Monday, February 2, 2015

Weekly Update - Acoustic Electronic

Music: Thieves Like Us - Play Music
I've been digging into the music I collected in my heavy electronica phase (it's good exercise music) and I haven't been let down by the former version of me. I had a few songs by Thieves Like Us, and I decided on a whim to download the rest of the 2009 album. It's very interesting and intellectually made! There's a lot of theme and variation, which I love in all forms of music, and it's got a great beat for dancing, exercising, cooking, clipping your cat's toenails, whatever. Check out the first track below. (Note: I don't own a cat so don't send me any lawsuits if something goes wrong!).

Accomplishment: Using Processing for Data Visualization
Yep, that's right. I was (somewhat) able to make Processing do my virtual design bidding. I was able to make it read my excel document and parse data to visualize according to my original design. It's really not much, but it took a lot of mental fortitude (I felt emotionally tired afterwards!) Here's my favourite part, when I figured out how to change colour based on incoming or outgoing calls in the excel document:

Goal: Figure out my life (in terms of workshop)
Learning D3 isn't going as well as I'd hoped. I had a small realization that everything in D3 is designed to be very simplified and easy so that the visuals don't get in the way of the data. We know that they have to work together harmoniously to make a good piece of data visualization. That's all wonderful news, but I want specific colours for each of the nodes - which match the colour scheme I've been using in the print version of the book. And I don't think D3 is good for this and other, more difficult things I had planned as well. I will keep working at it for about another week, and then I may have to switch to CSS Animations and Javascript. Not ideal, but it will still be animated, interactive, and work in everyone's browser (including mobile, if I can muster the time to make it 100% responsive). So, not all is lost.

Random Thought:
I love electronic music. I felt I had to frame the following instalment of 'random thought' with that sentiment because this is going to sound slightly hateful, and I want to set the record straight. I was listening to a great remix of a song today (oh, hey, it's listed above!) and I really liked the changes made to the drums. Every time I hear a good drum beat I wonder if the sheet music for percussion might be available online. Of course it wouldn't be for this instance, since remixes aren't (usually) made with real drum beats. They could be derived from individual sounds of drums, but I highly doubt the drumming was originally produced for the remix. I hope you follow me so far.

So what if there were a remix band (key - not a DJ) who did great remixes of songs, but everything was done live and with real instruments! Even electronic remixes could be done this way - use real drums and guitar, add a synth in because you're probably gonna need it, and you're done! I don't know a whole lot about the process of making remixes digitally, but I get the feeling that there could be a lot more room for improvisation if someone decided to try this out. Hey, maybe it already exists!

Inspiration: Richard Serra's Shift
Have you ever been to King City, Ontario? It's a little burg about 50 kilometres north of Toronto, and there isn't much to speak of there. Except for one crazy phenomenon: there is a huge installation/sculpture out in a field (now owned by Great Gulf homes), created by the famous Richard Serra. It's called Shift, and you have to trespass to see it in person. If you want to see it not-in-person, all you have to do is scroll down. Pretty easy.

As many people do, I'd like to make my own personal pilgrimage to see it - hopefully some time before the snow melts! But as treacherous as it is during the summer, I would think that it would be even more so with snow and wind and such. Still, very tempting.

The sculpture is made of concrete and it juts out of the ground at seemingly weird angles. It's so long that you can't see one end from the other (assuming you're of normal height). The angles are actually all completely straight, but show off the land's gentle curve of little hills and valleys.

But I really do wonder why Serra would agree to make a sculpture in such a remote place, where viewers are forced to break the law to witness its majesty. (Yes, I said majesty).

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