Iain Cameron's Diary
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2010-04-14 - 10:13 a.m.

An early exchange yesterday on the topic of books freely available on the internet spun me in the direction of the French philosopher, Alan Badiou, whose very first book is available free online in an English translation. It seems Badiou is a linking figure in that he did not repudiate some of the central ideas of his teachers but he has also influenced the next generation. As far as I can see he reaches back further to the ideas of Russell and Whitehead in the first decades of the last century. R&W thought that by using logic to establish mathematics they could also say something of value about philosophical foundations. Russell encountered some paradoxes quite early on which undermined his project. Whitehead went off to develop an idiosyncratic philosophy which has been much neglected subsequently but may be coming back into vogue now. Badiou works with a version of set theory that is not much younger than R&W’s famous work, but which avoids some of the paradoxes. I am not surprised to learn that some of the SRs go into this territory. The meaning of mathematics is likely to be useful to anyone who wants to describe what the world is really like since maths is so central to physics and physics tells as so much about the universe.

LFM has just played the Minuet from Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin – a piece which always delights me and which I once used, just the opening phrase, for a piece in Cubase and AWE32. There is a move just now towards thinking about the practicalities of computing. I feel I have fumbled this badly, not curating my computer music archive. I had some really interesting pieces based on classic short bits of Schoenberg, Webern, Bartok and Stravinsky – developed for the AWE32 – some with added improvised lines on top. I arranged all of Debussy’s Chanson de Bilitis for it as an accompaniment for the flute. There were also some Bach basslines rendered with varying synth timbre to articulate shape on the Amiga.

I link this loss of the archive to a loss of understanding about what really happens in a computer. I could make the Sinclair ZX create sound by switch on and off a port, and I could reach down into the insides of the Amiga to create synth timbres. It took me ages to get my PC with an AWE32 card to play but when I had mastered it, it was possible to get it to do an awful lot. Nowadays all the computer synthesis happens in software which is harder to get at in my experience. I am wondering about getting Sony’s Acid Music Studio just because judging by the free trial it offers an easily accessible path via MIDI to its software synthesizers – which it might be possible to drive from the Dhorn for example (which luckily I have kept with me.)

I asked James last night about his time with the think-tank, Demos. I had thought he was working on security issues but it turns out they had given up this area of enquiry by the time he got there. As far as I can work out he did some stuff on leadership in a time of austerity. All the Demos work is freely available to download – I took their publication on productivity in the NHS.

Prompted by the history of Elektra I have been thinking a bit about the Love covers my first proper band played – Stefanie Knows Who and the Castle. There’s a bit of recollection here by the bass-player - Dick Jones:


His blog has become much more dramatic over the last month or so – so I have subscribed.

I have made sure that LFM registers my interest in the neglected final Love album, Four Sail. I will save reading Elektra on the history of the Doors for a while – hardly a simple tale of overnight success. LFM has just picked the remastering of Robin’s Water Falls Down. It’s really something. Also Luther Vandross – Give Me a Reason – I love those digital soul grooves – making a rather boring trawling exercise more bearable. And loading up the complete works of the Doors quickly yields Riders On The Storm.

One further thought on Both Sides Now – Hhancock really takes the tune apart on his Grammy winning album The River – the Joni Letters.

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