New page Nocturne. The piece is the precursor to Ada
Danced, and the imagery is similarly romantic, although far
more robust: moonscapes, and the hearts that go with them,
Later: New page NoSeeUms. Another piano-and-flute piece,
close to Vee Formation (358), but this one referencing those
tiny biting midges that hover in clouds anywhere from Canada
to Georgia, rather than geese. Tininess, ubiquity, and
transience are the keys here.
New page Nightlight, built around the piece featured on the
What's New page.
In sound, in immediate approachability and accessibility to
the ear, in its unambiguous aural reward, this piece seems to
lie at the other end of the spectrum from Mulling. The imagery
is largely the pastel world of children's night-lights, combined
with cozy night scenes. Ear candy, eye candy.
One other note: left-click player to control, then click the
fast-forward button to play at 5x speed. The result is a totally
different piece, like one of those Van Morrison meditations
with the braided-guitar textures.
Featured piece: Ennead (113M)
New pages Mulling. There are three pages, with the "home" page (the one reachable from the Sounds page),
holding the non-photographic (or "manipulated" photographic) images, designated "The Museum," and the
remainder of the images, the photographic ones, divided into two further pages called "Solo" and "In Concert".
The images cover the concepts of mulling (in the figurative sense only), brooding (in the non-hatching senses),
pondering, considering, deliberating, and weighing the odds.
The piece itself is perhaps the least forthcoming, slowest in its evolution, subtlest in its appeal, of all the pieces
here. The ear must work hard here, trying to decipher and predict the rhythms that provide nearly the only
coloration in a piece that employs a very small number of distinct tones, adding to that roster only very
sparingly over time, which does have as one effect that the smallest change reads larger in context. This is,
perhaps, the world of the primary scientist, the researcher, looking for the gold among the vastness of
(seemingly) innumerable, drab, and unremarkable data points. Repeated listening with something like a "Zen
mind," relaxed and alert, will bear fruit for the more ascetically inclined among us.
Redid Andromeda Blues page, one of the earliest and most primitive pages here, with only one pair of images,
and the hidden one lacking detail and difficult to decipher. Now there is a "standard" page (by more recent
norms here), with four pairs of much crisper and more striking images.
New page Mudflats. Another loose-knit, rambunctious tune like Beach Dogs, Flipflops, and Rustic (355). This
one puts me in mind of marsh birds, waterfowl, wetlands creatures, honking and calling to one another and
jostling and generally mucking about and carrying on.
New pages Motivation. There are three pages, called Blue, Green, and Red. The piece is sui generis, a
babbling-brook irrepressible life-force kind of sound, and the imagery is from the concept of perpetual motion,
supplemented by Rube Goldberg contraptions and images of motive force, as well as some acerbic
"Motivation" posters. Click on the thumbnails to navigate between the three "colors".
New page Moroccan Shadows. It's basically the Groove theme with a layer of percussion. With increasing
density of percussion, we then got Khamsin, Serai (304B), Sufi (304C), and finally Worldbeater (305).
The key to the imagery is that of a shaded courtyard away from the bustle of the bazaar, the heat and din of
the marketplace, which are symbolized by the drums. The dreamlike musical elements swimming above the
percussion are the mental haze induced by the shimmering heat. All these become muted and distant in the
New pages Moonflakes (4 pages). One of my most ambitious undertakings so far. More later. Click on the icons
to navigate between the pages. Nineteen hours later: Moonflakes grew from Macabre, and further tweaking
yielded Search and Rescue (224B): Macabre itself came from Boneyard Boogie, which also gave birth to Orbital
Resonance Rag (223A) and Watchmakers' Waltz (223B). The latter two names reference the cross-rhythms
evident in all of the pieces, and the others reference the other-worldly quality of the instrumentation and the de
facto harmonies created in all of the pieces, with the exception of the name "Search and Rescue," which refers
to the dramatic changes that take place as the piece "folds" over from negative time to positive time in the
middle -- the "Rescue" section being more urgently propulsive than the "Search" section. The same striking
division occurs in the middle of Moonflakes.
As to the imagery: my original vision as I searched for a name for this piece had something to do with the
enchantment that turns the familiar unfamiliar at night, and the frisson of danger that attends even a foray into
territory within sight of home, in much the same way that a dream can take you into territory that evokes awe
and a tinge of fear, right in the seeming safety of your bed, when you begin to wonder... Which is the dream?
What if this is the realer world, and my mundane waking life is the real dream? Those elements made it into
the page "The Dream," while the anchoring elements became "Safe Home." The page "The Moon" is just that,
fantastic moon imagery, while "Dreamflakes" represents those crumbs that we remember, waking, the rest just
out of reach. Or not: you remain free to construe these pages any way you like
I've been tweaking the Ming I pages, trying to get the navigation bar to recognize which page it's on, and
finally gave up on the navigation bar and went for individual links, using bars with a rose in the middle for the
divided lines, and bars with a rose on each end for the undivided lines (1 and 3). I separated the trigrams
slightly, and gave them bullet numbers, also clickable, and liked it much better than the original navbar.
Having done that, I added a left-pointing arrowhead by the germane line on each page as a "you are here"
pointer. Then, since the arrows were there, I lined up a text box with the top of each and entered the judgment
on each line from the Wilhelm translation of the I Ching in yellow calligraphic font.
Continuing, I added the Wilhelm explanation in yellow Comic Sans MS font about a thousand pixels down on
each page. And lastly, about another thousand pixels down, I added paraphrased notes from the commentary,
in yellow Papyrus font, combining them with the brief description of the person on whose role each line was
based in the events surrounding the rule and subsequent downfall of the tyrant Chou Hsin in the twelfth century
BC. (And I saw the Darkening of the Light, and the Darkening of the Light was good. And on the seventh day I
About Montana Summer: This is the patriarch (or matriarch) of a whole family of pieces (see my notes on
Milkweed, 11/27). More importantly, it is the first piece to really open my eyes to the possibilities of naked
fractal music, or naked MusiNum at least, in the sense of setting some mathematically elegant parameters and
letting it all play out without any fancy scripting. I was surprised at the way the settings gradually added the VI
chord to the I, and then worked in the IV, and very gradually got one so used to the IV that it was a shock to go
back to the I, and realize the ever-increasing scale of the structure, and the self-similarity, in ways that the
brain can understand perhaps better through the ear than in any other sense, since the element of time
imprints the structure on one in ways that scanning a visual fractal at one's own pace and in one's own order
may not. I played with scripts less frequently after that revelation.
The imagery in my mind was always a long shot of a summer day in some vast space in the Western half of the
US, specifically a drowsy summer day, country that was used to rugged winters but was now dreaming under
the sun's warmth. It was a shot of either plains or valleys, either cropland or grassland, and human habitation
was not oppressively in evidence. Somehow it seemed that what I was looking at was a scene that at first
seemed Midwestern, but was in fact set in wilder country, mountain country.
I have seen Montana only once, travelling through it on Amtrak's Empire Builder going from Portland, Oregon
to St. Cloud, Minnesota, with my toddler son and my pregnant wife in late November or early December of
1984, passing by Glacier National Park and very near the Canadian border, vast snowy terrain with the famous
Big Sky, but this was another Montana, one I only imagined, somewhat over fifteen years later.
The imagery on the page is, in keeping with that original vision, devoid of actual humans and light on
evidence of human activity, omitting buildings and expressing it mainly in fences, with the odd road, electric
line, or cart thrown in. It is mostly sun-kissed meadows dreaming their own dreams, with the mountains nearly
always a presence in the background. The flora and fauna depicted appear almost to dream along with the
landscape, so at home are they, although of course the fauna retain their customary and necessary vigilance.
It was interesting trying to mesh the two Montanas, literal and figurative, and it has enriched at least my
internal Montana; the external Montana continues serenely with or without me.
New page Montana Summer. I'll have plenty to say about both the piece and the imagery later, but for now I
just want to publish it and go to sleep...
New page Monsoon. Close cousin to Magellan, which is based on the major sixth; here the operative interval is
the minor sixth. As I said on July 28th in this space, it "brings to my mind the images of the lifesaving rains
sweeping across the parched landscape in L'Inde fantôme (Phantom India), the astounding seven-hour
documentary by Louis Malle".
Moved September notes to the Archives page.
