Ian Baxter
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Enosstudio

I'm not sure entirely what to call this piece. It's certainly another ambient webpage experiment. Intended to be played at length and let the elements make different chance combinations. But the manner of its composition is something rather new. It's an 'anecdotal' or 'speculative' conceptual piece. It all centres around a chance quotation from Eno about a tape he used to play in his studio.

"My friend Peter Schmidt and I used to put together long, long tapes that were extremely similar in mood. We would do a two-hour tape that changed mood only in the most subtle way. I remember he did one for me that was the slow movements of all the [sic] Hayden string quartets. He arranged it so that the key changes were very nice, from one slow movement to the next."

Eno in Keyboard Magazine 1995

"My friend Peter Schmidt made me a tape of all the slow movements from the late Haydn quartets - there are six of them - arranged so there were nice shifts between them"

The Mojo Collection pg 418

Some investigation would suggest - given Eno's identification of 6 quartets - that he is referring to the Erdody quartets. They are late (op. 76) and there are six of them.

Eno suggests that Schmidt's tape arranged them sequentially but this web piece takes these slow movements as its base material and postulates or conceptualises that one day, Eno arranged the tapes on four individual tape recorders to produce a random mix of four of the quartets at any one time. In line with his practice at the time, Eno then fed this though a nicely decaying tape-delay and plenty of reverb. To cap it off, in typical Eno fashion, the tapes were put on half and quarter speed.

Eno has commented on the half-speed technique in several interviews. Pieces he produced such as Michael Nyman's 1-100 were also submitted to this process.

"I noticed that years ago when I was experimenting with Revoxes, and often found that I preferred the pieces played back at half speed. This was just not because of the softer, more sombre tonality, but simply because less happened."

Sound on Sound Interview

"I made a tape for him and slowed it down to half speed, just to hear what it sounded like, and I liked it so much that I left it as it was"

Eno in Mojo Interview June 1998

""the first original piece of music I ever made, at Ipswich Art School in 1965 [was] recordings of a metal lampshade slowed down to half and quarter speed, all overlaid...""

Liner notes to Reflection (2017)

Enjoy!

Sheffield, Jan 2018

Acknowledgements

As with most of my excursions into the Web Audio API, I am in debt to Tero Parviainen's introduction to the web-audio API.

The Haydn quartets themselves are culled from Youtube and are played by the Tátrai Quartet

I adapted the analogue-sounding delay code from this tutorial from Chris Lowis