Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Musical Creation

I like to create and perform music, and my latest album, Paroxysms of Indifference, is now available for free download on (just click the icon on the right). Paroxysms follows 'Elementary' with the Parisian “Baskervilles Blues Band” (1994) and the Johnson’s Jump (2004) piano improvisation compilation.

The tracks on Paroxysms were recorded between about 2005 (I think) and last week.
Here's a description:

Tripped Hop (electronic): Was supposed to be inspired by Massive Attack’s Trip Hop style but somehow strayed from the straight and narrow.

Three Jolly Boys (Traditional English folk, Acapella): Bit of fun about women and drink but delivered too straight laced (rather angelically).

Reverie in White, Black, Blue: Dreamy improvised piano with white, black and blue themes.

Okavango (electronic): The Okavango delta in Botswana every year undergoes a remarkable river swelling, bringing life with it. You can here the flooding river towards the end.

Light on a Faraway Shore (Orchestral): Inspired by a night-time sailing approach to Milford Haven when I was 13. The bell represents the light and you can hear the yacht lolling, rain arriving with an increased swell and yawing, then, as the rain stops, the boat continues to approach the shore slowly.

Lac du Plan Viannay (Improv Piano): A remote, high lake in the Parc des Ecrins.

Fion: (Acapella). Traditional Gaelic Song. Yes, I’m singing all the parts! (Duh!... no, not all at once)

Paroxysms of Indifference (electronic): Title refers to the critical acclaim this album is sure to generate. Towards the end gets a bit Stravinsky-esque with the dissonance.

Song of the Wandering Aengus: W.B Yeats’ poem about the Irish mythological figure, set to music. Only track with acoustic guitar in.

Recording details: All music and vocals for all tracks performed arranged mixed etc by JCS. All tracks also composed by JCS except for the traditional vocal numbers and ‘Aengus’ for which the lyrics were by Yeats and the melody by D. Leitch. Software: Cakewalk, Garage Band. Light on a Faraway Shore was written using Finale Print Music and was the programmed straight into the computer using a software synthesizer. It was thus only piece not ‘performed’ using a musical instrument. MIDI-free.

Instruments: Keyboard: Yamaha Motif, Guitar: Guild acoustic with rotten strings, Piano: Kawai Grand (bass A flat slightly out of tune).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How to Win a Nobel Prize in Physics

Andre Geim : "You put [sticky tape] on graphite or mica and peel the top layer. There are flakes of graphite that come off on your tape. Then you fold the tape in half and stick it to the flakes on top and split them again. And you repeat this procedure 10 or 20 times. Each time, the flakes split into thinner and thinner flakes. At the end you're left with very thin flakes attached to your tape."

Aha! That's all it takes, then. Maybe we should quit messing around with supercomputers and pulsed neutron sources....?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Powerful Supercomputer Peers into the "Origin of Life"

ORNL has just released this press article on our research into a ribozyme, performed by Tomasz Berezniak together with Mai Zahran, Petra Imhof and Andres Jaeschke and myself. The UT Kraken supercomputer bore the brunt of the load for these calculations. The work was published in this article. Ribozymes (catalytic RNAs) were the center of a presumed RNA world at the early origins of life.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Drug Discovery Research at Oak Ridge

Well, I've been involved to some extent in human health research for a while, including participating in research suggesting a common pharmacophoric footprint for AIDS vaccine design and in helping design experimental methods for detecting single tumour marker molecules in serum.

Now we appear to be on the road to working with Milton Brown and his colleagues at Georgetown University in prostate cancer research, as part of a new NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award center. Milton heads the Drug Discovery Center at Georgetown Medical School. The idea here is to use Oak Ridge's supercomputers to help design molecules of potential therapeutic use. Jerome Baudry will play a leading role in this research from our side. I'm kind of excited about what might happen.....