You’re in for a very special At Water’s Edge program today, all about the stunning Scape app for iPad. We’ll be joined by live guests including Michael Dawson, Joe McMahon and Brian Wright.

We’ll talk about the Scape app, the incredible generative music app created by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers: the concept of generative music, what goes into it and how it works. We’ll hear both live jams and recorded works built in Scape by Phillip Wilkerson, Mark Cotton, Michael Dawson, Joe McMahon and Dennis Moser.

(You can find more information about Scape and other generative music apps created by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers at

Recorded works using Scape and other applications:

Michael P. Dawson: unreleased

“The Pine Processionary” – This recording consists of three different realizations of the same Scape superimposed. The elements used are mostly sustained “flame” or “fountain” tones and bass notes. The graphic part of the Scape was used for an animated video of this recording:

“Forty Ducks Indulgent” – This Scape has been overlaid with sounds from three other synthesizer apps: SampleWiz, Animoog, and GrainBender. The Scape elements used are mostly “mountains.”

“Baba O’R’lyeh” – This Scape has been lightly overdubbed with bell and vocal-like tones from SamplWiz and Sunrizer. The combination of two backgrounds and the blue-orange mood gives the Scape graphic the appearance of an eerie, twilit sky.

“Giza” – The Scape uses mostly the blue “stick” and gray bass elements, but the central “pyramid” suggested the title.

“Joker in the Pack” – This Scape features a cluster of “mountains” with a single bell like a sun above them. The card-playing title is a reference to this being my Scape #52.

Another Neglected Hobby (Mark Cotton): GeoScape

I used Ableton to record each of three tracks live from the iPad, changing the objects within Scape as I recorded. One track was recorded all the way through and then the second and then the third, each in a different channel. I did very little to them after recording, just made some minor adjustments to the levels and fades.

usr/sbin: Safe Passage

“Safe Passage” is the working title of this collection of four associated pieces created by Dennis Moser — aka “usr/sbin” — utilizing Scape and Plogue Bidule. All the sounds heard are the result of the interplay between the generative nature of the Scape app on the iPad and a series of two Bidule modules that respond and react to the sound of the Scape as it reveals itself. The pieces were recorded live in the studio on 2 December, 2012, utilizing an iPad2 running the current iOS and Scape, and an instance each of Plogue Bidule running on a 13″ MacBook Pro and a Apple G5 PowerPC, direct to disk on a TASCAM DR-100. Post-processing consisted of editing startings and endings with appropriate fades.

Phillip Wilkerson: Scapes

Each one was piped through a mixer – scape / iPad on a single channel, Yamaha XS6 on another channel; I set up the scape and let it run, then recorded other sounds on top, piped it all through a harmonizer into DAW and added a few more effects.

Joe McMahon: Scapes 

“Opening the Gate”
“Opening the Gate” was the thing that started it all, the Scape that inspired this program.

screen shot from Joe McMahon's "Opening the Gate"created in Scape for iPad
Scape screen from Joe McMahon’s “Opening the Gate”

“Alamogordo” is very much a visual design, with a New Mexico stylized sun as its central design.

Scape screen from "Alamogordo", created by Joe McMahon
Scape screen from “Alamogordo”, created by Joe McMahon

“Gamelan Testing Facility”
“Gamelan Testing Facility” was an experiment with the element apparently called “Volvo Bell”, which is a metallic, hammered percussion sound.

Gamelan Testing Facility
Gamelan Testing Facility

“Obscured” is a set of four related Scapes built on a combination of audio and visual designs, with four bass elements as the central design.

Scape screen from Joe McMahon's "Obscured" playlist
Scape screen from Joe McMahon’s “Obscured” playlist

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