25 April – 31 May 1997
A commissioned work by Brian Eno
“I think it’s possible that our grandchildren will look at us in wonder and say: ‘you mean you used to listen to exactly the same thing over and over again?’” ( Brian Eno - Notes on Generative Music)
Music for White Cube was a specially commissioned sound installation by internationally acclaimed musician Brian Eno which further focuses his ideas about ‘Generative Music’.
Brian Eno has, for a long time, been interested in ‘machines’ and ‘systems’ that can produce musical experiences when imposed upon pre-specified materials. For this installation, the raw material is the human voice.
Eno has recorded himself two or three hundred times singing a single falsetto note held for as long as possible. In each instance he has tried, unsucessfully of course, to attain the same pitch. In this way the fallible human voice becomes the raw material for a sophisticated infallible software programme. This programme (called KOAN) allows Eno to impose about 150 possible instructions on the recorded notes in order to generate unique combinations of harmony, rhythm, tempo, vibrato and pitch. The resulting compositions have then been selected and recorded on CD.
Music for White Cube consisted of four CD stations which each played a unique CD cut with eight distinct tracks. Each CD station randomly selected and simultaneously played these tracks constantly producing unique combinations so that visitors never heard the same piece of music repeated. Like the generative system from which it derives, this symphony continually remakes itself in time.
A catalogue accompanied the exhibition in the form of a limited edition CD for which Eno selected highlights from his installation at White Cube.