Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers have just announced the release of Bloom: 10 Worlds – a developed, augmented and expanded new edition of 2008’s game-changing original Bloom app, that’s a firm favourite here at Kitmonsters, and is now on Android for the first time. Peter Chilvers spoke to us about the new Bloom, available on pre-order from today at Generative Music and out on 7th December.
Brian Eno, Peter Chilvers - pic Microsoft
Requiring no musical or technical ability, the egalitarian and user-friendly Bloom app enabled anyone of any age to create music, simply by touching the screen. Part instrument, part composition and part artwork, Bloom’s innovative controls allowed users to create elaborate patterns and unique melodies by simply tapping the screen. A generative music player took over when Bloom was left idle, creating an infinite selection of compositions and their accompanying visualisations.
The original was hypnotic, relaxing and beautiful, and Bloom: 10 Worlds co-creator Peter Chilvers told Kitmonsters more about the new version.
The original Bloom occupied an unusual territory - a piece of music that could be interacted with - when almost all other apps were tools for music making. With Bloom: 10 Worlds, we’ve emphasised that distinction further.
We’ve completely reworked the interface and tried to make it disappear as much as possible. There are no sliders or controls, with all the complexity quietly happens behind the scenes in response to tapping on the screen. Our goal was to create a rich experience, to make the user feel less like they are using a piece of software and more like they are stepping into a series of musical worlds.
Unlike the previous apps, we’ve developed this in Unity - it’s designed for creating games, but that makes it perfect for building interactive media experiences like this. It has also allowed us to bring Bloom to the Android platform for the first time.
Bloom: 10 Worlds
The team says the app is a reimagining of the original – not simply a remaster. If the original Bloom was a single, then this would be an album. The widely broadened palette of sounds and images can be experienced via 10 new ‘worlds’, each exploring a new direction for Bloom. The first world the user encounters is an echo of the original app, with circles appearing where the user taps, while the later worlds each introduce new combinations of sounds, shapes, colours and rules of behaviour.
Brian Eno once described his take on generative music to The Guardian.
I got interested in the idea of music that could make itself in the mid 1960s, when I first heard composers like Terry Riley, and when I first started playing with tape recorders. I had two on the floor and one piece of tape connecting the two of them, which effectively gave you a very long echo, and you could build up sounds one on top of the other.
I was excited about the way I almost lost control of the music. I felt that what was very interesting to do as a composer was to construct some kind of system or process which did the composing for you. You’d then feed inputs into it, and it would reconfigure it and make something beyond what you had predicted.
Bloom: 10 Worlds, Late
Brian Eno – musician, producer, visual artist, thinker and activist – first came to international prominence as a founding member of Roxy Music, and immediately followed with a series of critically-praised, pioneering and influential solo albums – including the soon-to-be-reissued Discreet Music, Music For Films, Music For Airports and On Land.
His visionary production includes albums with David Bowie, Talking Heads, Devo, Laurie Anderson and Coldplay, whilst his long list of collaborations includes recordings with John Cale, David Byrne, Grace Jones and James Blake. Equally notable are his highly-acclaimed visual experiments with light and video, which have been exhibited all over the globe – from the Venice Biennale and the Marble Palace in St. Petersburg to Beijing’s Ritan Park and the sails of the Sydney Opera House.
Eno began collaborating with musician / software designer Peter Chilvers on Will Wright’s computer game Spore. Their shared interest in generative music rapidly lead to the development of a prototype for Bloom in 2008. In the intervening decade, they experimented further with the field, expanding their catalogue of apps with Trope, Scape and Reflection.
Bloom: 10 Worlds, Karabekian
In that time Chilvers has also acted as an engineer and technical advisor to Eno on a number of other projects. A series of multi-speaker installations around the world laid the groundwork for 2016’s The Ship, and they premiered Bloom: Open Space, a mixed reality installation in Amsterdam in 2018.
In addition to his work with Eno, Chilvers co-founded the Burning Shed label and online store, toured with Underworld’s Karl Hyde as keyboardist and musical director, and has recorded instrumental albums and collaborations with vocalist Tim Bowness.
Bloom: 10 Worlds prices:
UK: pre-order & weekend of release £4.99, then £7.99
US: pre-order & weekend of release US$ 4.99, then US$ 7.99
Europe: pre-order & weekend of release Euro 5.49, then Euro 8.99
Japan: pre-order & weekend of release ¥ 600, then ¥ 960
Available from Generative Music, and out on 7th December.
Bloom: 10 Worlds, Petri