Unlike music created by random music generators, the heart of these Infinite Ambient Listening Experiences are sections of music created by a real human (that would be me, Jeff Pearce). The creation of these sections of music requires extra care, making sure that each section can drift gently into the next section. Then the focus is on creating enough of these sections to where a genuine musical experience can happen.
Thanks to specialized random number generators, the chances of you having the same Infinite Ambient Listening Experience more than once is somewhere around zero percent.
The idea for these Infinite Ambient Listening Experiences had been in my head for quite a while- but it wasn’t until I met Dr. Eric Freeman (visit his site HERE) after my set at AMBIcon 2013 that I asked if such a thing was possible. He said “of course it is”, and that’s where the first two experiences came from (“Night” and “Afternoon”). From 2014 to early 2020, those experiences were hosted on my website (www.jeffpearcemusic.com). Unfortunately, my web hosting service closed its business in early 2020, and my new host didn’t support the technology needed to make the apps work.
And then, in 2020, “2020” happened… and i received feedback from many of my listeners, saying “it sure would be nice to have those infinitely playing web apps during lockdown”, and i was somewhat frustrated that i couldn’t provide that for them.
In early 2021, i got in touch with Eric Freeman to see about getting the web apps re-tooled for my website. Like everyone around the world, Eric was dealing with the aftermath of 2020, and had a lot of work to do- not the least of which being teaching college level courses in coding (a job which, he told me via email, he’d like to use the web apps to demonstrate to his students the intersection of coding and art, if that was ok with me. Of course it was ok with me, and made me wonder where teachers like that were when i was in college back in the stone age)
So i set out to find a code wizard to bring back these two web apps, and in late 2021, I had the good fortune of working with Edward Melville, CEO of The Alpha Company (he’s on UpWork HERE), and he not only brought new life to the Afternoon and Night apps, he also designed this very website you’re on right now, and took care of the coding necessary for the brand new Experiences. And then Ed went “above and beyond” and created the Infinite Ambient mobile apps for iOS and Android.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The idea behind these Experiences is simple enough: I record phrases of music, they are uploaded to this site, someone clicks “begin experience”, and a random number generator determines the order that these files will play in. At this point, the music will play for as long as you wish to listen; the random number generator will create an infinite string of numbers, which means the music files will play for infinity, if you wish.
The execution of these ideas, however, isn’t quite as simple…..
From the music point of view, I have to create these phrases of music, knowing that they have to sound good with whatever comes before it, and whatever comes after it. I also create multiple variations of these phrases, for the sake of adding more of the “composer” element to the final Experience (in real life, no musician will play the same phrase of music the same way each time- even if they are trying to play the same phrase of music each time- if that makes sense). Finally, I have to test these phrases on my digital audio workstation- a kind of “test run” of what it will sound like when paired with a random number generator. If I’m not experiencing something musical? I throw everything out and start from scratch.
A recent addition to the site is the inclusion of what I’m calling “Infinite Ambient Mixes”, which I added in early 2022. I take a previously recorded piece of mine (as of this writing, that would be my songs “Hidden Shores” and “Rainpath”) and remix it to where the song can be played infinitely. This is NOT like clicking the “repeat” button on your audio player or even CD player; instead, it is a remixing of my songs to allow seamless and infinite playback, without any sudden stops in the audio.
From the coding point of view, I have no idea how either the Infinite Ambient Listening Experiences or the Infinite Ambient Mixes are done, and am in reverent awe of the skill set necessary to create code that not only doesn’t interfere with the music, but seamlessly integrates with the music to create an immersive listening experience. And that’s actually a good introduction to a good question:
I use the word “Experiences” when referring to the web apps out of default; I really couldn’t find a better phrase or word for them. Calling this “Random music” didn’t seem appropriate for what was happening musically (and my daughters have informed me that the word “random” carries a negative connotation here in the 21st century). “Randomly selected phrases of music that will play until your laptop’s battery dies or until you forget to pay your internet bill” seemed a bit clunky, as a term, although oddly accurate.
So “Infinite Ambient Listening Experiences” was the shortest, and most accurate, summation of what happens when you hit the “play” button….