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Grateful Dead Percussionist Makes Music From Supernovas

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the music-of-the-exploding-spheres dept.

Music 57

At the "Cosmology At the Beach" conference earlier this month, Grammy-award winning percussionist Mickey Hart performed a composition inspired by the eruptions of supernovae. "Keith Jackson, a Berkeley Lab computer scientist who is also a musician, lent his talents to the project, starting with gathering data from astrophysicists like those at the Berkeley Lab’s Nearby Supernova Factory, which collects data from telescopes in space and on earth to quickly detect and analyze short-lived supernovas. 'If you think about it, it's all electromagnetic data — but with a very high frequency,' Jackson said of the raw data. "What we did is turn it into sound by slowing down the frequency and "stretching" it into an audio form. Both light and sound are all wave forms — just at different frequencies. Our goal was to turn the electromagnetic data into audio data while still preserving the science.'"

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Huh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950356)

How is this drummer so grateful if he's deceased?

Re:Huh? (3, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950416)

I presume he is spending a year dead for tax purposes.

Re:Huh? (3, Funny)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950456)

Just in case you may not know this but "Grateful Dead" is the name of a rock band (now currently inactive due to forced retirement of most of the members) they are known for (being a 60s band) Skeletons, teddy bears and wild mixes of colors known as "tie dye".

Wikipedia know how to use it??

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950498)

Humor know how to find it??

Re:Huh? (1)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950942)

dude... what are you getting at, man?

Re:Huh? (1)

tzot (834456) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951734)

The GP's presuming that the artist is spending a year dead for tax purposes was a great reference to a very funny piece of literature. Now, you might know that or you might not; in any case, your prefixing your post with "Just in case" does not absolve you from presuming the GP didn't know who the Grateful Dead are.

All the available data do indicate that you haven't read the H2G2 series while in the same time they *do not* indicate that the GP didn't know GD.

"dead for tax purposes". Google know how to use it?

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951902)

Actually, RobertLTux's reply was directed at the AC parent that read "How is this drummer so grateful if he's deceased?" and not zmollusc's post. Also, in a lot of places the Grateful Dead really are practically unknown (here in Sweden the most common reactions to any mention of the dead tend to be either "The what?" or "Oh, I think I heard one of their songs, they're one of those bands that sound like credence (clearwater revival), right?" and any attempts to actually explain further what the Grateful Dead were tends to end up with people assuming they sound like either The Beatles or Jimi Hendrix).

/Mikael

Re:Old Joke (1)

unknownroad (988492) | more than 4 years ago | (#30955086)

"What are you listening to?"
"The Dead."
"The who?"
"No, not the Who, the Dead!"

Re:Even Older Dead Joke (1)

drkim (1559875) | more than 4 years ago | (#30960030)

Q. What did Jerry Garcia say when he finally kicked all drugs and booze?

A. "These guys SUCK!"

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30955204)

Just in case you may not know this but "Grateful Dead" is the name of a rock band (now currently inactive due to forced retirement of most of the members) they are known for (being a 60s band) Skeletons, teddy bears and wild mixes of colors known as "tie dye".

Wikipedia know how to use it??

Actually, the two percussionists (Hart and Kreutzman), the bass player, Phil Lesh, and the rythyme guitarist Bob Weir just recently in the Summer of '09 finished a tour as "The Dead", rather than "the Grateful Dead," sans lead guitaris Jerry Garcia. In Garcia's stead, as it were, was guitarist Warren Haynes. So "inactive" is not a correct description of the remaining member's current musical lives.

Re:Huh? (0, Troll)

need4mospd (1146215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950802)

If you listened to his music, you'd be pretty freakin grateful to be dead as soon as possible.

Drums Space (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950452)

Gives a new meaning to "Drums > Space".

Re:Drums Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30952266)

Well done, sir!

Re:Drums Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30959642)

Very funny, and braver than I am for coming forward as a Dead fan first. Admitting that makes me feel like a target for ridicule. That's pretty sad, I'm actually afraid of being treated like a nerd on /.

