Music For AirPorts: Video Games Making Quiet Sounds

mariasci | January 5, 2009 2:00 am

Guitar Hero and Rock Band make loud noises and sell big, but there’s a quieter brand of music application bubbling under: the ambient sound creator. Disquiet traces the idea back to the GameBoy game Electroplankton, which allowed players to create sounds with a stylus, but it became prominent (among music nerds, anyway) with FM3’s Buddha Boxes, and the genre now encompasses Brian Eno’s iPhone app “Bloom.” But what is the artistic value of such sonic wallpaper, at least if users are supposed to be creators in some way?

As Disquiet points out, the great strength and weakness of these applications is that they create sounds, not songs. This makes them much easier to use, but is it a performance to just hit play? When the creators are the ones doing the hitting, sure. But as an instrument, it’s unclear of their utility beyond just novelty. Still, laptops are now entirely accepted as music-making devices. There’s no reason iPhones can’t be, too.

Best of 2008: 10 Albums, 10 Downloads, 8 Processes [Disquiet]FM3 Buddha Machine Wall [Zendesk]