22 February 2010

Colours of Infinity

Stephen Ouellette of Bellville, Ontario watched a TV program on fractal geometry, featuring music credited to David Gilmour and Pink Floyd.  "Why was Dave named specifically and not Nick or Rick?"
The show in question was Colours of Infinity hosted by Arthur C. Clark (yes, the same visionary bloke who wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, and also invented the communications satellite).  The show first aired in the UK in 1994 and was a fascinating and comprehensive exploration of the mathematical phenomena known as fractal geometry.  With the aid of high-speed computers, scientists inspired by mentor and fractal guru Benoit Mandelbrot are creating evolving computer models known as the Mandelbrot Set - a graphical swirl of colors and textures which can only be described as truly psychedelic, even by Mr. Clark despite his firm denial of ever using hallucinogenic substances.  The visuals of the Mandelbrot Set reflect a similar resonance to the ones experienced by brave explorers of the mind's eye.  In such, a fractal is a way of seeing infinity where islands of order float in a sea of chaos.

Getting back to the scientific front, the scientist's findings have forever changed the way we perceive the world around us - the basis of which is called Chaos Theory and the Science of Wholeness.  Fractals then are an attempt to understand Chaos Theory which is, in a phrase, a turbulent mirror which reveals nature's unseen complexity where order and disorder co-exist in a fragile harmony.  By using Chaos Theory, scientists from all fields now have a better understanding of global weather, neurological and biological systems, the development of artificial intelligence, and the creation of the galaxies.

Got that?  There will be a test.

Now, to answer your first question.  The music from Colours of Infinity show a remarkable similarity to Dave's music in another show, "Ruby Wax Goes To California (1991)", right down to the psychedelic guitar style and Rick's moody French horn emulations.  There is also a bit of the La Carerra Panamericana type of road-traveling blues, as well as a hint of acoustic guitar flourishes as heard in High Hopes.  So as a whole, not too original or surprising, but quite exuberant in an ambient sense at the same time.  Really, this is the kind of stuff the Floyd can spin in their sleep.  As far as Dave's name and the name Pink Floyd being credited separately, the answer becomes obvious from the musical analysis above.  A great deal of recycling, remixing, and editing was conducted on previously existing music in order to adapt it for Colours of Infinity.  Also, Dave did lay down a bit of newly composed music at the time of the show's production in 1993 to 1994, running concurrently with the recording and production of the Division Bell.

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