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 webhost closed its business in early 2020, and my new host didn’t support the technology needed to make the apps work.
In late 2021, however, 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 “Clouds” experience.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The idea behind these Experiences is simple enough: I record phrases of music and save them as WAV files. 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.
From the coding point of view? I have no idea how it’s 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 “Night”, “Afternoon”, and “Clouds” 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 you 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….