B&W magic (part II): African wildlife

This is Part II of the series on Black & White (B&W) photography, here showing a few images of African wildlife taken during a trip through the Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa, in November 2015. It is really amazing how well some images of large animals in the wild lend themselves to B&W conversions, adding drama and a sense of intimacy at the same time. As before, these are all monochromatic renderings of digital photography files rendered in Lightroom applying the Silver Efex Pro 2 plugin from the Nik collection.

Circadian rhythms

Presentation Speech by Professor Carlos Ibáñez, Member of the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute, Member of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, 10 December 2017

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Esteemed Nobel Laureates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Phileas Fogg, the main character in Jules Verne’s acclaimed novel Around the World in Eighty Days, could not have suffered from jet-lag during his trip, despite crossing multiple time zones. His body had plenty of time – more than 3 days per time zone – to get adjusted to the time differences encountered along his journey. Today, in the era of jet travel, we can cross several time zones in only a few hours; but our bodies suffer, as they struggle to adapt to the new time at our destination. Many of our foreign guests this evening are surely experiencing this now. Why can’t our physiology adapt more rapidly? What keeps it behind? Read more...

B&W magic (part I): People

Kicking off a new series on Black & White (B&W) photography. More accurately, these will be monochromatic renderings of digital photography files. When and  how do we decide whether a photograph will look better in B&W? Is it possible to imagine a B&W composition before pressing the shutter? There are a milliard ways to render a color file into a monochromatic image. Contrast, balance, structure, grain texture. Darker reds? Lighter greens? Sepia for a vintage effect? In these series, we will use Canon files rendered in Lightroom. In most cases, the (now free) Silver Efex Pro 2 plugin from the Nik collection was applied. Part I of the B&W series is about People. Read more...

Chromatographies vol. 1

Chromatographies is the new jazz and ambient guitar project of Carlos Ibanez.

The Chromatographies project consists of solo guitar performances that alternate improvised guitar meditations with jazz guitar pieces. As in a live performance, each volume is arranged as a continuous suite of single track recordings, and all sounds and effects are made in real-time using stomp boxes.

The first volume includes improvised compositions by Carlos Ibanez and renderings of pieces by Bill Connors, Victor Young, Charles Mingus and Ralph Towner.

Volume 1 has just been released at the Bandcamp website. The free download includes a digital booklet. There are also CDs available upon request. Read more...

Blue beauty

Here it is our new Gibson Les Paul Standard HP 2017. A solid body electric guitar packed with features to achieve that great classic humbucker  tone.

We have just used this blue beauty to record a few pieces in volume 1 of the brand-new “Chromatographies” project which has just been released at the Bandcamp website.

But more on that in a later post. In the meantime, here is a sample of some of the sounds we have got from this incredible guitar, a track called “Overload”.

New guitar pedalboard

It took time, but our new guitar pedalboard is here! The board itself is a Trio28 from Temple Audio Design fitted with an IEC AC Mains Micro Module (left) and a 4-way Jack Patch Module (right), all from Temple Audio Design.

As far as the pedals are concerned, from upper left clock-wise:

  1. Triple custom pedal from JAM Pedals:
    • DelayLlama + (analog delay)
    • WaterFall (chorus)
    • TubeDreamer+ (overdrive)
  2. GOO Limited Edition designed by Nels Cline from ToneConcepts (distortion)
  3. Mel9 from Electro-Harmonix (mellotron)
  4. Mini EGO from Wampler (compressor)
  5. DVP4 Volume X Mini Pedal from Dunlop (volume and expression)
  6. Mini Modular Switcher Ver. 2 from LoopSwitchers (volume pedal switcher)
  7. SneakAttack from Malekko Heavy Industries (attack/decay envelope modulator and tremolo)
  8. Lil Buddy from Malekko Heavy Industries (tap switch for SneakAttack)
  9. DIG from Strymon (stereo dual digital delay)
  10. BlueSky from Strymon (stereo reverberator)
  11. DittoX4 from TC Electronic (stereo dual looper)

The signal chain is as follows: MiniEGO → Mel9 → SneakAttack → TubeScreamer+ → GOO → Volume X Mini → WaterFall → DelayLlama → DIG (stereo) → BlueSky (stereo) → DittoX4 (stereo). The board is powered with a DC10 from CIOKS, fitted on the under side of the board (underneath the GOO). The AUX output  of the DVP4  (loose plug in the picture above) can be connected to the EXP input of the DIG. The switcher is used to by-pass the volume pedal, allowing it to function as expression control. The stereo output of the  DittoX4 goes to the 4-way Jack Patch Module (right). The right channel is connected to our trusty CUBE 80GX from Roland, while the left channel goes into our brand-new Fender Blues Junior III Woody Tequila Limited Edition. But that is the stuff of a separate post… Read more...

Pedal frenzy (Part III): blueSky from Strymon

Another guitar effect pedal making its way into our pedal board, this is the blueSky reverberator from Strymon. To say that it’s absolutely stunning would be an understatement. Lush, gorgeous reverb that can go to infinity.

Here a small sample introducing  the “mod” mode with infinite reverb morphing into Mingus’ Goodbye Pork Pie Hat and a crazy looped overdrive.

Pedal frenzy (Part II): Sneak Attack from Malekko

Here is our newest guitar effect pedal, the Sneak Attack from Malekko Heavy Industries.

Sneak Attack is an auto-swell volume pedal that can also be manually triggered or used in a tremolo mode. The core of the pedal is an Attack/Decay envelope generator with separate length and curve controls for both the attack and decay segments. The envelope can be triggered or cycled in several ways using the input signal, built in footswitch, Lil’ Buddy footswitch or external clock/click track.

This is unlike any effect pedal in that it does not change the sound of your guitar, but the shape of the sound form. A crazy little sound machine with huge possibilities that we will be digging deeply. Read more...

Making science (part XIV): Journal Syndrome

The other day, I run into O.A., one of my former students who is now a  research group leader. O.A. is not the type that  lacks self-confidence, and although having a bit of a lazy attitude, he has some good ideas and a good feel for where the money is. I asked him how his research was going. He responded with a tepid smile, as if to indicate that I had asked the right question: “Very good. Next week I have a paper coming out in Nature, although I am only second last author in that one. I published a paper in EMBO Journal jus a few weeks ago. And we have also made some very interesting observations which will likely lead to a paper in a high-impact journal! Read more...

Science, Jazz, Photography