Beautiful sound of the Cristal Baschet

A video of the rare Cristal Baschet instrument. It’s apparently based on lab equipment of the 19th century, but reworked into a musical instrument. The idea is that you rub glass rods and the vibration is transferred to metal rods and blocks. Here there’s also amplifying cones. Easier seen and heard than described:

Marc Chouarain presents the Cristal Baschet (Rare Instruments)

Not really a portable or even easily giggable device but very expressive and produces lovely tones. More info here: https://www.thomasbloch.net/en_cristal-baschet.html

Something somewhat similar in VST-land is GlassWorks by Sonic Couture here.
It’s a glass harp rather than a Cristel Baschet, although in any case, it’s software. Haven’t used it myself but the demo sounds good and SonicCouture is well regarded, although it a bit pricey at $189. It was released in 2012.

Glass/Works – Product Tour and Preset Preview

Two rocket hops, a launch and a fail

It’s amazing what a little competition will do. After the following SpaceX gets online for its onboard video, United Launch Alliance (ULA) has started providing onboard launch video too with the Atlas V AEHF-5. It’s not quite up to SpaceX standards, but better than nothing (the video clears up after about a minute):

Rocket Cam: Atlas V AEHF-5

Of course we all know the most spectacular part is the landing, but we’ll have to wait a while before ULA catches up with that.

The ESA as usual lag far behind. Their recent launch failure with an Vega showed just how terrible their launch video is. Instead of actual footage we got an amateurish animation showing everything was just fine. A graph in the upper right clearly shows the rocket off from its nominal track, yet the commentator blithely prattles on. In reality the vehicle had disintegrated. And for laughs turn on the English subtitles:

Ariane Rocket Failure! Vega Lost

Meanwhile the Chinese are experimenting with reusable rockets and demonstrated a Grasshopper-like ‘hop’ recently:

Chinese space startup launches reusable rocket reaching new heights

It’s a long way from that to landing a medium-lift orbital-class booster.

SpaceX are now testing their next-gen rocket – which keeps changing name. Personally I liked the original “Mars Colonial Transporter”, or even the BFR (Big Falcon Rocket or Big F***ing Rocket), but Starship is OK. This test was really just a test of a single Raptor engine and a stainless steel fuel tank called “Starhopper”, but looked good nonetheless. I loved the 1950s vibe from the polished metal and sleek fins:

150 Meter Starhopper Test

Full audio from the Apollo 11 mission

Everyone knows the famous few soundbites from the Apollo 11 mission. Frankly they’ve been flogged almost to the point of exhaustion. But sometimes some of the most interesting soundbites and passages aren’t the famous ones. Thanks to youtube poster Lunarmodule5 we can listen to the entire mission: 50+ hours as well as the famous Kennedy exhortation and the pre-flight press conference. So sit back, cue up the playlist, and enjoy the mission playing in the background over days. You get a real feel for the times. It also makes for fantastic ambience.

Apollo 11 Pre-Flight Press Conference (Full Mission)

Apollo 11 – Day 1 (Full Mission)

Apollo 11 – Day 2 (Full Mission)

Apollo 11- Day 3 (Full Mission)

Apollo 11 – Day 4 (Full Mission)

Apollo 11 – Day 5 (Full Mission)

Apollo 11 – Day 6 (Full Mission)

Apollo 11 – Day 7 (Full Mission)

Apollo 11 – Day 8 Part 1 (Full Mission)

Apollo 11 – Day 8 Part 2 (Full Mission)

Music from the electromagnetic ether

Vlad Kreimer is an engineer, scientist and inventor now based in Moscow. He is also the man behind SomaSynths.com which builds some extraordinary instruments and audio devices. One of those devices is “Ether”, a pocket-sized device which picks up nearby electromagnetic radiation and amplifies (and presumably frequency-shifts) it into audio signals. After a while on the preorder waiting list I’m happy to say that one of these is now on its way to me. I’ll definitely be posting some examples in the months to come, but for now have a look at the fascinating demo video of Ether:

ETHER by SOMA laboratory

Apollo 11 audio loop

Apollo 11 audio loop

Here’s a link to a fantastic site on the first manned Moon landing. Not only does it give both the air-to-ground and flight director’s loop, it shows who’s speaking and even where they were sitting in the room. I’d love to see an expanded version of this covering hours, but can only imagine how much work it’d be.
The link: https://www.firstmenonthemoon.com/

Humans to Mars Summit – video

Few of us have the time or money available to hang out at interesting symposiums and summits (nice to contemplate such a lifestyle though). Happily these are often streamed. Such was the recent “Humans to Mars” summit held in Washington DC. There was a great variety of speakers and topics. Three marathon 8+ hour videos cover the three days of the event. This sort of thing can be interesting to have running in the background as you work with “cocktail hearing” to alert you when favorite topics come up.
Lots of good material, and thanks to the uploader.
Day one:

The Humans to Mars Summit 2019, Day 1, May 14, 2019

Day two:

The Humans to Mars Summit 2019, Day 2, May 15, 2019

Day three:

The Humans to Mars Summit 2019, Day 3, May 16, 2019

Programming tips for the VST synth ArcSyn

A thread on the synth forum KVR asked “what’s your favorite synth to program” ? It is interesting to stop and contemplate. There’s quite a few synths I really enjoy playing; others that I find I can get satisfying sounds from; some are go-tos for a certain type of sound. Then there are those that are actually fun to program. My answer to the question was ArcSyn by SPC.

In the Soundware section of this site you’ll find some soundsets for ArcSyn, but if you just want to learn the joys of programming this excellent machine then perhaps my video might be of some use.

ArcSyn – programming tips and tricks