New pages Ming I (Darkening of the Light). This marks the first time I have devoted multiple pages to a single
piece, 6 of them in this case. I will have much more to say about both the piece and the pages, but for now I
simply want to publish them. One note: it's not "Ming the First" or "Ming One" but "Ming Ee" with the long E
(Later) Some statistics: GoogleGrab, my new image-search wizard, came up with 239 images for "Ming I,"
mostly of art objects relating to the Ming dynasty. "Hexagram 36" yielded 4 more; "Darkening of the Light"
another 94, and "Ming I Hexagram" another 2. "Gathering Gloom" elicited 41 images; "Gloaming" 258, and
"Brooding Sky" 68 more. "Foreboding" gleaned 308 images, "Melancholia" 29, "I Ching Ming I" 171 (mostly
back to the Ming vases), "Darkening Sky" 159, "Fading Light" 237 images, "Twilight" 250, "Dusk" a full 415,
"Melancholy" 328, and "Nightfall" 178 more. This left me with 2,781 images to winnow: I ignored the two sets of
images with mostly Ming Dynasty objects, and 384 of the 415 "Dusk" images that turned out to be graphs of
sunrise and sunset times for selected locations, all from one site: now I had 1,987 images, which I combed thru
by hand to get them down to 218.
I began sorting those 218 images into broad categories, and some of the categories into sub-categories, the
better to contrast and compare and pick only the best representatives of various aspects. First I pulled out those
that could be good backgrounds, and after winnowing those, came up with 5 finalists I could not choose
among. Then I sorted the rest, forcing each one into a single category even when it qualified for several, and
then whittled each category and subcategory until I had only 109 images left: 27 under "Danger," broken down
into "Intrigue" (10), "Children of the Night" (6), "Storm" (5), "War" (3), "Disaster" (1), and "All other" (2); 17 under
"Silhouettes," broken down into "Fauna" (5), "Trees" (4), "Humans" (3), "Skylines" (2), and "All other" (3); 13
under "Paintings"; 12 under "Water"; 11 under "Melancholy," broken down into "Old Art" (3), "Sad Boys" (3),
"Sad Girls" (2), "New Art" (1), and "All other" (2); 9 under "I Ching," broken down into "Hexagram" (4), "China"
(3), and "Lines" (2); 7 under "Bleakness," broken down into "Isolation" (4), Cold" (1), and "All other" (2); 6 under
"Sunsets"; 3 under "Details"; 2 under "Interiors"; and 1 under "Night".
I decided I couldn't whittle any further, and explored the idea of tiling all backgrounds together, as well as of
having the backgrounds change in a slide show; I brought back 14 rejected semi-finalists for a total of 19
slide show, but couldn't make it work. Turning to the 109 other images, I computed all the aspect ratios, width
over height, as I normally do prior to pairing them up, to minimize distortion, and created 54 pairs, finding one
that could be a half-page width to add to the set of backgrounds, bringing them up to an even 20.
Next it was time to lay them out: the first task was to find those narrow enough to double or triple up across the
page, ending up with 3 sets of 3, 6 of 2, and 33 singles, for a total of 42 rows. There was no way the memory
capacity of my site builder would handle that on a single page, and with the additional factor of the 20
background images, I decided to create 6 pages, each of 7 rows, and to pair up 12 of the 20 backgrounds into 6
pairs and add one to each page for a total of 8 rows, which left only 8 backgrounds, of which I eliminated 2 and
assigned each of the other 6 to one page. It turned out one detail image was unreadable by the site builder, so
one of nearly identical dimensions was retrieved from those eliminated to replace it. Now each page had 9 to
12 pairs of images, in 8 rows, and I created a special navigation bar to be shared by those six pages, linking
only the first page to the Sounds page and this page. The tallest image was chosen for each of the rows of
multiple images, the top one flush with the top of the second tiling of the background, and the height of the
entire page adjusted to accommodate a whole number of background images, and the HTML code to count
visitors centered at the foot: then the column of images was aligned vertically, along with the HTML code box,
and evenly spaced; lastly the additional members of the rows were placed and aligned horizontally and evenly
with the tallest member. The additional elements were identical for each page.
That's basically the outline of what went into creating the pages: the layout was done without regard to the
contents of the images, once they had been whittled down to each make a contribution, and from there it was
serendipity. (Judgment was exercised in determining which would be above and which below in each pair.)
Part of the fascination is the interplay of choice and chance, picking rich imagery and allowing it to
intermingle in ways not predetermined by the purported content. (In this case, the original size of each "above"
image was kept, except when the width exceeded the page width, in which case it was scaled proportionately
to the maximum possible dimensions while keeping the aspect ratio.)
Turning now to the music, it is perhaps ironic that the most elaborate assemblage of imagery for one piece so
far accompanies what may be the most minimalist of the 198 pieces here. Listening for the full hour requires
great stilling of the mind, and the patience of a naturalist to allow the observation of the natural unfolding of
the sequence, which gradually thickens and deepens as we progress, returning in fractal fashion to unfold in
spirals of various sizes and lengths rather than in a straight-line progression. It is the darkening of the light, in
physical and psychological manifestation. It represents the stilling of fear and anger, resentment and despair,
the abandonment of short-term gratifications, and the focusing of the mind and the will necessary to weather
troubled times. The imagery speaks of palace intrigue, the co-existence of power and danger, a prince who
feigns insanity as a way to disassociate from the wickedness of a family he cannot disavow; the superior man
who, wounded himself, finds it in him to help another in distress; highs that are not necessarily high, lows that
are not necessarily low, completions that are incomplete, insufficiencies that are sufficient. Try to listen with an
open mind and a suspended judgment, and allow what happens to happen.
About March of the Dreamers: it's basically the Groove theme carried downstream in time to a further point in
development; I added percussion and it became Moroccan Shadows (304), then with increasing density of
percussion, Khamsin, Serai (304B), Sufi (304C), and finally Worldbeater (305).
About Mas o Menos: it starts like Brisas, then shuts the modulo parameters down to 8, increases them one
voice at a time stepwise to 32, then in jumps of 8 to 64, then eliminates it altogether, and then turns around to
re-institute the modulo parameter at 28, then reduces it jumps of 3 down to 7, then stepwise to 2, then removes
it again. It then plays with the tempo, first decreasing it a voice at a time until it forms a triangular pattern, with
Voice 1 slowest at 32, then Voice 2 at 16, etc., down to Voice 6 at the fastest, 1. It then continues in triangular
fashion until all voices are at 32. Then it begins to speed them up going the opposite way, until a triangle is
again formed, this time with Voice 1 at 1 and Voice 6 at 32. Lastly, it scans back and forth diagonally one last
time until all voices are at 1, and there we leave it. The entire process takes a total of 333 "scripts", as they are
known in generative music. Only a few pieces have more scripts, up to around twice that, but the vast majority
have only one, with all the behavior specified in the initial specifications.
About Milkweed: it all began with Montana Summer (18), which was reduced into Idee Fixe, modified further
into Not Just Yet (21), then its development accelerated in Milkweed and Zephyr (32), out of which was born
Second Thoughts (32a), which was rounded out with other voices to create Condor.
All right, I'm doing it one more time: publishing the new page now just to get it up there, and promising to tell
more about it in a bit. I've now got three pages to write more about: March of the Dreamers, Mas o Menos, and
the new page, Milkweed, about which I will say now that it's a fairly early member of the good-sized family of
pieces that began with Montana Summer (18). (You may wonder why some links include a number after the
name, and others do not. There's method to my madness, in this instance at least: the links with numbers
appended are to the audio file for a piece that doesn't have its own page yet, and those without are to the
pages themselves for those that do. Thus you can know immediately whether you'll be opening a page or an
audio file.) This is a good deal faster in both tempo and rate of development. More soon...
Will write more about March of the Dreamers, but I want to publish my new page, Mas o Menos, and I will have
more to say about that piece, as well. For now, I'll just say that it's an early effort with scripting and playing
with parameters, making things "More or Less," which was also a play on words, referring to the provisional
and unpolished nature of the piece.
The images took a long time to assemble, but they all have to do with contrasts: rich and poor, high and low,
fat and thin, sharp and blurry, big and little, happy and sad. I like the way they play off of each other on the
page. Note the progression in the two-picture rows from very narrow on the left, very wide on the right, to just
the opposite as we proceed toward the bottom, the sequence punctuated by single large images.
New page March of the Dreamers. Another very labor-intensive effort. More to follow, just want to publish it
now. For now: What does it look like when dreamers march? What does it sound like? What do they march
for? What does it take to get a dreamer on the march? What happens when the dreamers come together?
