The Smith's Journal - October 2004

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Wow, nearly a whole month without writing here, but autumn is always a difficult time - like many people, I find that my motivation has vanished, and I succumbed to a cold. So I've been doing lots of stuff behind the scenes: tinkering with computers, learning BASH scripting, practising piano, reading, writing, researching ever-elusive silent PC hardware. Writing about Andrzej Panufnik's music has inspired me to start writing a bit about my own, largely because nobody else will! :-)

Charlie Gillett

Ian has an interesting report about recent events in London at the alternative ESF. While he was off enjoying that, Charlie Gillett was spinning some wonderful sounds on his Saturday night radio show on BBC London 94.9FM. Last weekend he was playing Radio Ping-pong with French/Iraqi group Aiwa, who had some entertaining tunes up their sleeves: what a joy to hear Coltrane, Magma and Can within twenty minutes on mainstream radio! :-) Aiwa's own music was pretty cool too. Other bands I need to hear more of were Romanian rappers Shukar Collective, Volga, whose acclaimed CD 'Three Fields (Pagan Songs Of Ancient Russia)' had some nice deep analogue techno basslines done right with wailing Russian female vocals, and the awesome ouds and inspirational Morrocan mystic chanting of Nass El Ghiwane (whose Queen Elizabeth Hall gig this week I'll sadly miss due to work).

Show And Tell Music

And finally I must thank Chris for telling me about Show And Tell Music, a collection of weird and hilarious record cover art from a bygone age ;-)


111 Hertz

Radio 4's informative PM programme had a fascinating piece about the work of Brian Barritt studying the magical effects of sound waves at 111 Hz on human consciousness. This is around about the pitch of a didgeridoo or low bass voice singing at the 2nd A below middle C. This frequency has been found to stimulate beta endorphins in the brain. (My vocal piece "Prana", drones on this note for some time, yet was recorded years before I knew this.) Apparently, ancient megalithic sites were built with sacred chambers that resonated at precisely this frequency, and it is surmised that they were purposely constructed of these dimensions so as to accentuate altered states during rituals, which resulted in the many cave paintings of spirit guides painted while in trances.

The programme discussion was underlaid with a deep vocal chanting at this magic pitch (about which listeners later commented with some hilarity that they had fallen asleep at the wheel :-) Listening to this as I drove home, I can affirm the positive effects on my soulular structure, as I continued chanting for the next twenty miles :-)

Later I looked on the web, but couldn't find much apart from this review of an event (in 2002?) featuring Brian Barritt called Megalithomania!, which mentions prehistoric monuments such as Loughcrew and Knowth in Ireland. Sounds uplifting!


The Seventh Peace In Nature Walk

[ The girl with fire in her fingers, atop Steps Hill ]Survived the lunar eclipse and am coming out of the other side of a weird month. Yesterday's Seventh Peace In Nature Walk was somewhat low in attendance, but high in spirit.

Computer Telepathy

I'm beginning to build up a good telepathic relationship with my Debian machine (or perhaps I should get out more... 8-) having twice in a row now asked it to update files for me in the background while I do other work. Then, I go back and check minutes later to witness it completing the task right at that instant :-) Small things...

Reading the comp.os.linux.* newsgroups on Google Groups for info about Linux-friendly graphics cards, I found myself agreeing with the third post of this thread, only to find out who wrote it... ;-)

I can't believe I'm still lost in the same hardware quandaries three years on! Enough! I promise now to forget chasing unsupported vapourware, PC gear and expensive audio gear, and focus on getting all the kit I've already got talking to each other and into production.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Licence © The right to copy is left with the user copyleft Malcolm Smith 2004-10-25 - last updated 2006-02-12 - links verified 2006-02-12