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Reflection is the latest work in a long series. It started (as far as record releases are concerned) with Discreet Music in 1975 (or did it start with the first Fripp and Eno album in 1973? Or did it start with the first original piece of music I ever made, at Ipswich Art School in 1965 - recordings of a metal lampshade slowed down to half and quarter speed, all overlaid?)
Anyway, it s the music that I later called Ambient. I don t think I understand what that term stands for anymore - it seems to have swollen to accommodate some quite unexpected bedfellows - but I still use it to distinguish it from pieces of music that have fixed duration and rhythmically connected, locked together elements.
The pedigree of this piece includes Thursday Afternoon, Neroli (whose subtitle is Thinking Music IV) and LUX. Ive made a lot of thinking music, but most of it I ve kept for myself. Now I notice that people are using some of those earlier records in the way that I use them - as provocative spaces for thinking - so I feel more inclined to make them public.
Pieces like this have another name: they re GENERATIVE. By that I mean they make themselves. My job as a composer is to set in place a group of sounds and phrases, and then some rules which decide what happens to them. I then set the whole system playing and see what it does, adjusting the sounds and the phrases and the rules until I get something I m happy with. Because those rules are probabilistic (often taking the form perform operation x, y percent of the time) the piece unfolds differently every time it is activated. What you have here is a recording of one of those unfoldings. CD in case bound sleeve with 12 page booklet.
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Simultaneous to the the release of the recording, an iOS app appeared in the Apple Store. It's an app that generates endless variations on the piece, based on time of day. (I whipped over to the app store to buy it. It's $39.99. I don't own ANY app that costs $39.99 and I'm not starting now.)
This piece is lovely. I will dare to say it's relaxing, very pleasing to the ear. Neroli, by the way, drove me crazy. Too stripped down, too repetitive. I prefer this piece to Thursday Afternoon and Lux.