Brian Eno

January 07003: Bell Studies for the Clock of the Long Now (Opal)

Teacher's Pet
On Brian Eno's latest, the 55-year-old composer and theorist finds himself into deep gongs and deep thought. To illustrate, January 07003 is Eno's synthetic-bell accompaniment to a clock designed to operate for 10,000 years.

While playing with his calculator one day, Brian set out to compute the number of days in 10,000 years. Using just a 10-bell peal, he reckoned, a different sequence of bells could sound every day for 10,000 years. So he asked Danny Hillis, the clock's creator, to construct an algorithm to generate some three-million-plus sequences without repeating. Then Hillis ascertained exactly what series of tones would be heard during January 7003. The resulting pieces ring and chime the new year with thoughtful hums and overtones. It's another fascinating addition to Eno's catalog of ambient works, if you're into that sort of "luscious silence," as he calls it. Otherwise, it might just come across as a random collection of church and doorbells, or simply one big, long donnnnnnnggggg.

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