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Brian Eno, Peter ChilversReflection

Label:Opal Limited – none
File, WAV, Enhanced, iOS App - IPA
Country:UK, Europe & US
Style:Minimal, Abstract, Experimental





A generative music app created for Apple's iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch). Developed by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers, 'Reflection' is available at iTunes App Store.

The generative app version of 'Reflection' comes closer to Brian Eno's vision of how he believes the music should be heard, of indeterminate length and with unpredictable variations - rather than the excerpt(s) released on vinyl and CD.

This generative music app differs from all the other apps that Brian and Peter had previously released - in that there are essentially no options, other than a Pause button. Once installed opening it simply starts the music and the pattern of subtlely changing colors (after the initial splash screen title fade). While playing, Tapping the screen brings up the Pause button under the title, simple credits, and copyright (all uppercase):






The following are details found at iTunes:

Brian Eno : Reflection
By Opal Limited

REFLECTION is the most recent of my Ambient experiments and represents the most sophisticated of them so far. My original intention with Ambient music was to make endless music, music that would be there as long as you wanted it to be. I wanted also that this music would unfold differently all the time - ‘like sitting by a river’: it’s always the same river, but it’s always changing. But recordings - whether vinyl, cassette or CD - are limited in length, and replay identically each time you listen to them. So in the past I was limited to making the systems which make the music, but then recording 30 minutes or an hour and releasing that. REFLECTION in its album form - on vinyl or CD - is like this. But the app by which REFLECTION is produced is not restricted: it creates an endless and endlessly changing version of the piece of music.

Minimum requirements:

iPad 3
iPhone 5
iPad mini 2
AppleTV (4th generation)

[ The current version (as of 2016/12/31) : ]

Released: Dec 31, 2016
Version: 1.0
Size: 112 MB
Languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish
Seller: Opal Limited
© Opal Limited 2016

Compatibility: Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Other ( URL item identifier): id1180524479
  • Other ("itemId" from App's XML file - iTunesMetadata.plist): 1180524479

Other Versions (5 of 14)View All

Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
Reflection (2×LP, 45 RPM, Album)Warp Records, Opal RecordsWARPLP280Europe2017
New Submission
Reflection (CD, Album, Limited Edition, Ultimate High Quality CD)Beat Records, Warp Records, Opal RecordsBRC-538Japan2017
Reflection (CD, Album)Warp Records, Opal RecordsWARPCD280Europe2017
New Submission
Reflection (CDr, Limited Edition, Special Edition, CD+)Warp Records, Opal RecordsWARPCD280XUK & US2017
Reflection (File, FLAC, Album)Warp RecordsWARPCDD280Europe2017



thebleat's profile picture
debaerdemaeker78 --- The Reflection release on fixed formats (CD, File, Vinyl) when played at intended speed is a good representation of the generative iOS App version. Meaning the App plays at that intended speed (there are no speed or 'mood' options). Certainly one can record the App's output and adjust the speed of that recording (I should try this - sounds like a good idea ;).

You might be interested in Sisters ...
- If you can get access to it - I find it vastly superior to Reflection - very similar yes, but seems to consists of much deeper sonic qualities / without such a persistent (almost 'in-your-face') foreground found in Reflection. The 4 tracks on 'Sisters' need not be slowed down to create an atmosphere easy to sink into...

A shame the Sister Tracks are not available in a generative format :(
debaerdemaeker78's profile picture
Edited 4 years ago
yes indeed,this brian eno lp sounds fantastic at 33rpm,i like it much more than 45 rpm.does the i phone app plays the music at the speed of 45 rpm?then the lp is really nice that you can lower the speed and make it a essential release to this music piece of brian eno
thebleat's profile picture

The official releases in the FIXED formats (CD and download File) consists mainly of two excerpts from the music generated by the App / Program ...

See: 'A Conversation With Brian Eno About Ambient Music'

In the interview section, Brian begins speaking of the selection/editing process after Philip Sherburne asks: "Given the infinite nature of the Reflection project, was it difficult to select the 54-minute chunk [...]"

I myself am more familiar with the music generated by the App than the CD (or File). And I can see what you're saying about the sonic qualities of the actual sounds he has chosen to program into the algorithm - But only for the elements in the foreground - and not even so much to be disappointed. What I particularly enjoy are the elements it mixes with; the ones in the middleground and background. The foreground elements do nicely fit with everything else in the resulting mix. On top of that, the App plays differently during different times of the day.

I find such background elements, for Reflection, are head and shoulders above the background element used for their Bloom App - which is a simple loop that plays over and over and over and over (it gets to be monotonous / even annoying) - which incidentally was lifted directly from their (Brian Eno & Peter Chilvers) Spore video game soundtrack.

Back on Reflection's Foreground elements - definitely nice enough for me - so much better than what Neroli is comprised of.

Side Note on Neroli:
In general I find Neroli to be the most over-rated of Brian's ambient works (I personally would apply your comments about the sonic qualities of the actual sounds chosen to Neroli) - In fact, the Neroli duration of 57:58 actually consists of one excerpt that is only a little over 19 minutes long. It plays 3 times to create the released Neroli track. And, odd enough, part way through the last repeat (around 9:40 into it) there is a timing glitch that throws the remainder of the track off (shortening it) by about 2 samples, even on the remastered release (no joke).

More on the Apps:
I find Trope to be the most sonic-ally pleasing. And Scape, although the Apps inventive structure is a nice step forward, as a whole the lack of variety in the generated music does not seem to fit the way the App is structured - musically Scape is all very much like that of '77 million Paintings'...
Fumi's profile picture
The only thing I've found disappointing about this album, (although I'm not so sure it applies to the app due to it's constantly unfolding nature) is that the actual sounds he has chosen to program into the algorithm that produces what you hear on 'Reflection' are pretty uninspiring.

21st century Brian Eno has a very peculiar idea of what constitutes a beautiful sound. The actual textures and atmospherics don't do an awful lot for me and are, dare I say it, old-fashioned. They are the sort of sound he was producing back in his Koan period.

I appreciate that he's trying to let a machine dictate what happens but he could have given it better sounds to play with. While I applaud his desire to bring generative music to the fore, nothing on 'Reflection' even remotely comes close to the beautiful sounds on albums like 'Thursday Afternoon' and 'The Shutov Assembly'.

Ironically, the instruments he used on Shutov Assembly (I'm guessing late 80s Korg Series, Roland D50 and Yamaha DX7 all treated and maniplulated) sound more modern and futuristic than the (largely) uninspiring sounds on 'Reflection'.