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Bob Belden: Jazz Adventurer

By Published: January 28, 2013
AAJ: Any follow-up to the excellent Miles from India or Miles Español?

BB: Transparent Heart is a follow-up to those recordings.

AAJ: What other projects do you have coming up?

BB: I can only focus on Animation. The word "project" implies a procedure. I prefer to create adventures. I have done so many "projects" that they have no meaning to me anymore. Most offers I get these days are from desperate musicians who realize that they have no career, no rationale for living and have no ideas of their own so they try to con me into coming up with some fantastic ideas for a mega-project but when you start talking costs, suddenly the wind appears. It does illustrate that musicians are more con artist than artist, and it goes from a mediocre tenor saxophonist from Kansas to a college professor at a conservatory. And this shows up in the music. The sound of connivance. Deception. Avarice.

I have a lot of adventures in the works but too abstract to discuss. After all, who really wants to hear about gravitational physics and surround sound?

Selected Discography

Animation, Transparent Heart (RareNoise, 2012)

Animation, Agemo (RareNoise, 2012)

Animation, Asiento (RareNoise, 2011)

Various Artists, Miles Español: New Sketches From Spain (Entertainment One, 2011)

Various Artists, Miles from India (Times Square, 2008)

Bob Belden, Black Dahlia (Blue Note, 2001)

Tim Hagans & Bob Belden, Re: Animation Live! (Blue Note, 1999)

Tim Hagans, Animation: Imagination (Blue Note, 1999)

Bob Belden, Treasure Island (Sunnyside, 1996)

Bob Belden, Strawberry Fields (Blue Note, 1996)

Bob Belden, When the Doves Cry: The Music of Prince (Blue Note, 1994)

Bob Belden, PrinceJazz (EMI Japan, 1993)

Bob Belden, Turandot (Blue Note, 1992)

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Bob Belden
Bob Belden
Bob Belden

[Addendum: For those really do want to hear about gravitational physics and surround sound:

First, you have to create an analog using the light spectrum and then measure the effects of light in a particular gravitational field and create a program to do the same to a sine wave. A beam of light is the analog to a pure sine wave. If gravity distorts the mass of light then a sine wave can be distorted as well. This is a summation of gravity and light as an analog to sound.

There are a couple of options. Let me explain the light thing, You remember those coordinate systems they drew in math class? Basically picture space as a bunch of little cubes all the same size stacked up filling the room. This is "normal" space. Gravity doesn't actually bend light. It bends space. The light still travels in a straight line, but since space is now curved, its path appears curved.

OK, to envision this, look at our room full of cubes from the side, and we have a wall of squares. Say in the middle of the wall, on the floor, we put an object having gravity. The lines bend. It doesn't matter which way they bend, for simplicity we're going to say the former vertical lines all get their tails pulled to the object. You now have a series of rays, radiating in a cone from the object. The horizontal lines bend too. So your former squares are now the cone with a series of arcs where the horizontal lines were.

Want your brain to really hurt? Picture this shit in 3-D. Whew. Never knew bending space could be so tuff. Now imagine a line. In original space it might go from x=1, y=2, x=2, y=2, x=3, y=2 etc. You have a straight line 2 squares up marching to the right one square at a time. Now imagine this in our curved space. With the same coordinates, you get not a line, but a curve along one of the horizontal arcs, because the reference points have moved.

Now here's the cool part. All of our little cubes, no matter how distorted, have the same amount of space in 'em. It's just more dense. And therein lies our solution. Another way to think of it is the speed of light varies with the density of the medium, which is true. It's slower in denser media.

Now lets go to sound. Sound isn't just a sine wave, it is the summation of many harmonics (sine waves) and produces a wave front expanding in an exponential cone. Don't worry about the exponential, it's just a cone. However, with a sound wave, just like light, the speed varies with density. When they calculate Mach number for an aircraft (hence the speed of sound) they have to take density, humidity, temperature and a lot of other shit into consideration.

So in order to bend the wave, the wave front has to go through a medium with a continually varying density from one side to the other. The wave will "bend" toward the side with the least density.

I can think of 4 possible ways to do this.

1-Plexiglas (or other substance) with varying continual density to which a transducer is attached. (Bigger the difference greater the bend, but that applies to all of these.)

2-Air chamber with ports or some other way to vary the temperature continuously from cold to warmer from side to side.]

3-Series of sound points from one side to another with an infinitesimally small delay between each, to which the same signal is fed. First signal reaches target before next, etc., providing same effect as a bent wave front. If this works, it's probably the most technically do-able.

4-Spinning centrifuge. Air on outside wall will be more dense than air on inside wall.

To illustrate the last one, take a helium balloon and go for a ride in your car. Let the balloon float in the middle of the car, widows up of course. Go around a sharp smooth curve. The air in the car becomes more dense on the outside of the turn, and the balloon will float to the inside radius of the turn. It's counterintuitive. (Special thanks to Elliot Baker at the DoD.)]

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