Music (1)

mfh (56) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950496)

Music that is inspired by real events and phenomena slightly outside the grasp of a layman is always awesome. :D

Re:Music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30954940)

The Shamen, the techno act originally from Scotland but based in London in the 1990s, had a tune on one of their CDs which was generated from the DNA sequence and the amino acid characteristics of the S2 protein. It's the receptor protein for serotonin, so it was the perfect match (feel good vibes, rave music).

Read about it here. [nemeton.com] It's interesting how they integrated a base pair sequence into the four notes used, and how the 3 base pairs per codon meant it was done as a waltz (one-two-three, one-two-three)...

You can hear a sample of it here in AIFF format [nemeton.com] .

Cool! (4, Insightful)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950504)

In a way, what he's doing isn't all that much different from when scientists take pictures of celestial phenomena in the non-visible spectra (X-Ray, IR, etc.) and then "project" them into the visual spectrum so we can actually see what they've photographed. To some extent it's a distortion of reality, but interesting.

Re:Cool! (4, Funny)

bhsurfer (539137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951200)

I'm sure the guys in the grateful dead would be really upset by "distortion of reality"...

Re:Cool! (4, Funny)

ms1234 (211056) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951954)

In other news, RIIA has just announced that they will be collecting a fee from every astronomer looking at a nova.

Actually, the robot did it. (3, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950564)

The drummer was nowhere to be found. Frantic inquiries led to the discovery that he was standing on a beach on Santraginus V over a hundred light years away where, he claimed, he had been happy for half an hour now and had found a small stone that would be his friend.

The band's manager was profoundly relieved. It meant that for the seventeenth time on this tour the drums would be played by a robot and that therefore the timing of the cymballistics would be right.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950696)

Grin, you immediately thought of it as well. I forgot the name of the rock group, though..

Disaster Area, of course! (n/t) (1)

OmniGeek (72743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950782)

lorem ipsum Slashdot's minimum-length filter is a silly ...

Re:Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (3, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950932)

Disaster Area, with the lead signer Hotblack Desiato spending a year dead for tax purposes.

Damn, that was funny stuff.

There are people in the U.K. willing to face the wrath of the power that be and ship over the CDs of all the radio dramas that the BBC did. Well worth the few extra $$.

Re:Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (3, Funny)

hitnrunrambler (1401521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951312)

2 important questions:

I wonder if the album follows the traditional formula of boy-being meets girl-being under a beautiful astronomical body... which then explodes for no apparent reason?

and

Will Jerry be coming out of his tax shelter for the live tour?

Re:Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30960902)

Disaster Area

You beat me to it, curse you!

There are people in the U.K. willing to face the wrath of the power that be and ship over the CDs of all the radio dramas that the BBC did. Well worth the few extra $$.

There's some sort of export embargo?

Didn't know that.

Use the link to my SlashDot account (somewhere above this text, probably) and we can enter into a deep and meaningful relationship, which I hope will end up in both of us having to take a "year out" for tax purposes. (I'm not in the UK at the moment, but I'll be back soon. And I'm sure that DNA would approve. I was a listener to the first transmission of the radio series and brought my first tape recorder because of it to get the Sunday (?) repeat. (OK, I nagged Dad into giving me an early birthday present.)

The colour has worsened in recent versions, hasn't it?

Re:Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961700)

Because of arcane copyright law and a few other things, the BBC won't ship their productions outside the U.K. You have to find a willing third party to buy it local and ship it for you. I know there were a couple people with a small side-business doing just that operating off of E-bay.

Oddly enough, I could listen live via BBC 4 internet from Stateside.

Disaster Area would kick this guy's ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950568)

They aren't inspired by supernovas. They create supernovas.

Really highlights the difference between real rock and these jam bands.

Not a new idea (4, Informative)

plate_o_shrimp (948271) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950580)

Good for Mickey, but this idea isn't new. Isao Tomita (sort of) did the same thing in 1984 on "Dawn Chorus": http://www.isaotomita.net/recordings/dawn.html [isaotomita.net]

Re:Not a new idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30955206)

There is nothing new under the sun.

Symphony of the Planets (2, Informative)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950610)

Conceptually, this has been done before, [amazon.com] with the planets of our solar system. I can only hope Mickey's turns out as well.

Re:Symphony of the Planets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30968212)

You mean like this [kosmophone.com] ?

DRM (2, Funny)

Joviex (976416) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950630)

So have they modified it enough to be an original work, or is the FSM getting ready to sue over copyright infringement.....

