Truth to Power

Bye bye Muzak, hello Bloom

First, we say goodbye to Muzak, which frankly had become superfluous since the rise of smooth jazz anyway:

Muzak Goes Bankrupt, Goodbye Elevator Music?

Muzak Holdings LLC has filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, The Wall Street Journal reports. The company, whose name has become synonymous with the bland background music you hear on elevators or in department stores, is attempting to restructure its massive debts, reported to reach almost $500 million.

Muzak was founded in 1934, but the non-distracting background music the company licensed didn’t spread until Warner Brothers later purchased it. President Dwight Eisenhower notoriously played Muzak in the White House and NASA has reportedly used the elevator music to calm down astronauts during missions.

Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t mean the company will be gone for good and it certainly won’t rid the world of elevator music, as many other companies have taken on the genre, but it’s a tough blow for saxophonists who play instrumental covers of hit songs.</em>

Sad as that might be, as one thing dies, another is created:

“bloom”

I finally got an iPhone this weekend, and came across this amazing application from Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers called “Bloom”. It turns your iPhone into an ambient musical and artistic instrument, creating loops of music and random visuals based on the different “moods” programmed into the software. It’s playing as I write this, and in the 15 minutes or so since I started it, it has evolved my initial 3 taps on the screen into a varied, looping composition that in a sense feels and sounds as if you’re jamming with Eno, circa Music for Airports . It is based somewhat on the Koan program, and its marriage to the iPhone is true genius. It is addictive, enriching, and aurally mesmerizing. Get it now.


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