Close to where I live in the East End of London, there’s a lighthouse where a computer plays the longest piece of music ever written. Built in 1863, the experimental lighthouse at Trinity Buoy Wharf on the Isle of Dogs was originally the site of Michael Faraday’s optical research. Trinity Buoy Wharf is now a growing center for the arts and cultural enterprises in East London and currently home to around 100 artists and creative businesses. One of those artists is Jem Finer, a founder member of the Pogues and the developer of Longplayer, a 1000 year long piece of music. The composition started to play on 1 January 2000 and will continue to play, without repetition, until the 31st December 2999. (Artangel Project Overview).
Using an iMac computer to emulate a mechanical system, a piece of source music comprising Tibetan singing bowls and small gongs is played back in a series of loops similar to several turntables running at different speeds. The differing pitches are harmonically related although the generative audio never repeats itself until after exactly 1000 years when it starts from the beginning again. As the composition is based on a mechanical system it is transferable to any type of technology including a group of people playing it from a score. This is an important part of the survival strategy.
For details of the underlying principles and more on the turntable analogy see What is Longplayer?
Longplayer exists as a computer program written in the SuperCollider real time audio synthesis programming language.
Via DJ Alchemy – David Jennings has a nice Flickr photoset of the Longplayer lighthouse installation (see pictures below).
Time Manipulated Music Compositions
9 BeetStretch is a project using current digital audio technology to explore Beethoven’s work. This is Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th symphony stretched to 24 hours, with no pitch distortions. Executed in various versions with either the Snd or the Common Lisp Music software, both made by Bill Schottstaedt. Made at Notam, Oslo. Section 5.2 is "Ode to Joy". Formats: RealAudio Streams and MP3 downloads. Kyle Gann provides a review at the village voice.
dj sniff – slow (2005 mixcd) is a collection of 45 rpm techno records played at 33 rpm, break beats and hip-hop tracks. Visit the site for the mp3 file (compressed sound/144 kbsVBR, one continous track, 59.1 mb), playlist and downloadable cover art (1.6mb)..
Steady Rollin’ Man is a revolutionary critique of Robert Johnson the famous Delta Blues singer and guitarist. The article focuses on the transformation in Robert Johnson’s performance by slowing the recordings to 80 per cent of the speed at which they normally play. Could this new speed represent the real sound of the man? MP3 comparisons are provided.There’s a good discussion about the article in this Acoustic Guitar Forum. The discussion also provides insight into the way early recordings were made and cut to disc.
Ambient Music Resources
Global Time Map
What time is it? is a neat Web 2.0 application that lets you see the time in any location by clicking on a map.
fUSION Anomaly Synchronicity Scale
Experimental lighthouse Photos by Davd Jennings.
It is the only lighthouse in London.