Sunday, April 29, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Earth Tunes

This seismologist turned sound artist records sounds of the earth using seismometers! Listen: Hearing Earth: Rumblings of a Complex Planet

This clip is part of a series that NPR put together where people can share their sound worlds. Reminds me of the good old sound journals. SoundClips

Friday, April 20, 2007


'Pipe organ' plays above the Sun
By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News, Preston

Coronal loops are generated by the Sun's magnetic field

Acoustic waves
Immense coils of hot, electrified gas in the Sun's atmosphere behave like a musical instrument, scientists say.
These "coronal loops" carry acoustic waves in much the same way that sound is carried through a pipe organ.

Solar explosions called micro-flares generate sound booms which are then propagated along the coronal loops.

"The effect is much like plucking a guitar string," Professor Robert von Fay-Siebenbuergen told BBC News at the National Astronomy Meeting in Preston.

The corona is an atmosphere of hot, electrically-charged gas - or plasma - that surrounds the Sun. The temperature of the corona should drop the further one moves from the Sun.

But, in fact, the coronal temperature is up to 300 times hotter than the Sun's visible surface, or photosphere. And no one can explain why.

Fiery fountains

The coronal loops arch hundreds of thousands of kilometres above the Sun's surface like huge fiery fountains, and are generated by the Sun's magnetic field.

As solar plasma travels from the photosphere into the loops, it is heated from about 6,000 Kelvin (5,700C) to upwards of one million Kelvin.

Solar explosions called micro-flares can release energy equivalent to millions of hydrogen bombs.

These blasts can send immensely powerful acoustic waves hurtling through the loops at tens of kilometres per second, creating cosmic "organ music".

"These loops can be up to 100 million kilometres long and guide waves and oscillations in a similar way to a pipe organ," said Dr Youra Taroyan, from the Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre (SP2RC) at the University of Sheffield.

The sound booms decay in less than an hour and dissipate in the very hot solar corona.

Professor von Fay-Siebenbuergen, who is director of SP2RC, said that studying how plasma is heated to such high temperatures in coronal loops could speed up the technological development of industrial-scale nuclear fusion on Earth.

'Star on Earth'

Nuclear fusion is the same process which powers the Sun and other stars. Unlike the burning of fossil fuels, fusion reactions produce no carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas blamed by scientists for warming the planet.

Fusion works on the principle that energy can be released by forcing together atomic nuclei rather than by splitting them, as in the case of the fission reactions that drive existing nuclear power stations.

In the core of the Sun, huge gravitational pressure allows this to happen at temperatures of around 10 million Celsius.

At the much lower pressure that is possible on Earth, temperatures to produce fusion need to be much higher - above 100 million Celsius

In nuclear fusion experiments, powerful magnetic fields can be used to isolate hot plasma from the walls of a containment vessel.

This reduces the conductive heat loss, allowing the electrified gas to be heated to high temperatures.

The most promising magnetic confinement systems are ring-shaped; called a torus.

Professor von Fay-Siebenbuergen said a coronal loop could give clues to improving nuclear fusion because it could be regarded as a half-torus.

The Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting in Preston runs from 16-20 April.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

way too much korean music

questionable hits from our favorite lump of land by the sea of japan. This site is like a flamethrower of content coming right at you. it is funny to paw through as it contains everything from painful pop-folk-ethno-kitsch, to austere, dark and seductive string obsessions. my favorite sections are the "Seoul Saeul Kayagum Trio" and the "Our Favorite Music Series", but I havnt listened to everything. Hold onto your taste, bitches.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

John Cage visits the anechoic chamber

"In 1948, Cage joined the faculty of Black Mountain College, where he regularly worked on collaborations with Merce Cunningham. Around this time, he visited the anechoic chamber at Harvard University (an anechoic chamber is a room designed in such a way that the walls, ceiling and floor will absorb all sounds made in the room, rather than bouncing them back as echoes. They are also generally soundproofed.) Cage entered the chamber expecting to hear silence, but as he wrote later, he "heard two sounds, one high and one low. When I described them to the engineer in charge, he informed me that the high one was my nervous system in operation, the low one my blood in circulation." Cage had gone to a place where he expected there to be no sound, and yet sound was nevertheless discernible. He stated "until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death. One need not fear about the future of music." - wikipedia

+ + +

"He ended up composing a three-minute piece that consisted of nothing but silence, to allow audiences to reflect on the reality that no person has yet been able to escape noise entirely -- except presumably the deaf.">

Sunday, April 1, 2007

a singular christmas

this album was made by having a computer listen to christmas records for two weeks in an attempt to understand just what qualifies as holiday music. Yes, its slightly awful, but just as often there is something as dark and compelling as titles like "berries sleeping" would imply. Bring your own milk.

a singluar christmas

dont know exactly how the analysis worked, but the website told me this:

The recipe for generating this Eigenmusic (”synthesized music representing the maximal variety of the input music”) was cooked up in 2003 as the live radio station “Eigenradio.” It was a hilarious joke if you laughed at beehives, pleasing if you liked electric closets. Here’s what the process is: you parameterize music into some set of features (pitch content, frequency response, high level structure, etc) and set some rate — say a set of features every 100 milliseconds or four beats. You then pass those series of features to a popular statistical algorithm that tries to remove dependence among variables in the feature– removing “redundant” information– perceptual compression. Repetitive structures such as beat and harmony are whittled down to a representation that can always expand back later.

As for the role of composer, maybe semi-conductor– I locked myself and family up in a darkened studio on the top floor at MIT, we turned up the speakers, played every track in a row, and I hovered my index finger over the Delete key. There’s not a single window in that place, but I’m sure it started snowing.

my current fav is "mountain Noel"