SONG: “Jump, Jump, Jump”.
SOURCE: Based on “Fish and Adaptation: Mangrove Fish Jumps into Air in Warming Water”, Nature World News, 21 Oct 2015, as used in the post “Global warming might make the fish jump.”
ABSTRACT: First, let me say that this was done on time, even early. It started as a jokey thing I was singing to my son while he was watching me play guitar on the couch, and I decided what the hell. They call it “playing” music for a reason. (I guess if I spoke …
In 1775, Pennsylvania Magazine wanted its readers to be up to date on the very latest in technological advances, including this machine for… well, it seems to be some kind of a caisson for dredging harbors, more than something that “cleanses docks.” Anyway, it’s very impressive, this American ingenuity.
From the device’s description: The machine consists of a horse-drawn crane on a boat with a crane and shovel. A man is shown operating the shovel. Includes a detail of …
SONG: “All Praise Black Ice”.
SOURCE: Based on “New Horizons Finds Blue Skies and Water Ice on Pluto”, NASA.gov, 8 Oct 2015, as used in the post “There’s water ice on another planet. Not Mars. Pluto.”
Laryngitis followed by a business trip and here I am, a couple weeks late. I hope the brass section makes up for that.
(Yes, there’s brass in there, somewhere. I really need help mastering these things, but one does what one can in between everything e…
They don’t look so hot.
Science Art: Chemical Laboratory room. Experimental Research labs, Burroughs Wellcome and Co. Tuckahoe, New York
Welcome to Wellcome.
They’ve got all kinds of wonderful things in their image gallery, including this marvelous experimenter in an even more marvelous experimental lab.
In 1935, this was where the future was made.
Three idols, from the Anales del Museo Nacional de Chile, published between 1892 and 1910.
I found them in the Biodiversity Heritage Library, which is usually full of biological specimens.
These three, however, are a little different… even if no one knows where two of them came from. Arica is a port city near two valleys that divide the Atacama Desert in north Chile.
He (or more likely she, even though as described in the text, “no hai tetas” and “la barba es d…
SONG: “Jump, Jump, Jump”. [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE: Based on “Fish and Adaptation: Mangrove Fish Jumps into Air in Warming Water”, Nature World News, 21 Oct 2015, as used in the post “Global warming might make the fish jump.” ABSTRACT: First, let me say that this was done on time, even early. It started as a jokey thing I was singing to my son while he was watching me play guitar on the couch, and I decided what the hell. They call it “playing” music for a reason. (I guess if I spoke Spanish, this could have taken a weird turn – but the only “touching” that took place was me touching a guitar.) Second, I should mention that I really kinda think the global warming angle of the original post is probably a little bit overstated. What’s really interesting about this is that it’s a fish doing something to adjust its body to warmer […]
SONG: “All Praise Black Ice”. [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE: Based on “New Horizons Finds Blue Skies and Water Ice on Pluto”, NASA.gov, 8 Oct 2015, as used in the post “There’s water ice on another planet. Not Mars. Pluto.” ABSTRACT: Laryngitis followed by a business trip and here I am, a couple weeks late. I hope the brass section makes up for that. (Yes, there’s brass in there, somewhere. I really need help mastering these things, but one does what one can in between everything else.) I basically had all the Philip Glass-ish orchestral tracks down in time to make the deadline, but didn’t have a voice when it came time to do the guitar and vocals. The shifting time signatures between verses and choruses was kind of a fortuitous accident – when I first started diddling around with a song about Pluto, I thought about doing it in 6/8 just for kicks, then somehow […]
SONG: “Levitating Diamonds (Tiny Impossible Things)”. [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE:Based on “Lasers used to levitate glowing nanodiamonds in a vacuum”, Science Daily, 7 Sep 2015, as used in the post “A laser levitating glowing nanodiamonds in a vacuum..” ABSTRACT: I really wanted to use “A laser levitating nanodiamonds in a vacuum” as a lyric, because it’s got such a great rhythm, but no, it didn’t happen. Musically, things fell together well – I came up with chords on a guitar, and to save time, transposed them into a MIDI thing with an Irish harp soundfont or something like that. The only “live” guitar on here is the little accent tweedles at the end of each verse, laden with all kinds of distortion and delay. Idea-wise, I’m not sure this conveys how weird it is to have something large enough to witness (in some way) that’s in a Schrodinger’s Cat-style superposition. I mean, I’m not sure […]
