Department of Stealth

The second of the tracks I have “finished” mixing today. Both will end up on the next album with “Drifting Away” when I have sifted, hacked about and generally finished the other bits I have, and two I haven’t really started yet.

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Drifting Away

As with so much in life, I find, the most difficult thing in writing a piece of music is to get started. I have been playing for some time with tools that can generate, to a greater or lesser extent, streams of notes which are created and controlled by varying rule setting methods.

This piece started  as an experiment using Noatikl which I have had much fun with and recommend you have a play with if you like programming type toys. So far it seems very promising as a tool to provide the base from which to start constructing a piece. The best way to use it, it seems to me, is to set the rules to something interesting, try and retry until it seems to be about right, the let it do what it is built for, to iterate until you have a piece that suits as a basis for development, then capture the output as a Midi stream into Logic or similar.

Once you have the Midi output from Noatikl, the other 90% of the work remains with a fair bit of jiggery pokery, chopping and changing, assigning voices and instruments, and then endless mixing, balancing and fine tuning.

The God Species

I am currently reading The God Species by Mark Lynas, about a third of the way through so a little early for conclusions, but so far it’s interesting and convincing enough to press on.

What hooked me early on was that rather than taking sides in the increasingly sterile debate between “Global Warming Alarmists” and “Global Warming Deniers”, and avoiding any arguments about the level of contribution made by man’s activities, he calmly points out that as the clearly dominant species on the planet, who have conquered all before us, we must attend to the first duty of all conquerors, which is to govern.

He uses the Stockholm Resilience Centre’s concept of planetary boundaries in nine areas which I won’t list, you can look if you’re interested. For each area, boundaries are set which we must manage our affairs in order to stay within.

So far so humdrum I hear you say, but what is refreshing is that he rejects both the anti-capitalist approaches which attempt to “re-create” a pre-industrial agrarian idyll with its requirement for a  commensurate managed reduction of global population to “sustainable” levels, which may be appealing as an outcome but no imaginable process to get from here to there would be likely acceptable or achievable; and the complete laissez-faire approach of full speed ahead as we are, overcoming  each problem as it occurs, as we have throughout our history (This always makes me think of the chap falling of a tall building calling out “Not dead yet” as he passes every floor, or perhaps pre-crash mortgage derivatives traders, same thing).

The approach proposed seems a compromise, but a reasoned one, that we should continue to use capitalism and science as our drivers, to eliminate poverty and disease and improve the lot of each and all, but to actively manage staying within the boundaries in each area. How this active management is to be operated and enforced, I haven’t got to yet, and there lies the rub but then freedom is an overwhelming responsibility.