The Bells of Europe

Cathedral Bell

Many years ago my brother Houston told me about a radio documentary entitled “The Bells of Europe,” which came out in 1973. Houston liked it so much that he ordered a cassette tape of the show, which I listened to, as well. It was an excellent show that documented the history of the bells of the cathedrals of Europe, from their creation to the destruction of many to build cannons for war.

The drama was the creation of Peter Leonhard Braun, a German radio pioneer. Braun’s intent was take radio outside of the studio. With audio recording equipment improving and becoming more portable, Braun wanted to explore the possibilities of creating audio documentaries on-site, and the Bells of Europe was the first of these documentaries.

Continue reading “The Bells of Europe”

Farewell Spock

Yesterday the world learned of the death of Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame. As you might imagine, there has already been a tremendous amount of eulogizing about a beloved character, actor, and human being. I don’t intend to repeat that, or post yet another image of the funeral scene from Wrath of … Continue reading Farewell Spock

Lost Roddenberry

gene-roddenberry-star-trek-birthday
Gene Roddenberry

Quick, let’s play a game. What do the following actors have in common?

All-Bonds

OK, that one was probably too easy. Each of these actors played a character named James Bond.

How about another one? What do all these characters have in common?

Batmen

Right, that one was too easy, too. All of these actors played Batman at one time or another.

Now let’s make it a bit harder. What about these actors? They have something similar in common.

DylanHunt

If I told you that the three actors above are Alex Cord, John Saxon, and Kevin Sorbo, would that help? (And, no, they didn’t all play Hercules.) OK, I’ll tell you. All three of these played a character named Dylan Hunt. More on that a bit later.

Here’s one last one. These three also have something in common. Two should be very recognizable.

Data_Questor_Spock

The inclusion of Leonard Nimoy and Brent Spiner in the last set might make you think Star Trek. (Well, that, and the title of the post) But who’s this third guy? It turns out that all of the actors in those last two sets have been involved with projects created by legendary Gene Roddenberry. As Dwight and I were working on our list of science fictions predictions we started talking about Roddenberry projects, and Dwight suggested a blog post on Lost Roddenberry. So, here it goes… Continue reading “Lost Roddenberry”

More Moog

moog_promo-bob-moog
Bob Moog with His Moog Synthesizers

Ken Cothran was very indulgent. He waited patiently as I tried out all of the gear in the Moog showroom. After our Moog Adventure we were having a discussion on Facebook, and he confessed that most of what he had heard sounded like noise, and he wasn’t sure how such an instrument would be used in composition. Ken wasn’t criticizing the instrument, but just didn’t have the background with it.

I explained that for the most part at the Moog Store they were just putting the instrument through its paces, demonstrating the the types of sounds it could create. This would be similar to running a few scales on a chosen instrument. The Moogs are monophonic, and are meant to be part of a toolbox of instruments, which would include multi-track recorders and sequencers.

As I was trying to come up with a good example of how these instruments could be used (Monophonic Moogs specifically, as opposed to modern polyphonic digital keyboards), the first thing that came to mind was the classic – Switched on Bach, by Wendy Carlos.

Switched-On_Bach_first_sleeve_(seated_Bach) Continue reading “More Moog”

The Phantom of Genevieve’s

Phantom of the Opera Program
Photo by Carin Perretta

Continuing the impossibly busy weekend…

Today we had friends drop by for a visit. We were happy to have Steve and Linda Serkiz come by for coffee. I hadn’t seen them in years. I was at Furman with both of them, and Steve was in one of Laura’s first classes that she taught there. Steve is now down at the Savannah River Site as a research scientist, doing some very cool things with carbon nano tubes and other nano technology. I may have to wrangle a visit so that I can get a closer look at Ellenton and some of the other SRS ghost town sites.

In the evening I was supposed to be two places at once. I was SUPPOSED to be singing the National Anthem at the Greenville Drive game with the Greenville Chorale. However, the opportunity to attend Phantom of the Opera at the Peace Center came up, and we opted for that instead. Continue reading “The Phantom of Genevieve’s”

Altered RPMs

This conversation started on Facebook, and the results were entertaining enough that I thought I would summarize it here. If you’ve already read it and commented there, then just skip this post.

It all started when a friend directed me to a site that had a slowed down version of Dolly Parton’s hit “Jolene.” It was as if someone had taken the 45 single and played it at 33 1/3 RPMs on a turntable. The result was a slow, haunting version that sounds amazing.

I reposted this on my Facebook timeline and got lots of comments. One commenter doubted the veracity of the record, and thought that it had been faked. I suggested taking the original audio file and importing it into Audacity, then slowing it down by 27% digitally. Rather than wait, I decided to do it myself. Continue reading “Altered RPMs”

Taylors Renaissance Revisited

Red Chair 2

Last week I visited a new coffee shop in the old Southern Bleachery Mills in Taylors. This week I noticed that they were going to have live music Friday night, and that the artist studios I had seen on that last visit would be open for First Friday. After dinner in Greer, Laura and I decided to check it out.

At first she was quite skeptical. I took the back way, following Chick Springs Road from Greer into Taylors. It worked perfectly, but Laura had no clue where we were going. Her skepticism increased when I drove onto the old mill property. However, when she saw all the cars and activity, that skepticism diminished.

Due South Coffee was hopping. They had opened two of the large garage doors leading into their space, and we could hear the music all over the parking lot. However, we decided to check out the art studios first. Continue reading “Taylors Renaissance Revisited”