or tapping in your own parameters and patterns. The touch interface lets you use your fingers to add note patterns, which then repeat and mutate. If you make your own composition, you’ll start those patterns from a blank slate, but even …

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