Jem Finer’s 1,000-Year MP3

Once upon a time, a concert premiere in Europe meant waiting a few days for a news report. Now it means waiting a few hours before someone uploads a recording.

Case in point, Longplayer, an ongoing project by musician and artist Jem Finer (best known as a founding member of the Pogues), who hosted a performance of it last weekend at the Roundhouse in London, on September 12. The Roundhouse appears to be a place where old punks go to make sound art; it was the site of the recent installation of former Talking Heads lead singer David Byrne’s Playing the Building.

Finer’s Longplayer, inspired by the Long Now Foundation (which has inspired music previously by both Brian Eno, who was part of the think tank that helped Finer at the early stages of the Longplayer project, and Neal Stephenson, in his novel Anathem), is a 1,000-year composition, segments of which were performed on endlessly resonant Tibetan prayer bowls (MP3), as shown here:

[audio:|titles=”Longplayer (Excerpt)”|artists=Jem Finer]

The above photo and MP3 (along with an even higher-definition FLAC audio recording) were posted by Tim Ferguson at More on the project at, including an explanation of its graphical score, depicted here:

2 thoughts on “Jem Finer’s 1,000-Year MP3

  1. Hi there, just came across this. To be clear – Longplayer was not inspired by the Long Now. I’d never heard of it when I conceived and started work on Longplayer. Having said that, when I did hear of it it was (and continues to be) inspiring and exciting and felt like finding a kindred spirit . And Danny Hillis’s thinking about how one plans for the long term was most helpful. Hope you’re well. Jem

    1. Thanks so much for the clarification, Jem. Things are good here. That’s fascinating you weren’t yet aware of Long Now when starting Longplayer. Definitely kindred spirits.

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