What is possible?
New page Magical Thinking. From it (in part) grew some very airy pieces, like Spun Sugar (233) and Flea
Circus, but it retains a somewhat earthier feel, with its creeping little out-of-step figure gradually gaining a
foothold as we progress.
I had no idea what this page would look like, and just let the images drive the process, deciding early on not to
include book jackets or other pieces of verbiage, and trying to stay true to the music as the ultimate guide and
Another great baby, and exactly the right wallpaper for this page, I think.
Got a new tool, or a new toy perhaps: a neatly done little piece of freeware called GoogleGrab, which would
seem to take some of the drudgery out of one of my tasks, image-gathering and downloading and renaming
and creating and loading a folder for them. I've been using the Ixquick image search, normally combing the
first four pages, or 112 images, per search term, and sometimes supplementing it with the Google image
search, typically using the first six pages, or 120 images. That's per search term, and most pages require
multiple searches to come up with all the appropriate imagery. (For Incarnation, there were more than thirty
searches, of which about two dozen contributed images to the final result.)
GoogleGrab allows one to enter a search term, select or deselect from five ranges of sizes, specify the
maximum number of images to return, and set a content filter on or off; it then calls the Google image search,
creates a folder with the name of the search term, and loads results page by page, renaming as necessary to
avoid duplication. The advantages are obvious; among the challenges it presents are that has no idea what
you want and may load hundreds of images among which you will have to search for the germane ones, if
such exist, and it of course cannot tell when it is loading whole swaths of near-duplicates from which you
might have selected one and moved on. Also, of course, it does not work with Ixquick, which as a meta-search
engine sometimes gets more quickly to the heart of the matter.
It seems to me that the advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages, especially when the software is
considered just one more tool in the toolbox, and I've created folders in raw form for the rest of the "M" pieces
already. One challenge actually comes from the fact that this tool works so hard: even after extensive
winnowing, on may end up with a still relatively large number of images with which one is reluctant to part,
feeling they're the cream of the crop and that each contributes something to the feeling one wants to convey.
That can make for a backbreaking amount of work for a single web page, as well as frustrating memory
problems with the site-building software, but life is trade-offs... My newest page, Magellan, is the first to employ
images gathered with the new tool, and it required many hours of work just to winnow and pair up the images,
and then three separate runs at assembling the page, two of which ended in defeat when virtually none of the
work could be saved, requiring me to go back to Square Two (or so) each time. The upside is that each pass
made for a better page, and that perhaps the fortitude required to simply start over and have another go at it
may have been just what was required.
And what more appropriate for a page I really wanted to get right, since the music is the first thing one hears
on entering this site through the Home page -- a page celebrating, among other things, the joy of discovery, the
sheer heart it took for those early explorers to sail off the edge of the known world, and the loneliness of the
long-distance runner -- as well as the rewards that come to the explorer, the discoverer, the first to see, to hear,
to taste, to take in through every sense known and hidden. The more I hear this piece, the more it grows on
me, and I hope this page does it justice.
New page Madding Crowd. This could be one of the most difficult pieces to the ear, if you have trouble with
It sounds loud and dense and over-the-top and cacophonous and screechy and out-of-control, but it is a
meditation in its own right, and one could also say a minimalist piece in its own way. (After all, mostly white
with subtle shades of darkness is as much minimalist as mostly black with subtle shades of light. Mostly loud
and dense with quieter, thinner spots is as much minimalist as mostly silent with louder, thicker spots.)
This piece is the densest and fullest of a family that started with Jerusalem Weeps, changed instrumentation to
become Alexandria by Night, thinned out with Vigil (26), explored the other extreme of density here, and then
found a way to set up the parameters in such a way that they would cause many of the voices to sit out a good
deal of the time and create a real tapestry of sonorities and densities in Wailing Wall (30a). All of them share a
custom scale with an Eastern European feel to it, a little Jewish, a little Gypsy, a little any musical tradition in
which tears and laughter are inextricable.
The feeling is of a crowded house party where, as the night where, as the night wears on, one finds oneself in
little pockets of calm and bits of conversation in the eddies and shallows which are all one carries away from it
later. The instrumentation is a double quartet of strings and woodwinds, supplemented by shanai, vibraphone,
acoustic guitar, harpsichord, sitar, lead 8 (bass+lead), lead 5 (charang), and koto. The Joys of Midi...
New page Macabre. A relative of Boneyard Boogie and several pieces that don't yet have a page, including
Moonflakes (224A) and Watchmakers' Waltz (223B), in its play with cross-rhythms and its general sound of
something that is perhaps way more energetic and alive than it, um, should be.
New page Anytown.
(It's been nine days since the last new page, what with one thing and another, and now I'm seven pages
behind schedule, bringing it to six behind with this page. I hope to put up five rather than the usual four pages
per week until I'm caught up.)
This is yet another of that big family of genial, laid-back pieces for piano and flutes, in this case catching the
comforting quotidian rhythms of small-town life. This is that familiar carefree music you hear over the opening
credits of many a movie: the Calm Before the Storm. (Depending on what kind of movie it is, you may or may
not hear it again over the closing credits.)
My key images, besides the establishing shots, were two figures associated with daily rounds: one still very
much with us (the Paperboy) and one who has virtually disappeared from Anytown USA but can still be seen in
Anytowns around the developing world (the Milkman).
The milkman images thus included depictions of more exotic provenance (delivery by motorcycle and horse, a
rural cart pulled by something like a yak or a water buffalo, and what I take to be a depiction of British resolve
in a seemingly staged rendition of a milkman pushing on cheerfully through a bomb-shattered cityscape, fire
crews in the background).
After consideration, I decided they provided an intriguing counterpoint or commentary, and left them in.
Decisions, decisions, decisions...
New counter is out till I can install it on every page. It turns out it only counts visits to pages it's installed on
(reasonably enough), but unfortunately, that grossly under-reports visits to this site, because the great majority
of them link thru image search to internal pages. I checked after 18 hours, and while I had 18 visitors to the site
from 7 countries, only four visits from two countries were reported, as the rest did not enter thru the front page.
Installed a new counter from NeoCounter on Home page, showing visitors by country.
Former "Untitled (355A)" is now Anytown (355A) (and, as such, is now next in line alphabetically for its own
New piece added: Zealots (23U). The associated .min file 23U has been added to the Min files page.
The piece which was originally "No Coincidence (222)" and was renamed to "Nemuro Winter (222)" with the
name picked to avoid moving it alphabetically has now been renamed Winter Haiku (222) to make room for a
newly named piece, the former "Untitled (363)," now Nightlight (363), enabling it to nearly swap places with
that piece, which was at the end of the list, and requiring only the moves of several blocks, while retaining the
sense of a Japanese winter. The haiku are traditionally associated with a season, although they are also
associated with brevity, and this piece runs an hour; as luck would have it, though, the plural of "haiku" is
"haiku," so this can be thought of as an entire collection or cycle of winter haiku. (C'mon, work with me here.)
New page Lurch. This one was originally called "Shambles". Musically, it's disjointed enough to be the
equivalent of falling down the stairs, although it's just a few tweaks away from a number of musically more
coherent pieces. It may be interesting for that reason, and it has a certain charm in its very clumsiness, much
like Bransen [immortalized in the Windward (HI) Upward Bound 2001 Yearbook Hall of Fame as "Most
Clumsiest"] shown falling down the stairs, much to the delight of co-honoree Roslyn.
Moved August notes to the Archives page.
New page Lost in Paradise. As the 99th piece out of 197 to get its own page, this is the midway point (98 before,
98 to follow). By a curious coincidence, the piece itself is the first MusiNum piece I created [hence the "(1)"
following the name in the file itself], back in (I think) 1999. It's only ten minutes in length, and the parameters
were selected more or less at random, just to get a feel of the program.
Actually, I've just revisited the settings, and see that they are not so random, but that I had no idea how they would translate to
the ear. There are seven voices; the Step parameter is the cubes of the numbers 3 thru 9, except that 63 is used instead of 64
for some reason, the bases are 71 and then 79 thru 84 by steps (again a single anomaly); the first four voices form one
grouping, with minor scale in various octaves of C (descending from 1 to 2 to 4 to 3), with the first two in Falling mode at Speed 1
and the other two in Rising mode at Speed 2, the odd numbers in Modulo 22 and the evens in 19; the last three voices form
another grouping, all in pentatonic with Modulo 16, in D sharp, the first two in the same octave at Speed 4 and the last an octave
below at Speed 8. Voices 2, 3, and 5 are panned all the way right at the other four all the way left. The voices seem selected at
random (Synth Bass 2 in an unnaturally high range, Blown Bottle, Taiko Drum, Ocarina, FX2 (Soundtrack), Lead 5 (Charang), and
Piccolo in an unnaturally low range).
