Heading to eternity
Music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre launches an ‘infinite music app’Europost
What he refers to as one of the most exciting projects since his debut album, Oxygene, Jean-Michel Jarre announced the launch of his new infinite music app, EōN.
It would be easy to assume that in his seventies, the French composer and pioneer in the electronic music Jean-Michel Jarre doesn’t get easily excited. Up to this date, he has sold over 80 million records. He produced an album, Music for Supermarkets, in only one copy. He has played unimaginable live spectacles in front an audience of 3.5 million people.
Yet Jarre is brimming with excitement as he is about to launch “an album for one” through EōN, a mobile app which couples his music with AI to create a music experience, which is unique every time it’s listened. Created in collaboration with Sony Computer Science Laboratories (CSL), EōN is named after the Greek God for eternity and infinity.
“I named this project EōN as it best defines exactly what it is: an infinite musical and visual creation. Personally, I truly feel that EōN is one of my most exciting creative projects since my debut Oxygene,” said Jarre in a statement. “EōN is a never-ending, never repetitive, organic art-piece that will live and grow forever in everyone’s own singular space-time continuum, at the tip of their finger.”
Specifically, EōN sits on the backbone of seven hours of beats, melodies and chords that Jarre wrote as a matrix, divided intro different tempo groups. An algorithm then picks melodies from matching tempo groups and combines them to create an endless stream of music, separated in always different from one another five-minute tracks. Additionally, EōN doesn’t offer just an infinite and unique music stream - it’s instead combined with a set of evolving visuals, created by researcher Alexis Andre from CSL.
“It’s music as an ephemeral experiment that will have a life of its own, which will continue long after I am dead,” Jarre said.
Jarre is very adamant on differentiating Eon from similar generative music apps such as Scape and Bloom, created by Brian Eno. That is mostly coming from the fact that the music isn’t linear, it's conceived as an album, with distinct tracks, moods and tempos. As he demoed it from the stage of Web Summit on 7 November, that was abundantly clear. Firing up the app can produce a techno beat, which can easily be followed by a string arrangement or minimal ambience when the app is fired up again.
“This isn’t background muzak, it’s an album you listen as you would any other. It’s just new every time,” Jarre explained.
But would EōN ever go on tour? Absolutely and Jarre is excited to see for himself what the algorithm will produce.
"Every night it would be a totally different concert, so the audience will always get something unique,” he noted.
Pushing boundaries once again, Jarre and EōN are changing the traditional sense of music. In a time when tech innovation is often seen through a dystopian lens, that vision is a breath of fresh air that gives a sense of hope. EōN is available on the iOS store, with an Android version coming out in early 2020.