Friday, 4 February 2005

The 10 Greatest Songs and Molecular Computing

For those interested, my pick (in no particular order) for Norm's List of the Top Ten Greatest Songs (and the covers) was :

1. The Real Thing - Russel Morris
2. Bat Out of Hell - Meatloaf
3. Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty
4. California Dreamin' - Mommas and the Papas
5. My Island Home - Christina Anu
6. Rhiannon - Fleetwood Mac
7. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
8. Nights in White Satin - Moody Blues
9. Winter in America - Doug Ashdown
10. Wuthering Heights - Kate Bush

But as I told him :
50 would be a LOT easier.

I mean, I've missed out Petula Clark's "Downtown", the entire works of the Who, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, the Beatles....
As it is, I picked No 4 (Stairway to Heaven), No 36 (California Dreamin) and No 61 (Nights in White Satin). Only 1 out of the top 10, and only 3 out of the top 98. Thereby proving... I'm not sure what. That my tastes differ from Norm's usual audience? That I'm letting my parochialism show (3 of my 10 are Australian)?

Now if you've never heard, or even heard of, some on my list, I can guarantee a treat for you should you listen to them.

Meanwhile, back at the (fractal) branch... or rather the Swinburne School of Mathematical Sciences here in Oz...
The aim of the Molecular Media Project is to use cells and atoms to perform useful computational tasks at the micron (10-6m) and/or nanoscales (10-9m) of organisation. There are 1000 mm in a metre (10-3m)...

The Molecular Media Project is principally concerned with exploiting polymer and colloidal nano-agglomeration or biotechnology to control optical nonlinearity for new media applications. Digital data in the form of (i) still image, (ii) text, (iii) motion pictures and (iv) sound have all been modified at the micro/nanoscale.

This research overlaps chemistry, physics, microbiology, computer science, mathematics, engineering and performance art and design. Molecular Computing with cells and atoms is also useful for changing the structure and properties of digital audio. Molecular computing is a signal processing tool that works at near atomic resolution.

A sample set of contemporary music has been re-mixed using this method. The audio examples have not been edited in any way and were recorded as part of a live DJ set. Many of the recordings demonstrate frame-level sampling, mutation, cross-over, copying, distortion and extinction events that act to attenuate, replicate or recombine elements in the original recording into new sub-sets of digital information. Therefore, molecular computing is a practical use of nanotechnology for generating glitch and error. However, it differs from traditional cut-and-paste technique or granular synthesis by exploiting chaos, self-organisation and emergence at the resolution limit of the digital bits that make-up sound!
So here's 30 seconds in Mp3 of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb", as remixed by organic pigments, titanium dioxide, carbon black, aluminium or bronze powders and butane/propane propellant.

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