The overall effect is a little exotic, rather directionless, and more or less pleasantly dazed -- hence the title,
clichéd though it may be. Fractal art is prominent in the imagery of Utopian landscapes, gardens, mazes, and
Later: New page Love Amid the Ruins. Another milestone, as this is the 100th piece to get its own page.
This piece is related to Ivy and Grasshopper, and retains some of the wistful sweetness of those pieces, but its
chromatic scale gives it the worldly, muted bite of Pterodactyl (105) or Craterscape. It is the face of a Jeremy
Irons, combining the most unblinking romanticism with the weary resignation of the post-coital cigarette.
New page Littermates (just a great big page of baby animals). Related to those other slightly rambunctious,
easy-going pieces, like Beach Dogs.
New page Lightning Bugs. I've liked the sound of the piece itself for years, and knew the imagery it conveyed
to me, but I thought, as I so often do, that I wouldn't necessarily be able to convey it here, and that it would be
a sort of generic page. ("Well, here goes nothing...") And once again I'm surprised by the way it takes on a life
of its own. I like the way it came out.
Renamed Levanter (304B) to Serai (304B). Although the Levant is the area formed by the countries that border
the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Levanter is a wind from the East, it is not, as I had assumed, a wind from
the East which blows across the Levant, but rather a wind which blows though the Straits of Gibraltar from the
Western Mediterranean, and it doesn't match the imagery I had in mind -- so I reverted to an earlier candidate
for the name.
Having done that, I looked for a file near the new spot to rename that would free up a space for the new name,
and would end up near the empty spot alphabetically, to avoid a massive rearrangement of the Sounds page,
and I found Shambles (225) in exactly the spot I needed, and which was named without much commitment,
and renamed it Lurch (225), which works just as well, if not better, and required the moving of only four blocks
to occupy its new spot. (It's not always pretty, but it's the way some decisions get made.)
Added a dedication: Ada Danced is now in memory of Judith, mother of my friend Sue.
New page Leonid Shower. The implacable and crystalline logic of fractals is well suited to the implacable and
crystalline logic of meteors, with their utterly alien agenda until contact with our atmosphere makes them a
part of us, their components bringing us needed minerals and becoming part of our familiar blue planet. Light
at the edges and dense in the middle, like a meteor shower.
New page Lemmings. Once more (as in the case of Juggernaut) I had to really hunt thru images, this time
because of the popularity of the video game, which appears to account for fully 90% of the "lemming" images
indexed by search engines.
It was the insistent, frenzied nature of the theme that suggested the name for me, and I'm rather embarrassed
to admit that I was unaware until a few hours ago that the notion of mass suicide by lemmings is actually a
modern urban myth promulgated by the Disney film White Wilderness. Links to sites debunking the myth may
be found at the end of the Wikipedia entry for Lemming. Here's another:
The Academy Award winning 1958 Disney documentary White Wilderness returned to the general location of Nanook of the
North. Part of Disney’s True Life Adventure series, White Wilderness depicted animal life in the Arctic.
To make the film, nine photographers spent three years on the documentary in Alberta, a temperate and landlocked province of
Canada. After Eskimo children told the photographers the urban myth that lemmings undertake dramatic migrations
culminating in mass suicide leaps off cliffs at the edge of the sea, the photographers decided that the compelling story, true or
not, had to be told. They imported lemmings, which were not native to Alberta, placed them on snow-covered turntables and
filmed them from various angles to create a sequence depicting migration. Later, the photographers herded the lemmings over
a cliff into a river cropped to look like the ocean. As this took place the narrator announced: “A kind of compulsion seizes each
tiny rodent and, carried along by an unreasoning hysteria, each falls into step for a march that will take them to a strange
destiny. ... They’ve become victims of an obsession -- a one-track thought: Move on! Move on!”
(Read it in context here: Fiction is Dead.)
New page Leapfrog. This piece, or more correctly the .min file (352.min) that created it, is the mother of all
those piano-and-flute pieces in the 350 and 360 ranges, some of them, e.g. Beach Dogs, Flipflops, and Mudflats
(354), more loosey-goosey, some, like Hotfoot and Warp & Weft (359), more tightly organized, some, like
Fragtime and Saturnalia (359A), driven, dense, and flute-heavy, and some, like Flyby and Leonid Shower (362),
sans flute and lighter than air. This was the first experiment with that cluster of parameters, the theory of which
I'll get into eventually. Among the characteristics are voices in keys spaced a fourth apart, in pentatonic, but
there's much more that knits them together.
New page Khamsin. From the Arabic word for "fifty," this is the hot dry wind that blows from the South,
supposedly fifty days out of the year (though some say closer to a hundred, and that the "fifty" illustrates the
Arab propensity to haggle), carrying the dust of the Sahara, across many parts of the Mideast, and is reputed to
drive those in its path to extreme irritation, then to distraction, and finally to excusable acts of mayhem and
murder in certain cases of prolonged exposure.
In this spelling it is also a Maserati as well as the name of more than one horse and part of the title at least one
canine champion, as well as an Abyssinian cat and a band that calls itself "probably the best Belgian
kaleidostone [search me!] band in the world" and is looking for management; it is also spelled Khamseen or
Khamaseen, and the Arabic "fifty" has multiple transliterations as well.
New page Just Like That. For this page, I gathered images in two categories: piano lessons and dancing bears.
After pruning, sorting, and pairing them, it didn't work. The tempo's wrong for those images: neither piano
students nor lumbering bears could keep up the pace. I scrapped them and gathered two other sets: double-
piano concerts and piano destruction. That worked. The nifty background is by mixed-media artist Rudolf
Boogerman, part of his "Wooden Dimensions" series.
New page Juggernaut. It seems the great bulk of images out there are of action figures all quite different and
all named Juggernaut. I was after the image of ferocity and unstoppability conveyed by the figurative meaning,
but to get anywhere near I had to go to the original meaning, corrupted by the British from Jagannath, where
the great chariots or carts of the deities, which, during the Rath Yatra festival, occasionally crushed devotees
thru mishap, provoked the colonial myth that those crazy Hindus threw themselves under the wheels in a rite of
suicidal frenzy. These days it's much more safety-conscious, of course, and likely less hazardous than driving
your own highway chariot.
Horrors! It seems I've had Iron Horse up for a week with the wrong music! If what you were hearing there
sounded familiar, it was: Hammer and Tongs. Visit here for correction.
The feeling of sunlight, joy, openness, freedom, and transcendence in this piece makes for a far greater ironic
tension with some of the imagery (the death of the buffalo and of the Native American world) than does the
more purely mechanical and metallic sound of the other piece.
New page Jerusalem Weeps. Re-orchestrated, this string quartet became Alexandria by Night. Later variants:
the very spare Vigil (26), the difficult but rewarding Wailing Wall (30a), and the ultra-dense and over-the top
Madding Crowd (30).
I had a lot of trouble coming up with imagery for this page that even began to convey what was in my head
when I named it. In the end, I managed to stumble upon a look I could not have imagined. The glorious
background is "A Song for Jerusalem"; it is the work of Boruch Nachson, a Chassidic artist living in Chevron,
Israel, "known for his use of bright, vivid Acrylic paints and his ability to give form to mystical concepts".
New page Ivy. This and Grasshopper are perhaps my most purely sweet sounds, and here I am guided by the
twining of ivy as the twining of hearts, and by the quiet beauty suggested by "Ivy" as a name. I do love this
New page Island Hopping. I don't aim to change the world with this page; it's just a little entertainment. Steel
drum = Island, and bouncy chain of staccato fourths = Hopping. Somehow I didn't end up with any Caribbean
islands, except of course the ones the steel (or "pan") bands are standing on. Greek islands we got. Pacific
islands we got. Call it World music and move on.
New page Iron Horse. This piece (230) is a precursor to Shining River, Homebound Soul (230A), Tablelands
(230B), and Sunset Rider (230C), all of them evocative of the Great Plains, the West, and the Southwest (Black
Hills and Badlands, Colorado River, Painted Desert, Georgia O'Keeffe country, the routes of the Prairie
Schooners and the Pony Express), and of the tireless rhythms of trains. An evolution of the family of pieces that
grew from Promised (229) to include Open Country (229A), Peace Train (229B), and Freedom Strides the
SunRoad (229C), without their characteristic melodic motif. With its own patient energy, but without the
headlong aggression of Head for the Hills (226), Juggernaut (227), or Hammer and Tongs (228).
