Watchful eyes, thoughtful mind

Earth and us ….. past, present and future ….. connected?

TED Tuesday: Visualising data and sound December 1, 2009

Filed under: acoustic,animation,computer,technology,TED — Radiance @ 10:00 AM

JoAnn Kuchera-Morin demos the AlloSphere, a new way to see, hear and interpret scientific data. Dive into the brain, feel electron spin, hear the music of the elements … and detect previously unseen patterns that could lead to new discoveries.

Evan Grant demonstrates the science and art of cymatics, a process for making soundwaves visible. Useful for analyzing complex sounds (like dolphin calls), it also makes complex and beautiful designs.

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Sunday Spotlight: Rockford’s Rock Opera September 27, 2009

Filed under: acoustic,animation,extinction,nature,sunday spotlight — Radiance @ 10:00 AM


A cute little dog called Rockford gets lost and ends up in the Land of Infinity. There he meets lot of fascinating creatures who, to his surprise, turn out to be the last one of each that has gone extinct from our planet! They sing and dance and tell Rockford the stories of their extinction. Sounds like a great way of teaching your kids about ecology, extinction and their role in preserving the nature? It definitely is!

Rockford’s rock opera is a unique adventure in sound for adults and children. With narration, sound effects, songs and videos, it’s a totally new kind of musical experience. Its Facebook page describes it with words “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy meets The War of the Worlds, or Jungle Book meets Jurassic Park…” The members of this “musical experience” include Matthew Sweetapple, Steve Punt, Elaine Sweetapple and Jess Hodge along with others. Each one of them has contributed to this musical in their own capacities as producer, script writer, narrator, singer, voice-over for characters, illustrator to name only a few aspects. The first part of the story (52 minutes long) is available as mp3 audio for free download on their website. They also have a YouTube channel which lets you sample some of the animation videos that are part of this incredible story. I have listened to the audio book and watched the videos and cannot praise the creators of them enough. The music is catchy, lyrics are simple to understand and the animation is fascinating.

The first work of the Sweetapple label that I came across wasn’t the Opera at all. I saw their video Distant Generation on YouTube which was favourited by a friend and instantaneously fell in love with these folks. I then decided to dig a bit deeper and found a treasure trove of creative works in form of Rockford’s Rock Opera audio and video. Ever since then I have shared these works with people whenever I’ve gotten a chance. But I’ve always wanted to do a Sunday Spotlight on them and today seems to have been the fateful day. I am going to share the words directly from the website as I think they best describe the Opera and its purpose and scope.

Rockford’s Rock Opera is an amazing adventure in sound for adults and children. Part One of the story (six chapters: 52 minutes) is free! It features narration, read along text, characters, sound effects and music and is available as a free mp3 download and an audio stream. Great to listen to on your computer, your ipod or burnt onto CD, this is a free audiobook like no other. The website also contains useful background information about the story (including key information and free downloadable teaching resources about extinction and ecology), how the story was made and the facts behind the fiction.

Once you’ve sampled the story, you can buy it as an unabridged book on compact disc, together with illustrations and animated digital videos. Rockford’s Rock Opera is more than an electronic book, it’s a Musical Story about animals and an adventure about life on earth. It’s an original tale about extinction, but it’s also a story of hope. Created by Sweetapple and scripted by comedian and writer, Steve Punt, Rockford’s Rock Opera’s book on CD is funny, thoughtful, magical and like nothing you’ll ever have experienced before. Also, included are useful free Lesson Plans for teachers. Just press play to enjoy it online, click for Free Downloads – as an mp3 or iPod Story – then visit the shop to buy the specially enhanced discs that come with 24 page colour books, illustrations and videos. Truly a collectors’ audiobook on CD.

Much more than an adventure story, with animated videos, amazing sound effects and music, this is a children’s talking book like no other, available in a variety of easy-to-enjoy formats. It’s great for adults too and includes our own audiobook blog. Perfect for learning, great for storytelling in the classroom or for a wonderful, relaxing bedtime story treat, Rockford’s Rock Opera is first in a new generation of best children’s books. From the very young to older kids and adults, you’ll never have heard anything like this before. Edutainment at its very best for parents, teachers and especially, children!

Rockford’s Rock Opera has received rave reviews from the likes of WWF, BBC radio, The Independent, The Observer and more. And the great news is it is coming on to the stage in 2010. That’s going to be fantabulous! So now learning about our ecosystem and our role in it is really all song and dance.

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Neanderthal acoustics February 17, 2009

Filed under: acoustic,archaeology,history — Radiance @ 4:21 AM

Another interesting news item I came across on BBC News:

A musical experience with a difference is being previewed at the National Museum Wales in Cardiff – an attempt to recreate the sound of the Neanderthals.

Jazz composer Simon Thorne was given the task of creating the “soundscape” to provide a musical backdrop to some of the ancient exhibits on display.

If this sounds interesting, follow the above link to read more and to listen to the excerpts from the composer’s rendering of Neanderthal sounds.


Awesome Christmas Light Show! December 5, 2008

Filed under: acoustic,art,optics — Radiance @ 3:23 AM

In keeping with the festive spirit of the Christmas season, I thought of sharing this AWESOMELY creative video :). Hope everyone who visits my blog enjoys it!


Bloop or Upsweep: which one sounds cooler? October 15, 2008

Filed under: acoustic,biology,oceanography,seismology — Radiance @ 9:08 AM
No, the title of this blog entry is not self-explanatory at all. Read on and it will all fall in place…..
Today while surfing the internet, I came across the website of the Acoustic Monitoring Project run by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a US federal agency focused on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere. The Acoustic Monitoring Project of the VENTS Program has performed continuous monitoring of ocean noise since August, 1991 using the U.S. Navy SOund SUrveillance System (SOSUS) network and autonomous underwater hydrophones. The website gives heaps of information on various acoustic monitoring projects, the research carried out, the details of equipment and methods used and how this information is applied to acquire some useful knowledge. The sounds recorded are identified as either of seismic, biological or environmental origin. But occasionally sounds are heard that cannot be classified as emerging from any of these sources and are therefore classified as “unidentified sounds”.
This is the category on the ‘multimedia‘ page of the website that interested me the most. The “bloop” and “upsweep” are examples of such unidentified sounds. The page lets you hear these various cool sounds! Upsweep is my personal favourite :). It also, of course, gives information like the place of origin and the spectrograms (example shown in the figure above) of each for those who can actually make sense out of them. All the sound signals are sped up by 10 to 16 times to make them audible to human ear as the original sounds fall in the low-frequency region which we humans cannot tune into. This is what the introductory webpage of the ‘multimedia’ section tells you,
Low-frequency sound in the ocean can be “viewed” in the form of time versus frequency “spectrograms” (warm colors represent strong energy) or “listened to” if the natural sound is raised to human hearing by “speeding up” the original signals. These sample sounds represent seismic and biological sources, as well as sounds of unknown origin.”
So if you are ready to listen to some really cool sounds, that of an earthquake tremor or a blue whale or an airgun or the “Bloop”, tune in!!!
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