- 07 Nov 19
What he refers to as one of the most exciting projects since his debut album, Oxygene, Jean-Michel Jarre launches his new infinite music app, EōN at Web Summit.
It would be easy to assume that in his seventies, French composer and music artist Jean-Michel Jarre doesn’t get easily excited. He has sold over 80 million records. He produced an album, Music for Supermarkets, in only one copy. He has played live concerts in front an audience of 3.5 million people.
Yet Jarre is brimming with excitement as he steps on the MusicNotes stage at this year’s congregation of techies in Lisbon, Web Summit. 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.
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 picks melodies from matching tempo groups and combines them to create an endless stream of music, separated in five-minute tracks. “I love the idea of using technology to create a moment that cannot be replicated,” he says.
EōN doesn’t offer just an infinite and unique music stream; it’s combined with as rich a set of evolving visuals, created by researcher Alexis André from CSL.
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, 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 says.
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.”
Pushing boundaries once again, Jarre and EōN are changing the traditional sense of music. “It’s music as an ephemeral experiment that will have a life of its own, which will continue long after I am dead.” 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.