In the liner notes for Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978), Brian Eno lays out his strategy for an ambient music. He recounts being laid up in bed with a broken leg at his home when a visitor put a new record on the stereo for him to enjoy. She left with the volume of the stereo much too low, causing the music to merge with all of the other sounds in the room. Stranded in his bed and unable to adjust the volume, Eno began to enjoy the effect of such quiet music and realized that music could be made as a serious background — a carefully considered ambience meant to be largely ignored.
Ten years later, in an interview with PC Magazine, Brian Eno picked up the thread of an ambient composition. To his interviewer’s dismay, he claimed that the only useful quality of computers is their potential as semi-automated compositional systems. He confronted the interviewer, stating that “the only interesting thing about computers is screensaver software.” Software used to move large chunks of data around (such as video editing, page layout or even word processing) were all wrong — the transformative power of software was its ability to create real-time models that automatically generate endless variations.