Toyota have come up with a novel concept for a car – cars with emotion – want to reflect surprise at the ‘creative’ driving style of other road users? Suppose you could narrow your headlights, or wink, or raise eyebrow components. It seems that that time may not be too far away! Imagine a funeral procession in which the cars were crying, or if you could make your car smile when someone finally lets you into the traffic flow. Toyota has patented the idea of expressive cars so the jingle “oh what a feeling” takes on new meaning – on-road smilies – complete with a tail wagging aerial 🙂
But this will be a car with a mind of its own – an on-board computer will note degrees of aggressive braking and accelerating and will then react when a certain style of driving appears to reflect what it perceives as the drivers attitude… hmmm could be room for some serious misunderstanding here – and what of the embarrassing potential of a flacid antenna at the wrong moment – could send the wrong signals here!
The world is _precisely_ as it seems: an illusion of the most persistent kind. And our understanding of it constrained and limited by the language in which we express its terms – the terms being themselves metaphors sliding on metaphors throughout the great sedimentation of stories and narratives told about the way the world is. There are no spirits, just stories of spirits, no hidden crevices, gods or godesses, no souls no afterlives heavens or hells, just surfaces caressing other surfaces – what you see is what you get. The world is simply that which impinges on our senses – howsoever extended or enhanced by technologies of self…
… a response to a good friend’s WYSIWYG view of the world.
I have been reading Carlo Pedretti’s recent book on Leonardo da Vinci – it seems that Leonardo took a great interest in the emerging information technology explostion of his time – printing. And he designed a printing press with an automatic sheet feeder. But despite arranging and paginating some of his work to facilitate printing, none of his works were printed in his lifetime. In about 1505 Leonardo designed a basic system for the simaltaneous printing of text and images – a method eventually used by William Blake some two centuries later. It is fascinating work.
He also revisits the notion of an automobile, to be driven by springs which was also designed by Leonardo – And now the Italians are working on a full scale working model. It is as yet incomplete, but the site is well worth visiting!
Tracktion music recording software again shows its worth – we have had a productive weekend having recorded five scottish tunes, and laid down multiple tracks – this time with none of us together. I laid down the fiddle tracks, then when happy with the result, burnt them to CD, passed them on to Butch our guitar player to import the fiddle tunes and mix in his guitar backing – saving that mix to CD then passing it back so Bruce our bass player can lay his bass tracks down tomorrow evening. The result – a very relaxed sound and a good mix so far.
With the material we have down so far, we should have a decent 8-9 track demo ready by the end of next week. The total cost? About US$80 for the software (Butch is using different, open source software whose name escapes me) and a few bucks for blank CDs.
Tracktion’s ability to use VST plug-ins was useful – I sang a sea shanty – but as it was unaccompanied and my voice was not at its best, I wound up singing in D-flat! Enter Tracktion’s pitch/speed shifter – I raised the pitch by a semitone and slowed the result down by 10 cents and now we have a version that doesn’t jar too badly with the rest of the songs.
A good result all round I’d say – but I’m now somewhat tired and wired and ready for bed 🙂
I guess one of my favourite violinists is Vanessa Mae – an incredibly talented Thai/Chinese violinist who made (and continues to make) a huge impression on rock violin. Her site also has links to many many other violinist sites – one of whom is the similarly amazing Midori – for those who also enjoy the classical side of the instrument.
And then there’s Ashley McIsaacs – a cape Breton fiddle player of extraordinary power – the punk folk enfant terrible noted for his stage dress of tee-shirt, kilt and bovver boots. He is a player in my own style: folk with attitude! I was introduced to his music by a late dear friend – now deceased – called Rose Mulvale. I had described my playing style to her, and next thing, this CD arrives in the mail… and I’ve been hooked on Ashley McIsaacs’ music ever since!
While I don’t wear a kilt on stage, I have been known to play in formal tails, tee-shirt, bow tie and jeans 😉
One other tale I should relate is when I was a young novice fiddler, busking with the Celtic Music Club in Adelaide on North Terrace – just down from the Festival Centre. It must have been mid-late 1970s (perhaps 1978?) – A group of about 15 of us were playing Irish tunes to the passers by. Then this bloke strolls up – late in the evening – and stops to listen for a while. He is dressed in formal evening wear and leant on his walking stick. We played for a while and decided to have a little break. The bloke came up to me – he had a somewhat foreign accent that I couldn’t quite place. And he asked if he could have a go at my fiddle. I shrugged and said ‘sure… do you know how to play?’ he was non committal, but asked if I had anything to sit on. The only thing I had to hand was my square fiddle case and invited him to sit on that. He grasped the bow by the wrong end, and I said, ‘you might find a better balance if you hold it at the other end’. Well he sat and gripped the bow between his knees with the point upward facing towards him. He then proceeded to play the most amazing gypsy-Hungarian style music by running the violin up and down the stationary bow. He kept us spell-bound for about 20 minutes, and when he finally stopped, he stood up and thanked me while handing back my fiddle, we shook hands and he walked off. It was only later as I headed home past the Festival Centre that I saw his face plastered over the posters – Was it Itzhak Perlman? I was stunned! I think he got a kick out appearing from nowhere as a mystery person and totally spinning out a young musician, but doing so with real warmth and humour. I hope he got some inkling of the joy his spontaneous action brought to me!