HIDDEN ORCHESTRA To Release Infinite
Album ‘CREAKS’ In Innovative New
Interactive App Format
Hidden Orchestra is the solo studio project of Joe Acheson – a composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, sound artist, remixer and documentary-maker who has musically collaborated with The British Library, National Trust, BBC, Eden Project, Kew Gardens, Saatchi Gallery, Sydney Botanical Gardens and many more.
With the Hidden Orchestra project, Joe uses production techniques from sample-based music to create an imaginary orchestra compiled from individual recordings of a diverse array of instruments, drums and found sounds, from rain and birdsong through to industrial and mechanical noises.
Prague-based indie games company Amanita Design enlisted the help of Hidden Orchestra to create the soundtrack to their new puzzle adventure Creaks. In order to avoid listener fatigue caused by constantly restarting and looping pieces of music, Joe decided to create an endless ‘living soundtrack’, using software primarily designed for sound effects and atmospheres.
By creating numerous variations for every part played by every instrument, and choosing between them using randomised conditional logic, the game’s music is self-generating and infinite, with constantly varying arrangements. While each piece is clearly recognisable, it will never sound exactly the same twice.
This sparked an idea for Acheson, whose music is regularly used by artists, coders, and writers as a concentration playlist while they work. What if this infinite listening experience could exist outside the confines of a video game? And with this, Creaksbox was born. The app is not a game, it’s a music player for an infinite adaptive soundtrack. Unlike traditional release formats it will sound different every time you hear it and it has no fixed duration. The music is heard as it is in the game for which it was composed – heavily randomised and generative arrangements remix themselves, allowing the record to keep playing infinitely. This creates a ‘living soundtrack’ which sounds fresh every time you listen to it.
Users can engage with the app actively or passively – actively, by controlling the structure and choosing the length of each section of each track, moving seamlessly to the next section at the press of a lever. Or passively, by just choosing an initial approximate album length, and letting the app automatically play a new version of the whole album. The music was designed to be an atmospheric backdrop to assist creative thinking and problem-solving, so the app is well-suited to this – set it to any duration and let it do its thing while you work, rest or play.
On the process, Joe says:
“Composing music, like any creative task, is about making a series of choices. For every choice made, at least one other option remains unexplored, and another version of the work is never created. Composing music using software which can choose between several different ideas at each fork in the road allows you to explore multiple options simultaneously, and many different versions of a piece of music can exist at once. This is at once incredibly liberating, but also inspiring – when making the ‘fixed’ version of the soundtrack for conventional release formats, I often struggled to make arrangements as interesting as the ones thrown up by the carefully-controlled randomisation in the app – with the result that I actually used arrangements created by the app for several of the tracks on the OST album.”
Creaks the video game is out now, the original soundtrack is set to be released on translucent blue vinyl via Minority Records on November 20th with the app to be released on the same day, as a free download.
Free Sample Version- http://creaksbox.amanita-design.net/