SONG: “One (Is The Loneliest Number)”. ARTIST: grant, featuring Sebastian Balfour. (Originally by Harry Nilsson.) SOURCE: It doesn’t have a research source. It’s a penitential cover of a haunting song by Harry Nilsson that Three Dog Night turned into a prog anthem, which Aimee Mann turned into stunning reclamation project. Nilsson still wins. ABSTRACT: I’ve been a penitential cover* behind for months and months. I first had the idea of doing this song in something like this way years ago, in fact. It’s such a peculiar little song – a kind of lament bass behind a meditation on number theory, or a heartbroken projection into mathematics… what *is* he thinking, anyway? The existential grief of binary? Two can be as bad as one. It makes sense, though, doesn’t it? Instinctively? Yes? No? This recording kind of shows off all the weaknesses of my not-really-monitoring setup (a pair of Koss Portapro headphones with no foam covers […]
SONG: “Thirty-Five Minutes (from Earth)”. [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE:Based on “NASA Windbots Could Explore Gas Giant Jupiter”, Sky News, 24 July 2015, as used in the post “Windbots to explore Jupiter – the bumpier the ride, the better..” ABSTRACT: The planet Jupiter is 35 light-minutes from Earth (give or take a couple of minutes depending on where in its orbit the planet is). So a robot floating in the turbulent winds of Jupiter would take that long to send a message here. Something like a sailor, a long way from home, or a balloonist who can’t land. Took a while to record this one – don’t know why. Got out my guitar amp, which I haven’t done in ages. Also took the mic outside to record an old washtub, and a plastic barrel being converted into a rain barrel, and an antique copper pitcher sitting on a copper plate. Nothing like using yard stuff for […]
SONG: “Kavachi”. [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE:Based on “Deep-Sea Cameras Reveal a ‘Sharkcano’”, National Geographic Explorers’ Journal, 9 July 2015, as used in the post as used in the post “Live Sharks Discovered Inside A Live Volcano.” ABSTRACT: There’s nothing I didn’t like about the process of writing this. If I was influenced by anyone in the making of this song, I guess it was The Residents, although the basic structure of it was unabashedly ripped off… myself. For about, oh, 15 years or so, I’ve had this vision of Devo doing a cover of a particular Doors song. It’s never going to happen. So I just stole that cover and rewrote it to have words about a sharkcano. Sharks. In a volcano. Filled with acid. Nearly everything you hear here is synthetic, except the main drum beat, which is me beatboxing into a pair of headphones, and the solo, which is a pair of sound […]
SONG: “Vulnerable Ape Theory (Going to a Blues Show with the Young Earth Creationists)”. [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE:Based on “Vulnerability made us human: how our early ancestors turned disability into advantage”, PhysOrg, 15 June 2015, as used in the post “The Vulnerable Ape theory of human origins.” ABSTRACT: This is the late song. I had the chorus on time, but no verses. Will these do? They have mutations and selection in them. This is a song about tolerating people who are wrong and different, just because the more we do that, the better off our species is. Let selection happen. Maybe someday I’ll get someone with a sweet, fey voice to record this for me… it so wants to be twee. And I’ll actually play a slide guitar in the bridge, where we’re singing about slide guitars. (Because we’re going to a blues show, remember?) The Young Earth Creationists would actually be a pretty good […]
SONG: “I Am Sailing.” [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE:Based on “LightSail”, sail.planetary.org, retrieved 13 May 2015, as used in the post “A solar sail unfurling. Not sometime in the unspecified future – *next week*.” ABSTRACT: Is this the song I wanted to write? I’m not sure. The lyrics were not the same as where I was aiming, but I stole a first line from a reflective moment, reminiscing about the hell of junior high school, in this podcast. Thank you, Mister Roderick, for a lyric. The idea here was that chemical rockets (and things that are fueled in general) can only get you so far. But a solar sail, while it starts really slowly, will just keep going and going. There’s a Taoist lesson there, or a Sub-Genius one, about the virtues of slack. And sails! In space! That is a beautiful thing, and now it is a real thing, and that is even more beautiful. […]
