August 29, 2016

Over the weekend, I’d completed the reorganisation and sprucing-up of the studio and study. All that remains is or me to hang several artworks over the table areas and test the whole sound system thoroughly for integrity:


I built the new mini-rack and outboard power system, and began putting it through its paces by feeding two contrasting oscillation outputs through the left- and right-hand channels of the system:


Yesterday, having set up the new record player deck, I set my collection of vinyls in order. It had begun in 1963, when I was 4 years old and able to persuade Mam and Dad to buy me the Beatles’ single, Twist and Shout. The LPs represent a fairly one-sided perspective on music in the 1970s and early 80s, chiefly, comprising progressive rock, jazz rock, bebop, folk rock, experimental, and classical albums:


I’d forgotten just how many recordings I’d bought of piano and orchestral works by the American composer Aaron Copland (1900–1990). Compositions such as Our Town and Quiet City, from 1940, recall the paintings of Edward Hopper. (I should write a lecture on the evocation of landscape in music and painting.) Both artists’ work summon a particular time of day, a quality of light, a sparseness, and melancholy that I associate as much with my experience of the South Wales valleys during my youth as with my visits to America’s small towns and major cities:

Early morning, Manhattan, New York, October 11, 2001 (one month after ‘9/11’)

(October 11, 2001. On that day, I visited ‘ground zero’. Ashes were still falling from the sky.)

Those albums have supported me through the turbulence of my teenage years and some of the richest and most elevated, as well as the most forbidding, periods in my life since. Where would I be, who would I be, without music?

6.30 am. Floor exercises. 8.45 am. To business today. To begin, I determined to rescan the pdf version of The Pictorial Bible I booklet. The present rendering has poor tonal contrast on several pages. In conjunction with this task, I mapped the connections between the units that make up the mini-rack. Does channel 1 always correspond to the left-hand channel on all sound equipment? I couldn’t assume so. Therefore, the inputs and outputs of each unit had to be, one by one, tested for consistency.

Afternoon. Testing and pdf-ing continued. My problem is that I cannot distinguish left from right. Therefore, each cable route had to be mapped prior to its execution:


Evening. A bank holiday evening off with the family.

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