Jean-Michel Jarre launches ‘infinite album’
As French composer Jean-Michel Jarre talks about his latest project - an endless piece of music that will live on after his death - his phone emits a deafening blast of punk.
"Uh-oh," he says, reaching down to turn it off. "I'm not entirely in control of these machines."
It's reassuring to learn a man widely regarded as the godfather of electronic music has IT problems like the rest of us. Yet you get the impression he's more capable than most.
Take, for example, his latest project Eon - a specially-programmed iPhone app that produces a dynamic, constantly evolving suite of music.
"It's like an infinite album," he says. "Each time you play the music, it's going to generate something special for you."
The album is built from seven hours of material the prolific musician composed, performed and recorded in his studio.
Every time you fire the app up it re-arranges the chords, beats and melodies in new ways, using a complex set of rules to make sure the music builds, drops and surprises the listener.
"I say this in a humble way, but what's interesting about this project is, actually, you are touching eternity," he says.
"Eon will exist after my death. You can plug it into a solar panel and it will play forever, after our lifetime. That's something new."
Jarre, a youthful 70-year-old, is aware he's not the first to delve into "generative" music.
Brian Eno's Bloom app, which was built around a similar concept, is now 11 years old; while the PlayStation video game No Man's Sky has a responsive soundtrack, built from more than 30 hours of samples by Sheffield math-rock band 65daysofstatic.
Where Eon differs, he says, is that it's conceived as an album, with distinct tracks and a rich variety of moods and tempos.
"It's not like other apps generating linear, ambient music," he says. "You might start with a really techno beat, but the next time you open it up, the experience will start with a string arrangement.
"It's still the same music concept, like an album, but it's different for each individual." -BBC