SONG: “How the Moon Began.” [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE:Based on “Puzzle of Moon’s origin resolved”, Nature, 8 April 2015, as used in the post “Scientists: The moon was formed when Earth smacked her twin sister.” ABSTRACT: Once again, Allison said this was the story that needed a song, and she was right. At around the same time, I was listening to “Cruel Sister” and thinking about murder ballads, but somehow, this didn’t come out folksy at all. I mean, except that it’s about ancient sisters getting into some kind of deadly fight. And has finger picking in it. I also kind of set out to write a *gushi* again, but that didn’t happen either – it kept wanting to rhyme, and then slant or else kind of extend past the rhyme (what’s the name for when that happens? Cole Porter does it all the time…). The thing that sounds like an accordion, isn’t. It’s a […]
SONG: “The Waves Around the Women.” [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE: Based on “Scientists have discovered nature’s newest strongest material“, Washington Post, 18 February 2015,as used in the post “Stronger than spider silk”. ABSTRACT: Two things happened that went into this. First, Allison said, “Can we have one about limpet teeth?” I don’t know just how far her tongue was in her cheek about that, but who cares? Limpet teeth are great! They’re as strong as growing things get! The other thing that happened was I threw my hat into the ring for a Game of Bands thing as a lyricist for what was supposed to be an Asian song. I decided to write a lyric for that in the form of an old Chinese poem called a gushi… a set number of syllables per line (seven), five lines per verse, and each verse subtly changing the semantics of a couple of lines… so that things […]
SONG: “White Coffee and Omelets.” [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE: Based on “Cut Sugary Drinks; Add Coffee, Eggs“, Laboratory Equipment, 20 February 2015,as used in the post “Breakfast is championed (at last)”. ABSTRACT: Yeah, this is a song about high-cholesterol food as deus ex machina. The first thing that came to me was the chorus about General La Salle (while I was doing yard work, naturally). I’d been reading “The Pit and the Pendulum” to my son as a bedtime story (for peaceful sleep, of course) and we were both disconcerted by the ending. And the way nutritional guidelines keep veering off the expected route… similarly disconcerting. The percussion was inspired by a recent (or at least recent to me) Song Exploder on The Books. I couldn’t get my turntable to do the cool analog loopy thing with the runoff groove (the arm always wants to return home), but did get some interesting sounds using PVC […]
SONG: “Sleeping.” [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE: Based on “Naps Help Infants Form Memories“, Laboratory Equipment, 14 January 2015, as used in the post “Naps make memories (in infants).” ABSTRACT: I’m so tired. This is so late at night that I’m putting it in the queue. Lots of delay (in both the musical sense and the getting-it-done sense). Tried to get a vocoder to work, but it refused. My life would be so much better if I actually had a room somewhere I could, like, sing in. Rather than whispering in the living room in the middle of the night. Anyway, it’s about babies, about remembering that thing that is always just out of reach of your conscious mind, that feeling of comfort and satisfaction that goes beyond words, that you can really only remember when you’re sleeping. Because sleep makes memories. It made the memories when you were very young, before there were words to […]
SONG: “Particles of Attraction” (penitential cover) [Download] (To download: double right-click & “Save As”) ARTIST: grant. SOURCE: This is a cover making up for a late song in December. (And I’m still one in the hole – sorry.) This song was written by AJ Allulli, who fortuitously entered it into the Cover Swap project initiated on reddit’s We Are The Music Makers sub-board. ABSTRACT: Yes, so this is both a penitential cover and a cover swap cover. Hopefully, someone will do something interesting to this old Guild song, which I always thought needed something more. AJ Allulli’s original had a great beat and some lovely robotic vocoder stuff, so I decided to go 180 degrees opposite and do a cover that’s 100% acoustic. Well, it’s an electric bass, but I mic’ed the amp. I still can’t really play the erhu, but it doubles well enough for a Camper Van Beethoven-style fiddle. And the vocals did […]