The Ambient mixtape update #001

Notes on update #001 of The Ambient mixtape.

Reflection is the latest ambient project of Brian Eno. It is both an album and a app. In the app the music will change so it, for instance, is brighter in the morning.

It is based on probability with rules that dictate the how likely something will happen. That way the piece will be different each time it is performed. You get a certain freedom in the music that reminds me of John Cage. Especially the number pieces where the pitches are chosen with the help of I Ching and the performer are left a lot of freedom on how to perform the pieces.

Brian Eno defines Ambient music as something that is always the same but changes all the time. Like looking at a river. I totally agree with that definition. He sees his ambient music as a continuous project that started in 1975 with Discreet Music and Reflection is the latest stage. It’s a very good piece. In my opinion one of the best that he has done so far.

At first glance the Snd album by Microstoria might seem disparate and ugly. But, the more you listen to it you discover it’s beauties. The sounds fit together and make up a small but very beautiful world of it’s own.

Click to open in Spotify







Cage Number Pieces

A number of late John Cage pieces are collectively called the Number Pieces. It is 40 pieces written between 1987-1992.

They are called Number Pieces because of the naming of them. They are all named a spelled out number and optionally followed by a sequence number. The spelled out number represents the number of player that should perform the piece. For instance the piece Six is the first piece for six performers and the piece Four3 is the third piece for four players.

In these pieces Cage often uses what is called time brackets to denote time.The notes in a measure does not have duration, instead each measure is marked with times. Either fixed, e.g 1.00 – 1.37 (start the measure at 1.00 and end at 1.37) or flexible 1.00 <-> 1.15 – 1.30 <-> 1.40 (start between 1.00 and 1.15 and end between 1.30 and 1.40).

The pithes in the pieces is often chosen via I Ching, a method to choose by chance that he developed when we was composing Music of Changes.

The instrumentation and method of playing is also many times chosen by the performer.

I find it interesting that although Cage leaves a lot of freedom to the performers he seems to fulfill the purpose and spirit of the pieces when they are performed. The resulting music is, like much of his music, very calm and meditative.

The playlist below contains a selection of the Number Pieces from One2 up to Fourteen. Enjoy!

Soundming- Cage Number Pieces
Click to open the playlist in Spotify