Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Event: Tree Listening @ Atmospheres 2

The fantatsic Touch records (Fennesz, Philip Jeck etc) have collaborated with the Museum of Garden History to present the Atmospheres festival in London from tomorrow till Sunday. Focusing on the sounds of the natural world the thing that caught my ear was an installation from recent RCA design graduate Alex Metcalf called Tree Listening. Metcalf has designed an ear trumpet that can be used to listen to the microscopic sounds that trees make as they carry out their daily routine - mostly drinking water and creaking!
Apparently the trumpet filters out low frequency tones emitted from the earth to leave a clicking sound which is actually the tree drinking water and distributing it to it's branches.

Alex Metcalf Web

Atmosphere2 / Touch Music Web

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Run to the music

Following years of research at Brunel University, Dr Costas Karageorghis has launched Run to the Beat, a half marathon where you run accompanied by live music strategically placed around the route, and designed to help ease the torture of pounding concrete for a couple of hours. Of course, readers of this blog will know that this 'music design' phenomenon that Karageorghis has spent the last two decades on is nothing new and is found in many other aspects of our life, dating as far back as the 1920's with the Muzak corporation's experiments on music and 'stimulus progression' of worker's in factories in America (There are undoubtedly even earlier examples, but that, to the best of my knowledge, was the first time music was turned into a 'science').

Anyways, Karageorghis ambitious project has exposed the benefits of music to a wider audience and the whole thing looks like a bit of fun rather than a huge devious experiment disguised as a charity run.. My concern is that by using pop bands whose music most will be familiar with and either love or completely resent, there's bound to be an element of

'oh- here's my fave tune by my fave band, i'll slow down to listen'
'awww- i can't stand this song, i'd better speed up to get away from it'...
thereby making the whole thing a bit of a farce..

Especially when looking at the tunes that are talked about in the science

The half marathon will take place on the 5th of October this year. We'd better get training - dubstep for the snailpaced anyone?