New page Fragtime. As a composer of generative music, I set parameters according to some a priori criterion,
get auditory feedback, and often tweak the settings -- then I let it fly, and it does things I couldn't imagine,
achieves effects without my knowing how it's getting there. This one blows me away.
Created an Archives page to hold notes before August 1, 2006.
I envision keeping two months besides the current month on this page and peeling off the old month into its
own page when there are three full months here. I suppose there'll be an Archives hub pointing to the
individual months, but there's time to figure that out. Also at some point I want to copy what I say here about
each new page to someplace on the page itself; just how is another thing to figure out.
Moved featured piece Ennead from here to there, allowing me to feature a new piece I like a lot here.
Renamed six more "Untitled" files and rearranged the Sounds page. Newly named pieces: Levanter (304B),
Fragtime (360), Khamsin (304A), Ada Danced (302A), Leapfrog (352), and Peace Train (229B).
Later: New page Ada Danced. This piece is a successor to Nocturne. Both of them convey a kind of toys-come-
to-life, midnight-carousel, pensive-bordering-on-melancholy, old-world feeling. The name Ada seems to suit
that mood, and the past tense in "danced" conveys that it is about memories, times gone by. Mechanical
movements, an imitation of life but never quite life, with their own frangible, elegiac dignity.
New page Inconsolable. I envision this piece as the center of a trilogy, beginning with Still in Shock and
ending with Chernobyl Heart. This piece represents the keenest and most unbearable part of human grief,
when the initial numbness has worn off, but resignation and acceptance have not yet integrated the
experience. By that measure, not all the images fit this piece exactly, although they all fit the general meaning
of the word. The faces of those who have just come through a bombing, an earthquake, or a horrific murder
belong to the first part, and some of the artistic renditions may depict later stages, but they all draw us in, we
know the place. (The mountain pics are of the Inconsolable Range.)
New page Incarnation. This is by far my biggest and most ambitious page to date. Before arriving at the name
of the piece, I went thru Apparition, Materialization, Seance, Encounter; Filigree, Elaboration, String Theory,
Wheels within Wheels, Wormholes; Singularity, Breakthrough, Release, Deliverance, (Sweet) Surrender;
Narthex, Vortex, Nexus, Zooming In, Window of Opportunity, Power (Persistence) of Illusion, and a number of
other names indicating qualities of world-bridging, wealth of detail, cataclysmic instants, centrality (being at
the hub), and the mediation of perception (to name a few). Many of those qualities affected the imagery,
though I tried to hew to the idea of in-carn-ation, becoming-flesh in making my final selections. I winnowed
from 167 to 67 images, then could cut no more, and decided to use everything left (background + 33 pairs).Be
sure to mouse on and off of everything - near the bottom are a fractal zoom mouse-on and a creature which re-
assembles itself with each mouse-off. Be patient with your browser on this page...
New page In the Zone. After a meditative first few seconds and a pause to regroup, this two-guitar piece takes
a sort of blindingly headlong downhill run, melodic figures and shifting rhythms looming, arriving, and
receding in a blur, before they can be properly comprehended. It is, however, perhaps more notable in that it
is the 13-minute precursor to the 140-minute behemoth, Fountain of Youth, presented here in three parts, (Pt. 1,
Pt. 2, Pt. 3). In both pieces, minute tweaking of the parameters has a dramatic and complex effect on the
overall sound; here there are only two voices to attend to and the tweaks change the piece much more rapidly
than in Fountain.
New page Idee Fixe. This one is very minimalist: a simple descending scale, a four-note plaint, repeated over
gently caressing guitars, with only the subtlest of variations over several hundred repetitions, with the effect of
drawing in our attention and enlisting our minds in trying to predict the nature and timing of the next eddy in
the flux, in magnifying our reaction to tiny surprises, inducing a mild trance state.
New page Ice Caves. Something about the combination of order and anarchy, or perhaps anomie, in the piece
(precursor to Hair of the Dog with its tequila haze, its falling-off chains of fourths in counter-rhythm seeming to
march off stiff-legged at right angles to the rest of the music) made me think of the de facto ice caves that
formed on the shores of Lake Erie with the spring thaw, melting from the inside out the de facto ice hills, well-
suited for sledding, that had formed during the winter, in the hamlet of Angola-by-the-Lake west of Buffalo, NY,
and in which, in 1962, in, I suppose, late February and/or early March, we siblings wandered, in moderate (and
parentally noted) peril of cave-in, and imagining them far more grand.
I can't explain the connection very well rationally, except to say that when the name came to me, after images
that converged on the feeling of a winter beach, it felt like the right one.
So various in nature and appearance are this world's ice caves, it would appear, that I ended up winnowing
very little, and presenting 49 images, i.e., the background and two dozen mouse-off / mouse-on pairs.
Renamed eight more "Untitled" files and rearranged the Sounds page. Newly named pieces: Stony Lonesome,
Walking Home (219), Littermates (357), Pixie Dust (361), Mudflats (354), Speculation (225), Orang Lullaby (241),
Pandora's Remorse (235), and Worldbeater (305).
New page Hotfoot. This is one of my favorites, and graced the home page for a time. The feeling I was after
here was a little like that of Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring Suite," written for Martha Graham's troupe --
to me this piece could be someone's reinterpretation of the homespun country dance, fiddle tunes re-scored for
piano and flutes, which yet captures and preserves its raw ebullience, its braggadocio -- jug liquor, jealousies,
and all. The piece had many names along the way -- Slap-happy, Skedaddle, Scamper, Caper, Irrepressible,
Fast & Loose, Flabbergast, even Flunacy (Flute Lunacy). My private image for the page was something like the
sight of the lumbering (and menacing) Forrester Brothers in The Yearling cutting loose to the accompaniment
of Penny Baxter's fiddle. Also, the rhythm is inextricably intertwined in my mind with that of the catchy "The
Battle of New Orleans."
We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin,
But there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.
Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast the hounds couldn't catch 'em
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.
New page Holograph. The imagery depicts both holographs and holograms (the 3-D projections produced by
shining laser light through holographs), but the piece is named for the holograph, which encodes in two
dimensions with great efficiency the information needed to produce the spectral, yet detailed, 3-D projection.
Simply looking at a holograph in normal light gives no clue as to the wealth of information it contains, nor to
the nature of its subject.
In much the same manner, the seeming simplicity of this piece, its minimalism, indicates the simplicity and
elegance of its provenance, but both belie the complexity of all that lies inherent, the interrelationships in the
music, its working-out.
New page Flipflops. This is another piece with easygoing piano and loping flutes, a cousin of Beach Dogs. The
idea of the flipflops was planted by one of the pictures I ran across for Flotsam. I didn't use the Flip-Flop
Flotsam picture there though, because I was looking for flotsam that clinked as it jostled other flotsam. I like
the serendipitous sandal-print background, and I like the "recycled" cutout bottle footwear, and I like the
hardiness of the flip-flop hikers with snowy toes.
Renamed nine more "Untitled" files and rearranged the Sounds page. Newly named pieces: Nocturne (302),
Open Country (229A), Promised (229), Sunset Rider (230C), Juggernaut (227), Flipflops (356), Still in Shock (217),
Shy Beauty (218), and Walking in Our Sleep (225A).
New page Great Smoky Mountains / Bill Frisell. The piece is at various times my favorite, and always one of
them. It went by the name Untitled (240) until some sixty hours ago (now a little past 2:30 am), and may now
appear to be the most, if not awkwardly, at least oddly named of them all. Yet I could not leave out either
component of the name. It's not so much that the piece reminded me equally of both, more that to me, the
sight of the Great Smoky Mountains and the sound of Bill Frisell's guitar are the same. And I'm happy with the
way the page turned out.
New page Creepers. The piece itself uses silence as a very important music element, the silence being the
black of night surrounding each invisible (but to us, audible, almost through a sixth sense rather than through
our ears) surge of growth among the tendrils of some hair-raising presence. Each pulse seems to grow longer
and more complex, the spaces in between less, as though the runners were emboldened by their success --
then they cycle slowly back until we begin to wonder if they are there at all. If we listen long enough, even
larger cycles begin to make themselves known. The sounds bypass the control room and find another way into
the mind. This layering of structure while preserving self-similarity is the very essence of fractalia.