Big whoop (2, Insightful)

Vahokif (1292866) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950790)

I don't find these "make music from supernovae/network traffic/monkey population" projects to be too impressive. You could fit just about any input to the appropriate scale and it would come out listenable, if boring.

Re:Big whoop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30954150)

I was at the conference. It was boring alright. Barely listenable. And TERRIBLY POMPOUS.

Armageddon music (3, Funny)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950868)

"Well, it IS sort of a downer that all these civilizations were just wiped out when their sun went nova and consumed their planets, and we feel for our extraterrestrial brethren. But on the bright side, check out this wicked drum solo I got out of it!"

One word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30950930)

Supernovae

Yet Another Frequency Shift (3, Informative)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30950970)

There's no difference in this application than most of the others ever produced. They're all simply frequency shifted time series. Any pseudo-regular simple or complex wave can be sifted to any frequency. Radio-astronomy has been the biggest source so far, though brain recordings have been done. At this point about the only novel application would be taking recorded sound and shifting it up to visual light.

The application I've found that uses amplitude modulation (notes from data points rather than time series wave forms) is Moonbell http://wms.selene.jaxa.jp/selene_sok/about_en.html [selene.jaxa.jp] Musical notes are created from lunar altitude measurements done by Selene.

Sounds Like Lustmord (1)

winphreak (915766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951010)

Lustmord's Ambient album "The Place Where The Black Stars Hang" sounds like this, only done without the sound inputs from data samples.

Re:Sounds Like Lustmord (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30955228)

I've only heard the [OTHER] album. How does this compare to his other albums?

DMCA (2, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951070)

Oh great, now the universe is going to sue the pants off our planet.

Dude... (0, Redundant)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951086)

Far out man...

you know (2, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951134)

If you take out the "Grateful" from the title, the story sounds a lot cooler and trippier.

Re:you know (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951248)

Or if you didn't know about the Grateful Dead it would still be cooler and trippier as is.

Re:you know (1)

alfoolio (1385603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30953102)

But then it would be too close to accurate to be a /. headline. (The Grateful Dead dissolved in '95; Mickey Hart and other former members of the band play collectively under the name "The Dead".)

Re:you know (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30955630)

Nah. Then it's just a story about Spinal Tap's drummer.

Knew about this (1)

hardburlyboogerman (161244) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951222)

This was nothing new.The History Channel's show 'The Universe" episode on pulsars & quasars featured this,using the beat from the Vela pulsar.The cool thing was the way Hart integrated the pulsar signal into his composition.

Nothing but Geeky cool!!!

Mickey @ Work (2, Interesting)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951554)

Check out his cool drumset [gankmore.com] .

Re:Mickey @ Work (1)

scottl (28364) | more than 4 years ago | (#30952226)

If anyone cares, in this photo, Hart's the one on the right.

Robot Band (1)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951712)

Yeah,but does he have a robot band [wired.com] ????

Dark Star? (2, Funny)

plopez (54068) | more than 4 years ago | (#30951920)

How about a brown dwarf. I wonder how closely they would match.
I think it would be funny though, if they did a red dwarf.

Fiorella Terenzi (1)

Weedhopper (168515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30952650)

Didn't that chica Fiorella Terenzi already do this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiorella_Terenzi [wikipedia.org]

She's also much better to look at.

An insider's perspective. (2, Interesting)

Shag (3737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30952688)

I've spent the last three years taking data for the "Nearby Supernova Factory" the article mentions, with little understanding of what it was all about.

Finally, it all makes sense. :)

This FP 7Or GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30952986)

future at all plea5e moderate EFNet servers. would chhose to use

Innovation in rhythm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30953204)

I've known Mickey Hart for over 40 years and he has always been one of my favorite percussionists. His work has been innovative, fluid, open. Just pick up his CD "Planet Drum" for a really good example of his post-mortem (sic) work. Anyway, thanks for the posting. I'll have to check it out.

Alex Collier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30953416)

Says that this is how the andromedians create their music, by listening to the noise that the universe gives off.

Far out maaaaaaaan... (1)

mrraven (129238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30955478)

Gives a new meaning to that old tired hippy phrase...
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