Thursday, August 20, 2015

Album review: "Matins d'Ariège" by Stéphane Marin

It begins with a juddering of a window being buffeted in the wind, and then we are sucked out into a squall, wind swirling about us. To lock out the gale we slam doors closed, slide bolts on their supports, and latch squeaky shutters. Thunderous impacts alternate with the howling gale in a procession of inside/outside, far/near, dissipation/intensification.

Literally and figuratively "Bourrasques" is an opening. It's a stunning way to commence Matins d'Ariège, a new release by Stéphane Marin. For two years Marin gathered sounds in the village of Fabas, embedded in the Pyrénnées Ariégeoises region of France, using mostly binaural and contact microphones.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Eurozone Crisis resource page

no future

My last article assumed quite a lot about the reader's knowledge regarding the Eurozone Crisis. It at least took for granted that the reader's attentive intellect had pierced the veil of propaganda surrounding this issue. Here I collect supplementary references. This is for those who still need convincing, or for those who want a handy place to send others.

Since this is a current event, the information is time-sensitive. Already it is in the past. Or at least it is framed that way by a news media that hops from one crisis to another. But the situation continues; people have to live with it. And the forces that generated this crisis are still at play. The same will be done again.
Thursday, July 09, 2015

BBC News as creator of the "Greek Crisis"

How do news media shape the stories we read? What role do they play in forming mainstream opinion? Complex questions, but we can learn a lot from simply reading a web page, both for the choice of "facts" and for how this information is represented. As a topical example, I will examine the BBC News coverage of the "Troika Crisis", AKA the "Greek Crisis", by looking at one snapshot of their web page.
Sunday, May 10, 2015

PIP microphone tests

Audiotalaia omni PRO

Here are the results of a microphone test I performed with some compact electrets and my small Olympus recorder. Read on for a description of the test. Download the files (link near the end) so you can reach your own conclusions. I trust this will be of value for those making similar decisions.
Friday, May 08, 2015

On the Occasion of the UK General Election


The UK has been doomed since the Second World War, which the country lost to the USA. Recall that rationing only formally ended in 1954, and had repercussions far after. (See "Government Cheddar" for an intriguing history.) The country now has no basic industry or sustainable means of economic existence, instead relying on two mechanisms for survival. It is these that define the contemporary "empire".
Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Sonic Vigil and the search for accidents

David Stalling

Sonic Vigil is a group durational improvisation, held annually in Cork. See my last post for a list of the organisers and this year's participants (some of whom I will picture here). In this article I will describe my approach to improvisation in general, and this event in particular. This will lead into technical discussions to be posted later.
Monday, May 04, 2015

Sonic Vigil 9 Thanks and Photos

Sonic Vigil 9 perspective view, St. Mary's Church

Saturday last saw an incredible crew of musicians and sound artists gather in Cork, for the ninth annual Sonic Vigil. This six hour event is scheduled by a computer programme, so that every musician plays for a total of one hour, but doesn't know in advance who will be playing with them. Attentive listening and great sensitivity in sound production is required for this to work in any way, shape, or form.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

SendEmail automates boiler-plate email messages

Last week I needed to email out marks to my students. How to automate a bulk email project? No doubt the Internet will turn up hundreds of spyware-infested programmes of dubious lineage and intent, all designed for just this purpose.

So I turned to Python. Because if I write my own code I can trust it to do exactly what I wish, no more, no less. And so memories of Paul's first Python programme came flooding back... ah, sweet nostalgia! If you have no idea what I am talking about here, read Sunday's article. In it, I presented the minimal four line Python snippet that sends email. In this article I will develop that core into a fully-functional command-line application.
Sunday, April 12, 2015

Python... and a letter to an editor

Python, the programming language, seems to be in the news more than usual. Or perhaps it's just the "Python For Beginners" article in Communications of the ACM that got me thinking. The article seems unreasonably critical for one ostensibly promoting the language. And so, for the first time, I've written a letter to the editor of that esteemed journal. More on that in a moment.

If I think through all of the technologies that have made my life easier and better, the first one that comes to mind is, quite naturally, the Internet. The second is Python, created by Guido van Rossum. Allow me to reminisce for a moment.
Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Meditations on Light" by Simon Whetham

music for solar eclipse

Simon Whetham is a sound artist whose work covers a wide range of activities, from installations to compositions to workshops. For a long time now I've avoided hearing much of his music, perhaps because I always had a feeling that it might be uncannily close to my own work. But now, following on the solar eclipse, it seems somehow appropriate to share my review of this particular excellent release.