(Early evening, 16 hours later.) New page Flotsam. The image in my mind was that of glass bottles clinking
against each other, as though they had been substituted for the duckies in a Rubber Ducky Derby, but as
always, I remained open to serendipity in the image search, and am pleased. Another case also where what
sounds random is merely complex.
New page Boneyard Boogie. This could have been "Monster Mash" if that name weren't already taken... I
considered Cemetery Shuffle, Skeleton Skiffle, and so forth, but this one fit much better. But it seems that no
matter how independently the name comes to you, chances are someone's already been there. In this case,
we're talking about a cover band called Boneyard who uses the very phrase in talking about their gigs. So
here, guys, a link to you. Check them out...you can listen here. They work hard & sound good.
Renamed eight more "Untitled" files and rearranged the Sounds page. Newly named pieces: Flotsam (238),
Saturnalia (359A), Vee Formation (358), Creepers (216), Boneyard Boogie (223), Rustic (355), Watchmakers'
Waltz (223B), and Great Smoky Mountains / Bill Frisell (240).
New page Heartthrob. I wanted something different to convey the sense of the world's great heart beating for
this piece, and so in place of the largely static images on the other pages (with the exception of a fountain
here, a crystal ball there), I used exclusively animated images, in BG and both levels of the images, top (front)
and bottom (back). It seems to put a bit of a strain on my browser at times, but I like the way it turned out and
I'm going to let the experiment stand. The word "heartthrob" is used in both senses, literal and figurative, and
extended as well to pull in other things that exhibit a regular cycle, or pulse. (The background image, which
looks like a time lapse of the world's night sky seen from space, is in fact a summary of requests received by
Google over a 24-hr period.)
New page Hearth and Home. Although I couldn't quite reproduce the very specific image in my head listening
to this, I hope I've captured the feelings evoked by it.
The image was of a high-ceilinged living room with a massive fireplace, a family room where family and
friends seemed to have gathered from time immemorial, with quiet and endlessly creative music from various
people, but someone who emerged as the Paterfamilias in particular, improvising effortlessly on a Spanish
guitar. The point of view (or "POV" in scenario-speak) was from a high place just outside the room, three
quarters of the way up and to the left of the fireplace, which was seen in very foreshortened perspective, more
evident by the rich warm glow reflected on the assemblage.
As I delved deeper into it, it seemed to be about fatherhood, the qualities that fathers bring: Safety, Constancy,
Stillness, Creativity, Challenge, and Whimsy -- not one of them any less important than any other.
The Father Protector, the Bosom of Abraham, the Taker of the Long View, the Maker of That Which Was Not,
the Raiser of Eyebrows Who Will Not Let You Stay in Your Comfort Zone, the Old Sly Boots.
(Well, if I didn't capture all that, I found some impressive fireplaces, with and without guitars.)
New page Flea Circus. Musically, this piece starts out with no magnification, the fleas tiny specks, and
gradually swoops down as the music deepens, until we are seeing the circus almost from the flea's
perspective, then reverses the process, until the human scale is restored and the fleas once more specks.
The images come from many sites, most of them commercial sites promoting a particular flea circus, often as
part of a larger entertainment package, but I'll mention a few that contributed multiple images for this page.
Walt Noon describes himself as a full-time freelance magician and an entire section of his website is devoted
to flea circuses. Many of the physical setups shown come from his gallery, and he also has a number of links to
flea circus history and to the Andy Clark's Flea Circus site.
Andy Clark's site includes a page of links to other flea shows worldwide, as well as notes on circus construction
and flea training. One of the sites listed on his links page is Priceteeni Circus, which I single out only because
the fanciful pics of individual performers come from that site's "Meet the Fleas" page.
Renamed eleven more "Untitled" files and rearranged the Sounds page. Newly named pieces: Flea Circus
(234), Iron Horse (230), March of the Dreamers (301A), Magical Thinking (232), Holograph (201), Moroccan
Shadows (304), Leonid Shower (362), Tablelands (230B), Bermuda Triangle (221), Random Acts of Kindness
(357A), and Hearth and Home (303).
Made some cosmetic changes to Sounds page, and finally got a decent-sized print of Dali's "Maelstrom" as
New page Bermuda Triangle. The imagery originally suggested to me by this piece had something to do with
an outsider wandering far off the beaten path and realizing that the night was full of unfathomable menace
and close-held mysteries, after dark at a deserted crossroads, with a few neglected graves somewhere about --
but it evolved and ended up here, with forces of unknown origin and perhaps intelligences of unknowable
intent overwhelming and baffling our best technology in broad daylight. The nominally sunny steel drum
sounds an occasional staccato tone in sardonic comment.
While looking at Dali paintings, I found two of the Pharos in Alexandria, which I have added to the Alexandria
by Night page, layered as usual (the lighted beneath, hiding it under the bushel of the other).
New page Head for the Hills. The imagery is of people desperately seeking higher ground, variously fleeing
tsunami, leviathan, religious and cultural persecution, sectarian violence, and the juggernauts of war, but
there's more than just flight and victimization here. The music tells a story of seemingly unstoppable machinery
sweeping all before it as it invades, conquers, and subjugates -- yet underneath there are
murmurs and quiet messages, out of step by tempo and key, still hewing to the old ways, nearly drowned out
and nearly invisible, and by that same token a threat -- the future Resistance taking to the hills, to the places
only they know, and biding their time... ("Does he really see all that in there?" I'm afraid he does.)
That was in the wee hours. Now it is evening, some eighteen hours later, with new page Hearing Voices. This
piece is related in general effect to the certain of the others done around the same time, in particular
Ganglion, Ice Caves, and Hair of the Dog. All of them project a certain feeling lying between random and
orderly, unlike certain others which project a more purely stochastic (dependent on chance operations) flavor,
such as Redoubt, Craterscape, Potsherds, or Pterodactyl, to name just a few.
In fact all of them are fiercely deterministic, without a random bone in their bodies: it is merely the level of
complexity, or the lack of a structure easily apprehended by the ear, that makes them appear otherwise. With
a thorough and relaxed hearing with an open ear, elements of structure begin to be imprinted on the
subconscious: one reason for the length of these pieces. (That is the religion of minimalism.)
New page Cold Fusion. This is another of those pieces that is attenuated on both ends and achieves maximum
density in the center. (Be sure to hover on the images, as always. I like the effect on the topmost one.)
New page Chernobyl Heart. Three pieces stem from the .min file 217. They share a very similar sound, but to
my mind are three phases (not the only three) of the same emotion: grief. Untitled (217) represents grief so fresh
it is accompanied by numbness and something approaching catatonia: the shock and confusion of fresh
bereavement, perhaps. There is a protective overload / shutdown feature here which simply disables a good
part of the mind and the heart.
Inconsolable (217A) represents the most keenly painful and agonizing phase, when the numbness has worn off
and the realization that the "un-happening" that the sufferer has been waiting for is not going to occur, but the
reality of the loss cannot yet be accepted, so that there seems no way either back or forward, and no way to
bear the present.
Chernobyl Heart (217B) represents, not the next phase, and perhaps not the final phase, but a much later
phase, when the grief is still something that creates its own solitude when it is upon one (even if one is not
isolating), and has worked its way into the everyday fabric of life almost to the point of being greeted as an old
companion. There is an element of exile or banishment in it, but that also represents an opportunity for long
reflection, the integration of regret and remorse, an element of repentance and expiation in some cases, but
there is also a feeling of "normal" life frozen in time, divided into a Before and an After, a Pompeii or
Chernobyl effect. The heart is also perhaps encased, like Reactor Four, in a protective sarcophagus, which
indeed, like its counterpart, may have a slow leak.
I was not aware at the time I named the piece (or had forgotten if I once knew) that there was an acclaimed
documentary of the same name. This 2004 Oscar winner (best Documentary, Short Subjects, Maryann DeLeo)
followed the children born after the 1986 disaster with deteriorated hearts (indeed I must have known it then).
The name fits too well to change it, though, and it was arrived at independently, after I had discarded a score
of other names, and simplified even this one from "Chernobyl in the Heart" or "Chernobyl of the Heart."
