Music – a systemic functional approach – revisited

Posted by jerry on July 5th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Music

I had some wonderful feedback from Frieberg-trained linguist Tamsin Sanderson on my systemic functional music schema and as a consequence have incorporated a number of amendments – this piece is developing rapidly!

I have added a component in the text on the physics of music, and on why pianos are always out of tune – and why THAT is a radical innovation for western music!

Enjoy 🙂


We are the Strange…

Posted by jerry on July 2nd, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

It’s amazing what can be done with a couple of macs and three years of extraordinary creative thinking! “We are the strange” is a new-media movie – part game scene part Donnie Darko and part AI – that draws on the mash-up/remix culture to produce a loud colourful and quite hypnotic piece. This is a movie by M-dot-Strange – and it has gained official selection for the Sundance Film Festival.

You can see a preview of it on YouTube – a very appropriate space for it

There’s an excellent review of the movie here by Ondar Skall a new media journalist and SecondLife inhabitant.

Thanks to Angela Thomas, who has a good write-up of it on her blog.


Full Circle does Bollywood

Posted by jerry on June 28th, 2007 — Posted in Journal

It’s true! An Australian band playing Irsh music will be playing at the Bollywood-Link multicultural festival on Saturday 🙂

We shall be at the Bankstown Town Hall and its immediate surrounds in Sydney for a day and evening of music and dancing. Also playing are Mothers of Intention and Nasheli Rakkasa.


You might even see us in a Bollywood movie coming to your screens down the track a little.

An untold story

Set in 1700 – 1800s, Forgiveness & Forgotten, tells of British travel across the Indian and Pacific Oceans, it is a story of kidnapping, recruitment and about the false promise of a new way of life for the Indian people of Fiji. It uncovers the real story of the struggle by native and Island people in those days, that is today almost forgotten!

This will be a Bollywood/Colonial Australian movie full of intrigue and struggle – and maybe a few Hindu gods too!

Anyhow it promises to be a great weekend – come and see us play!


The missing app from Google Apps

Posted by jerry on June 25th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Music, New media, Technology

Google Apps has brought Office software (docs and spreadsheets) into Web 2.0 with its browser-based editing suites. And Picasa offers photo editing and sharing. SecondLife has 3D modelling tools. Even YouTube has online video editing software, but there is still a gap.

We seem to live in such a visual society that the audio side is deeply neglected – Where is the YouTube or Picasa for musicians or podcasters? Surely the soundtrack to our lives is just as important as the visual!

Sure there are free downloadable software (such as Audacity, MutliTrackStudio, Anvil Studio and GarageBand which comes with the new Macs) for specific platforms for sound editing, but the current crop is neither browser-based nor platform-indpendent.

As the 3D web takes off I can see increasing demand for people to be able to record music, and ambient soundscapes for SecondLife and to be able to stream those sounds straight into these virtual worlds.

So here is my challenge to Google – how about developing the browser-based GarageBand [tm] for the masses?


Boulton and Watt beam engine – the museum experience

Posted by jerry on June 23rd, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Steam, Technology

In London recently I visited one of my favourite haunts – the London Science Museum, where they have an excellent collection of steam engines, among other things. On a previous visit I managed to coincide with a live steam day when they had several of the engines operating under steam.

One of the most impressive of these is the Boulton and Watt rotative engine – a beam engine of substantial proportions.

Boulton and Watt engine

On that day I was spellbound by the awesome ‘breathy’ sound of the engine and the impressive sight of the huge flywheel spun up to around 300 revolutions per minute. The sensation of speed and fury was palpable – a really immersive way to come to grips with the impact these engines would have made on a public unused to artificial power on such a scale.

I was disappointed on the most recent visit to find that there was no sign these engines had been recently operated under steam, so they were relegated to static displays that most people hurried past to get to other parts of the museum. Even the reorganisation into themes – which may be fine for a half-hour glance at the highlights – meant there wasn’t a good sense of how these machines evolved from fairly basic low-pressure engines to highly sophisticated efficient and high-power engines that drove the industrial revolution until well into the middle of last century.

Mine hauling engine

While museum practice has changed markedly over the past decade, and mostly for the better, I certainly hope that future museum-goers will have the opportunity to see these machines in action so the sights are enriched by the sounds of the great beam engine – or the almost silence of the huge red mine lifting engine.

In the meantime – Australia’s Powerhouse Museum in Sydney actually has the world’s oldest Boulton and Watt rotative engine – built in 1785 and used for 102 years in the Whitbread Brewery in London.

Here is the engine in operation