We released the Bloom app ten years ago, a few months into the existence of the iPhone App Store. We felt we were onto something special, but were nonetheless surprised by the reaction.
We built the app to explore uncharted territory in music and art: Bloom is a “generative” music tool for iOS that plays a low drone, and touching the screen produces different tones, which play in a loop. If the screen is left untouched, the software will create its own music. Bloom is an endless music machine, a music box for the 21st century. You can play it, and you can watch it play itself.
We started hearing stories from people using it to sleep or to unwind on long flights, and then some more unexpected uses: Parents were using it to soothe young children and in a few cases calm down autistic children.
We’ve noticed a pattern in the way people use Bloom. When they first get it, they tend to tap away frantically, cluttering the screen with expanding circles. They soon notice that everything they do echoes back at them, but slightly changed. Over the next few minutes, something wonderful happens: They slow down. Their focus shifts, they play less and listen more. They step into Bloom’s world.
We always felt that Bloom was a musical system that could be developed further — it was as if we’d built a CD player and only ever released one CD. For the release of Bloom: 10 Worlds, we’ve created ten new worlds, starting with a reimagined version of the original app, then progressing through a series of new shapes, colors and sounds, while quietly tinkering away with the rules behind the scenes.
It seems we need to calm down now more than ever. Hopefully Bloom: 10 Worlds will help a few more people achieve that.
The Bloom: 10 Worlds app by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers is a reimagining of the original not simply a remaster — 10 years after the first release. If the original Bloom was a single, then this would be an album. The widely broadened palette of sounds and images can be experienced via 10 new “worlds,” each exploring a new direction for Bloom. The first world the user encounters is an echo of the original app, with circles appearing where the user taps, while the later worlds each introduce new combinations of sounds, shapes, colors and rules of behavior. The app is available as of November 27 at generativemusic.com, starting at $4.99 U.S.
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