A note: the Chernobyl disaster and its ongoing aftermath are too real and too present in the world to be
appropriated lightly as a metaphor. I found the search for Chernobyl imagery to be far more sombre and far
more affecting than I had anticipated. I must give acknowledgment to three sources in particular, and urge all
who read this to visit those sites and learn more of this truly unique event. One is Wormwood Forest: A Natural
History of Chernobyl, which details how Nature is dealing with the aftermath in Man's absence, and has a good
gallery. Another is Chornobyl Nuclear Catastrophe, Ten Years After April 26, 1986 by Andrew Gregorovich,
which contains an excellent bibliography.
But far and beyond the above, I must recommend Ghost Town, by someone who introduces herself thus:
My name is Elena. I run this website and I don't have anything to sell. What I do have is my motorbike and the
absolute freedom to ride it wherever curiosity and the speed demon take me. This page is maintained by the
author, but when internet traffic is heavy it may be down occasionally.
There is now a followup trip through the area, Land of the Wolves. I cannot begin to do justice to these twin
sites, which can be accessed from Elena's front page. This deeply personal and immensely popular website
contains images and narrative you may never forget. I could have created my page with no other resource for
the imagery, certainly, but that's not important. I urge the visitor to experience these narratives...
Renamed seven more "Untitled" files and rearranged the Sounds page. Newly named pieces: Chernobyl Heart
(217B), Head for the Hills (226), Search & Rescue (224B), Shining River, Homebound Soul (230A), Cold Fusion
(238A), Warp & Weft (359), and Spun Sugar (233).
New page Hair of the Dog. The feeling of this piece to me is of a tequila haze rather than a head-splitting
hangover. It's not unpleasant, but rather just ambling and gormless, with concentration and follow-through
nonexistent. Musical ideas begin to take shape, then lose themselves amid the dotted-quarter descending
fourths which seem to cut diagonally across everything, sporting a mushy and quizzical grin as they peer
blearily into the middle distance. Not sobering up just yet begins to seem like sound advice...
New page Hammer & Tongs. I nearly called it "Industrial Revolution," but the Anglo-Saxon sound and the
imagery fit much better. I was mostly thinking of the cliché, but when I brought up imagery, the two
predominant categories were blacksmithing and Motocross. (The Motocross images are among the hidden.)
New page Harpies. This piece sounds like no other in its staccato barking. The title is of course a play on
words, as the harp seems to bracket to whole sound serenely, an artifact of the parameters picked for it. This
piece, seemingly so random, is in fact a great example of regularity in the setting of parameters. A standard
string quartet configuration plus harp is interleaved with a standard woodwind quartet configuration plus
piccolo. The keys are set to the first ten harmonics, all in pentatonic, the Step parameter is set to the primes
beginning at 23, the Base parameter to 6 through 15 in increments of one, the modulo from 36 to 19 in such a
way that the top notes are about the same, and the speed from 32 to 2 geometrically for the strings, twice as
fast for the woodwinds. (See 104.)
New page Groove. This title's a bit satirical, as there are six instruments here, in five separate pentatonic
scales, of which only three (FX4 Atmosphere in Eb eighth notes, sounding like F minor, clean electric guitar in
Eb quarter notes, and synth bass in Bb half notes) could be said really to get into a groove.
One (Rhodes piano in F half notes) doesn't lend much, one (jazz electric guitar in D natural half-note/eighth-
note ties) is off on its own but scarcely audible, and one (tenor sax in B natural staccato half-note/eighth-note
ties) emphatically and squawkily resists all socialization.
And in spite of all that, or perhaps because of it, we're drawn in. In the end, it's the Apollonian FX4 Atmosphere
[Thesis] and the Dionysian tenor sax [Antithesis] playing off each other with the rest as Greek chorus, and we
come to see the sax's licks as providing the rhythmic interest. What was a metric pattern is now [Synthesis]
indeed a Groove.
New midi file Untitled (363). Associated .min file (363) added to Min files page.
Renamed six more "Untitled" files and rearranged Sounds page. Newly named are Sufi (304C), Hammer &
Tongs (228), Passing Fancy (362A), NoSeeUms (358A), Inconsolable (217A), and Macabre (224).
New page Goya's Light. (I may actually have been thinking of El Greco's Toledo when I named this originally,
but it's been Goya for too long to change now, and he certainly handles light in his own unique way, almost as
an abstraction, a kind of highlighter, rather than light as we know it.)
(Also reworded a few pages to emphasize the fact that this is all fractal music, which was being underplayed a
New page Grasshopper. A mix of two references, the Cult Favorite and the Cautionary Tale. (And a little bit
New page Glass House. Nothing complicated about the name, as the sound effect is "Crystal".
New page Goblet. It so happens this (103C) is developmentally as well as alphabetically next to the above
(103B). Again, the name is straightforwardly related to the sound.
Replaced one of the hidden pictures in Ghost Elephants.
Renamed No Coincidence to Nemuro Winter. (I wanted a cold place in Japan that wouldn't require me to
change the alphabetic position of the link, and Nemuro fit the bill.)
Spent a lot of time researching links and other things that haven't shown up here yet, but will sooner or later
affect the site.
Added feedback gear to the other 73 accessible pages, in hopes that visitors will find it easier to respond to
what is right in front of them, rather than having to navigate back to the entry point to leave comments. In the
case of the music pages, visitors will now have the ability to comment in real time, while the music is still
playing. Also revamped main navbar, swapping SOUNDS & HOME, with this page on top (see left).
Added feedback gear to front page, and took out e-mail link.
New page Ganglion. I seem to recall a scene in the movie Fantastic Voyage depicting the Central Nervous
System as the Information Superhighway, with packets of electrically encoded signals visible as trains of light
dashing every which way in patterns of unfathomable complexity. That was the imagery I was after here,
especially fractal-art depictions, since the structure of the nervous system is in many ways fractal. (It seems the
piece might better have been named Neuron or Synapse, or even Dendrite, since I ended up with many more
of those than ganglia.)
New page Ghost Elephants. One of my favorite names in terms of aptness and evocative, even conjurative,
power. And I have a particular small fondness for the sound of this piece, as it slowly and deliberately
develops. People speak of ghost herds slipping silently through the night, as though they had never been there.
Appropriately, I'll let you find the references (hint: try the phrase in the Ixquick search engine).
New page Freedom Strides the SunRoad. This is one of my favorites in its drive, its joy, and the unexpected
and many-layered way its structure worked itself out. It is unedited and unscripted fractal output, wind the
watch and let it go, and yet to me it sounds composed. Listen for yourself.
Although I couldn't find exactly the images I had in mind originally, the ones I happened across tell a better
story, in ways I couldn't have anticipated. As with the music, so with the artwork: serendipity.
New page FryBrain. In this case the music itself is the drug, relentless in its assault, forcing the brain into
overdrive. (This one's out of sequence, skipping over Freedom Strides the SunRoad (229C); I'm not finding the
imagery I want for that piece as readily as some of the others. I know what I see in my mind, but I haven't
looked in the right places yet for it.)
New page Flyby. Appropriately, an almost ephemeral piece. The basic logarithmic structure of MusiNum pieces
is very evident here, as the density increases greatly near "perigee" in the center of the piece.
New page Escape from Lhasa. This piece underwent two revisions from the version (23Z) which was originally
posted. That version had a lot of terror and wonder in it, and I thought as I looked at the faces of the pilgrims,
too much terror, too much Guernica. What I see on those faces is not a flight of terror, as grim as the situation
was, but a stolid resolve and, undeniable, an unquenchable joy springing from deep within.
The second version (23T) corrected that, but did not have enough sense of forward motion. I ended up with a
scripted version (that is, one in which the parameters change over time), as precise as a sand painting, in
which (23S) the loftiness, wonder, and danger are gradually replaced by a valley of peace and perhaps in
anticipation the quotidian harmonies of mundane existence, sanctified by the awareness of the Infinite which
these contemplatives carry everywhere. (Everything being plotted out carefully in advance, I needed to
maintain great attention for the first 64 minutes, making 80 precise adjustments at 48-second intervals, then
allowing a few minutes of deliberate imprecision as the tension lifted.) You must listen all the way through to
apprehend it fully.
On a lighter note, Spellchecker just suggested that I replace "too much Guernica" with "too much Hernia."
New page Atlantis Dwells Within. I dedicate this page to great-great-great-uncle Ignatius Donnelly, who (for
better or for worse) re-ignited public interest in all things Atlantean with his book The Antediluvian World.
New page Celestial Mechanics. (As it's 4 am, I'm just putting the button on the navigation bar, and I'll position
everything alphabetically by daylight.)
