Monday, 24 January 2011


Listen to this week's show
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Listen to our piece on Galloway Dark Sky Park:

This week we took a stroll in the woods and had a chat with Keith Muir, who works for Galloway Forest, about the forest, the dark, and the stars. Above is a picture Keith showed us of the sky above galloway. The orange patches round the edge are light pollution from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast, which is pretty incredible when you think about it. The concentration of stars running in a stripe across the middle is the milky way. Sadly the moon was too bright for us to see many stars, but for more information and some good simple constellation maps have a look at the Dark Sky Scotland website.
The forest can be reached from Glasgow on a daytripper ticket which is just over a tenner and will get you there and back by train or bus.
It's nice to leave the city every once in a while.
We saw some deer.
David got lost.
I used my compass.
A brilliant day out for all involved.

Here are some snaps.
A couple more odds and ends:

It seems I was slightly wrong about the techniques used to create the sounds heard in David Tudor's Rainforest. Here is a description of the process from the man himself, and a video of a performance of the piece in Cologne.

"In 1973 I made “Rainforest IV” where the objects that the sounds are sent through are very large so that they have their own presence in space. I mean, they actually sound locally in the space where they are hanging as well as being supplemented by a loudspeaker system.
The idea is that if you send sound through materials, the resonant nodes of the materials are released and those can be picked up by contact microphones or phono cartridges and those have a different kind of sound than the object does when you listen to it very close where it's hanging.
It becomes like a reflection and it makes, I thought, quite a harmonious and beautiful atmosphere, because wherever you move in the room, you have reminiscences of something you have heard at some other point in the space. It's (can be) a large group piece actually, any number of people can participate in it. It's important that each person makes their own sculpture, decides how to program it, and performs it themselves. Very little instruction is necessary for the piece.
I've found it to be almost self-teaching because you discover how to program the devices by seeing what they like to accept. Its been a very rewarding type of activity for me. It's been done by as large a group as 14 people. So that was how our Rainforest was done.” David Tudor

And here is a link to the Galaxy Zoo site, as mentioned on the show. It's a great project that needs the help of the public to classify Galaxies photographed by Hubble. It's a satisfying use of a ten minute break and it's incredible to think that each galaxy you view has probably never been seen before by human eyes.
So pop over and sign up!

Next fortnight's show is all about electricity, and as ever, we welcome your suggestions.

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