This Weeks Detritus

Here are this weeks gems, links, flotsam & jetsam…

> Feeling a bit Augustus Pablo-like? Buy yourself a melodica or try this free sample set for ableton LIVE

Not sure why, but I always enjoy jamming on a melodica – I think its partly due to the keyboard being totally familiar but having breath control means you can quietly find the notes before letting rip! They’re a great instrument – no batteries required….

> I’ve been reading a book by Laurie Anderson called Night Life, which is a collection of images & text based on her dreams over a six month period. Sleep is a recurring theme for her, I remember years ago reading about a performance art project she did where she would go & fall asleep in public places & the reactions when people found her was really interesting eg some people got really angry! (I think about her everytime I go to the public library & see people snoozing) At the end of the book there is a brief discussion about dreams – interesting that no one really knows why we dream & the whole REM aspect is very interesting… But the other day I googled dreams & found a site that claimed that most dreams last from 5 to 20 minutes and during the span of a typical human lifetime we spend a total of six years dreaming! Six years! SIX YEARS!!! Thats quite a lot of time, especially considering we don’t know the reason why!

> While cutting ambiences this week I was playing around auditioning sounds in SoundMiner, and found something quite funny. One very handy feature in SoundMiner is that you can audition sounds with realtime speed/pitch control ie you can slow down sounds on the fly. Of course I do this all the time, just to see what it sounds like; half speed, quarter speed etc but things get really interesting when you play sounds at about 5-10% of real speed. I was auditioning seagull vocals & at 5% almost laughed out loud: THEY SOUND LIKE DINOSAURS! Then I stopped myself – what am I saying? No one has ever heard a dinosaur – there were no humans around at the time, let alone sound recording kits. It made me think about how cliches & traditions become established & we can take them as gospel when they are just informed guesses…. Look out here comes something that sounds like a 50ft seagull!!!

> Interesting article over at Kottke: Has 3-D Already Failed?
I’m due to take my nephews & niece to see UP, so I might take them to see it in 3D, just to see their reaction. Kids tend to give fairly honest responses & I’ll keep an eye on what percentage of the time they keep their 3D glasses on…

>In the fight against bloatware, I really appreciate a great new little music player for OSX called VOX – check it out & if you like it donate, its definitely worth encouraging. Whats so great about it? Well if you have a ridiculous music library like I do, then iTunes tends to be sluggish in behaviour… And VOX is everything that iTunes isn’t. Vox is tiny, doesn’t use much RAM or CPU resources, doesn’t maintain big libraries or try & sell you stuff. And what it does, it does very very well – it plays pretty much every format known to man, you can apply basic effects (it has a graphic EQ like iTunes but also reverb, distortion, echo, compressor, chorus flanger, phaser) and it has a loop function ie keep playing the current track indefinitely – these last features could be handy for musicians… I find I am using it more & more, especially when i just want to listen to something without copying it to my music library drive, waiting for iTunes to open, importing it etc etc… And I hope, like in the early days of ableton LIVE, the developers only add features as & when they really see a need to. Less really is more, when the same amount of thought has gone into fewer features. Heres the link again, check it out.

> Speaking of bloatware, Apple have a date on Sept 9th to release something… probably not a tablet but maybe that Cocktail interactive music thingy?

> If you have an interest in either contemporary Japanese architecture or photography, there is a great interview/talk between Tadao Ando & Hiroshi Sugimoto here – they discuss all sorts of things, including how one of Sugimoto-sans photos ended up on the front of a U2 album.

> Locally, its only 3 weeks until the Wellington City Art Gallery re-opens after a major rebuild including adding what looks like a state of art screening theatre. The opening exhibition is by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama

> Also locally, a new bar called Bettys has just opened which is tagged as a ‘Digital Art’ bar: “three of Bettys walls form a 55 square metre wrap-around screen for projected still and moving images with astounding picture definition.” – I’ll be checking it out!

> Have you seen District 9? What a great soundtrack! Respect to all the locals who worked on it!!! I understand there will be a Q&A on the excellent filmsounddaily site soon so keep an eye out for that! Also if you want to know a bit of local (to Johannesburg) backstory as to the inspiration for the ‘prawns’ in the film, have a read of this

> Every good film dub stage needs a ping pong table!
But check out these mind bending creations!

Lastly, as I post this a beautiful full moon is rising…..

The orange stick pointing at the moon is a giant kinetic sculpture: Zephyrometer by Phil Price, which moves as per the wind… perfect for this windy city!

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