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Music and the Invasion of Technology at the Boston Museum of Science

So, I went to see a special show on Music and the Invasion of Technology at the Boston Museum of Science on Wednesday. (See also: posting, and the MoS write-up.)

In short, it was underwhelming. The dancing robot had very few degrees of freedom (gimme an Aibo, or Qrio, please), and its movements were, I am quite sure, pre-programmed: i.e. it was a slightly more complex version of a wind-up toy. Ditto the Heliphon. Now, the Heliphon is supposedly MIDI-controlled, but in the two pieces in which it was featured, I saw no sign of it being played interactively. It was a glorified player piano. More importantly, the Heliphon is one-dimensional: yes, it has some flashy high-output LEDs, but it has little dynamic and tonal range, making for a very inexpressive musical instrument. So what if it can play more than 200 notes per minute? It just left me cold and wanting more.

The last piece played, by Christine Southworth, was the most compelling. It had elements of Glass--not surprising as he derived inspiration from gamelan, as does Southworth who is part of a gamelan ensemble--with lovely range of timbres and a hint of funk rhythms. The parts taken by the bots, however, were lacklustre. The dancing robot (BlowBot) re-appears. Again, completely uninspiring. It is a tetrahedron whose edges are remote controlled pneumatic devices: they look like the supports that are used to hold up the hatch of a hatchback car. Each edge may be lengthened or contracted. As I was sitting in the audience, I thought of the many possibilities for performing on that bot. However the actual performance was slow and lumbering, and lacking in rhythm.

Technology can provide so many more modes of expression than I saw that evening. I have seen some of these possibilities which expand the range of experience for the audience (which must not be forgotten), and also the possibilities for the performer, both live and on the web and here. What I saw at the MoS disappointed me. I saw the player piano in various guises.

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Boston public transportation sucks

So, I went to see a show at Middle East, tonight. It was the CD release party for Cabiria. (Very lovely music, by the by.) Anyway, the show ended at just after 1am, and by that time, both the subway and bus systems had shut down. I had to take a cab, which cost $18. All in all, Boston is a really expensive night out. I was out with some friends and their friends a while ago, and I recall that parking for a night ran about $20. At times like these, I wish I were in NYC.

The other bands which played were Fluttr Effect, Seven Sunless Days, and Plumerai. Fluttr Effect were decent, but I really enjoyed Seven Sunless Days, Cabiria, and Plumerai.

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Time for another quiz, and some self-congratulation. :)
Very Well-Rounded
You have:
The graph on the right represents your place in Intuition 2-Space. As you can see, you scored above average on emotional intuition and above average on scientific intuition. (Weirdly, your emotional and scientific intuitions are equally strong.)

Your Emotional Intuition score is a measure of how well you understand people, especially their unspoken needs and sympathies. A high score score usually indicates social grace and persuasiveness. A low score usually means you're good at Quake.

Your Scientific Intuition score tells you how in tune you are with the world around you; how well you understand your physical and intellectual environment. People with high scores here are apt to succeed in business and, of course, the sciences.

Try my other test!
The 3 Variable Funny Test
It rules.
My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 56% on Scientific
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You scored higher than 62% on Interpersonal
Link: The 2-Variable Intuition Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Boston subway using Google Maps

Dammit. Someone trumped my little Boston transit Google Maps thingy. There are many other applications built on Google Maps, and NPR just did a show highlighting this.

In other news, I went to IKEA, today. They have a free shuttle bus from the Quincy Adams T station. Bought a quilt, which I really only need when it’s above 30°F outside, since our heating is messed up. Below about 30°F, the radiators come on, and it’s almost too warm. Above that, the heat barely runs, and it’s much chillier in the apartment. Good thing heat is included in our rent. I hear it’s not uncommon to have heating bills greater than $200/month during the coldest months.

Listening to Miss Jo Boobs (part 3) from the album “THIS OR THAT! = BURLESQUE GAME SHOW”

Weave Soundpainting Orchestra

I used to perform with Weave, when Sarah Weaver (the director) was a student in Ann Arbor. Made some good friends in the group. They also released a CD titled “result: one”. You can read more about Soundpainting in an interview that my friend Shannan did with Walter Thompson, originator of the system. (Shannan performed with us as a vocalist.)

Listening to 8:26 from the album “result:one” by Weave