Later: Navigation bars re-jiggered. A few milestones: Holler made 48 pages, or one-quarter of the 192 pieces
given their own pages, but then I moved the bar by adding four more pieces, meaning Atlantis was now the
one-quarter mark with 49. And Celestial makes it a round 50 pages. (OK, done talking to myself.)
Newly featured on the Home page is the very new piece Magellan, narrowly edging out the even newer
Renamed eight more of the "Untitled" files and rearranged Sounds page accordingly. Newly named are
Rumors (215), Incarnation (237), Flyby (361A), Groove (301), Celestial Mechanics (236), Orbital Resonance Rag
(223A), No Coincidence (222), and Shambles (225C).
A note here about naming: perhaps other composers, and artists in general, will know what I mean when I say
that often the naming feels like a little death, or a betrayal.
You want to convey some of the feelings and imagery that the piece brought to you, but words are clumsy tools
compared to the music (or the fractal image, or the sculpture... ) itself, and in trying to connect the piece to the
outside world, you inevitably compress and constrain it and even sully it somehow.
Archibald MacLeish had his say, quite famously, in "Ars Poetica," but also called to mind is "The Magician and
the Dryad" by C. S. Lewis. Here are both of them:
A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit
As old medallions to the thumb
Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown -
A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds
A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs
Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,
Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind -
A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs
A poem should be equal to:
For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea -
A poem should not mean
-- Archibald MacLeish
The Magician and the Dryad
Out of your dim felicity of leaves, oh Nymph appear,
answer me in soft-showery voice, attempt the unrooted dance
--My art shall sponsor the enormity. Now concentrate,
Around, where in your vegetative heart it drowses deep
In seminal sleep, your feminine response. Conjuro te
Per Hecates essentiam et noctis silentia,
Breaking by Trivia's name your prison of bark. Beautiful, awake.
Risen from the deep lake of my liberty, into your prison
She has come, cruel commander.
I have given speech to the dumb.
Will you not thank me, silver lady?
Oh till now she drank
With thirst of myriad mouths the bursting cataracts of the sun,
The drizzle of gentler stars, and indivisible small rain.
Wading the dark earth, made of earth and light, cradled in air,
All that she was, she was all over. Now the mask you call
A Face has blotted out the ambient hemisphere's embrace;
Her light is screwed into twin nodules of tormenting sight;
Searing divisions tear her into five. She cannot hear
But only see, the moon; earth has no taste; she cannot breathe
at every branch vibrations of the sky. For a dome of severance,
A helmet, a dark, rigid box of bone, has overwhelmed
Her hair...that was her lungs...that was her nerves...that kissed the air.
Crushed in a brain, her thought that circled cooly in every vein
Turns into poison, thickens like a man's, ferments and burns.
She was at peace when she was in her unity. Oh now release
And let her out into the seamless world, make her forget.
Be free. Relapse. And so she vanishes. And now the tree
Grows barer every moment. The leaves fall. A killing air,
Sighing from the country of Man, has withered it. The tree will die.
~C.S. Lewis, "The Magician and the Dryad", Poems (1964)
Note: I looked everywhere for the latter poem, and finally found it here:
The Window in the Garden Wall: A C.S. Lewis Blog
A thousand thanks to Arevayne, creator of the above site. (Everything is on the net, if you are persistent enough
in your search, I'm coming to believe.)
Back to MusiNum for a major reworking of Overboard (23), virtually unlistenable as it had been preserved, into
Overboard (23X), which sounds very different while preserving a good deal of the (what I would now consider
primitive) structure of the original. Both of the generating files, 23.min and 23X.min, are preserved on the Min
page, and the whole sordid affair will no doubt be analyzed to death later...
Later: Kept playing with 23X and ended up with two brand-new pieces, Atlantis Dwells Within (23Y), an
unexpectedly emotional piece about memory and loss and longing for places we seem somehow to know in
our collective unconscious, and Escape from Lhasa (23Z), which has the feel of a lofty and pristine holy place
broached and desecrated, and refers to the flight of the young Dalai Lama to India to preserve the government-
in-exile of Tibet...
Still later: Kept exploring along various lines and came up with two more sounds, Magellan (23W), which has
a sense of unswerving resolve and inevitable pushing-on about it, and Monsoon (23V), which brings to my mind
the images of the lifesaving rains sweeping across the parched landscape in L'Inde fantôme (Phantom India),
the astounding seven-hour documentary by Louis Malle.
New page Beach Dogs. The meandering yet enthusiastic flutes reminded me of the blissful sensory overload of
dogs at the beach who want to be everywhere at once. (And if you listen closely you can even hear barks and
Renamed four of the "Untitled" files and rearranged Sounds page accordingly. Newly named are Island
Hopping (220), the recently featured Hotfoot (353), Moonflakes (224A), and Beach Dogs (356A), which will now
be the next page up.
New page Fractal Holler. (Another note here to myself to add alt text to the images for this page as well and
New page Fractal Breakdown. (Note here to myself to add alt text to the images and republish.)
Jupiter out, Sun in... Needed something flashier... Added fly-by Uranus with its blue matching the mushrooms
and its delightful sideways rotation.
Researched link-exchange partners for the site.
Gathered imagery for next two upcoming pages.
Added nine key website links to Fractals page.
HOME page now featuring "Stout Hearts".
I'm now hiding behind Jupiter rather than Saturn.
New page Fountain of Youth Part One.
That is the piece featured on my SOUNDS page, perhaps permanently, as I still consider it in many ways my
most perfectly realized piece.
(I'm speaking of the entire Fountain of Youth here, but especially of Part One.)
There is more about the piece on the page itself.
New page Fountain of Youth Part Two.
New page Fountain of Youth Part Three.
New page Fontina. (That piece has the honor of being the first piece featured on the HOME page.)
New page Fontinella (sister page to Fontina). Both pages refer to the Modern Jazz Quartet's album Fontinella,
with its gentle Continental melancholy and its distilled and limpid purity and crystalline tone. (The cheese puns
are a salubrious act of humility in their presence.)
Acquiring new webmaster toys, as may be seen on HOME page (note the spinning Saturn and the 3-D banner),
and joining WebRings right and left. Also have now put audio on all the pages in the navigation bar at left.
Spent what seemed an inordinate amount of time rearranging SOUNDS page for a cleaner (one hopes!) look.
Changes to the site may be a little less visible for awhile, as I go back over the pages I've already added and
tag the images with "alt text" to give the search engines something to find (as well as those browsing in text-
only mode), and add explanatory text and perhaps quotes. Then it's back to new pages...
New page Flying Fish. One of my most felicitously titled pieces, I think, and one of my favorites overall for
sheer lightness and joy (I defy you to listen to the piece and NOT see the flying fish leaping and soaring). And
Brisas begat Coveside, and Coveside begat Flying Fish...
New page Fifth Column (a little wordplay, as the imagery points out).
Added another quote to Alexandria by Night, and added some commentary on the piece (my first commentary
on the midi pages).
Rearranged HOME page for cleaner look.
New backgrounds for Charybdis and Craterscape.
Added new images to Alexandria by Night... Added quotes (the first text finally up on the midi pages).
Random player works in the site-builder page preview, but not on the published page. Took it back into the
shop till I can figure out why that is... Back to the rotating featured piece for now.
Added a random midi player to home page (initially loaded with just ten of the 192 midi files, but will expand
the playlist as time goes on). Every time the page is refreshed or re-entered, a random piece will be played.
New page Fey
(This was almost called The Dolls' Tea Party...)
Added the midi files in downloadable form to each page... Just right-click and save.
Added a pair of images to Fever Dream that had been misplaced.
New page Fever Dream. (The title was inspired by the lurid, psychically sea-sick music that played over the see-
sawing imagery of the remembered kidnap scene in Murder on the Orient Express, which was called to mind
by the two rogue high notes hovering over the unsettlingly placid melody. I attempted to bring the same
unease to the imagery. Be sure to hover over each image for the one behind...)
New page Extremadura
(Brooding guitar presides over rugged Spanish landscape, Moorish ruins, and dramatic lighting.)
New page Exhibit A
(Harp madness: from a cloud of unknowing, the "truth" gradually emerges.)
New page Entre Nous
(It's just between us...)
New page Ennead
(One of the more self-assured sounds that emerged: a sonic perfect circle.)
Home and Sounds pages reorganized so navigation bar is same place every page.
Min files loaded to Min files page!!!