‘New’ album: 88 in the Shade


88 in the Shade‘ is the reconstruction of an imaginary album that might have been released in 1988, the year in which all of the songs on the album were recorded. After so many years it is difficult to analyse why none of these songs saw the light of day as they were recorded or earlier in time. But fact is, none of these songs, except for the short instrumental “Drive” were ever released before. “Drive” was included on the 2004 compilation album “Almost Lost“.

So now, almost 3 decades later and after a process of carefully digitzing, mixing and mastering  “88 In The Shade” was recreated, a full length album with songs the world did not hear before.

Looking back it is to be noticed that after the recordings for the “2” album in the second half of 1987 there were a dazzling amount of ideas floating around, contributing to a strange and broad range in styles, moods and variety of the songs on this album. In some ways maybe even reminiscent  of the Beatles’ “White Album”  that was released 20 years earlier. “88 In The Shade” only represents a small segment of the recorded material during that period. Ewald’s attention and focus of composing and recording music had already turned to instrumental music for audiovisual productions. The ‘regular’ songs became less important, maybe contributing to the fact that none of these songs were released before.

The album opens with “As Years pass By” an introspective, dreamy song with semi-intellectual lyrics before the listener is abruptly pushed into  a completely different atmosphere, a raunchy rock ’n roll song with the introduction of the “Johnny Struggle” character, someone operating on the self side of society and according to the vocalist in dire need of a relationship.
Then after the rather abrupt ending, there is another mood with the very Lennon-esque track, “Dandelion” fading into sound effects before the funky “Kiss Me” starts, with some of Ewald’s most explicit lyrics.
Drive” is a short instrumental with a plethora of styles and mood swings.
Stay” is beautifully melodic and pleasing, another songs with Beatlesque influences, while the following track “Irene” is certainly one of the album’s highlights and delights, with its historical setting telling the story of a local witch hunting crowd obstructing the relationship between a man and woman.
Another song clearly inspired by British 60s and 70s pop is “Of All The Things”. The next song introduces yet another style, reggae, with the track “In My Place”. The relaxed mood and low timbre vocals result in a pleasant effect.
In My Place” is followed by one of the few tracks that clearly show contemporary 1988 influences: “Bizarre”. The hard and prominent beat might give the listener in the mid 2010’s a somewhat uneasy feel, yet the sampled and a heavy electronic drum sound give the song its defining edge and the melodic character is still there.
After ‘Bizarre’ the listener is lured into the album’s final, the 9 minutes running epic piece: “A Miracle”, closing the album. The song starts out as a catchy pop tune dealing with the “mystery of life” passing all kind of different styles until the songs ends in a long fade out where the music gradually disappear into nature, symbolising life and nature are indispensably connected: old life fades into nature to make way for new life.

Compared to its predecessor “2” this album contains a lot of technical novelties. Except for “A Miracle’  all tracks were still recorded onto 4 tracks, but ‘bouncing’ had practically disappeared as a broad range of musical instruments allowed for the music to directly be recorded to a stereo track tape and the other tracks on tape could be used for vocals, sound effects and guitar. Originally the tracks wete recorded to a Tascam 246 recorder. The exception being “A Miracle” that was recorded to 8 tracks (using the Tascam 238). The instruments on this recording were: Yamaha DX7, TX7, TX802, Roland MKS-100 and the Alesis HR-16 that had replaced the Roland TR-707.

Listen to the album on Spotify.

or buy the album on iTunes.

Original EP cassette versus 2015 album cover

New release: “2” the 1987 EP extended, remixed and remastered

In 1987 an EP  with 4 songs was released, “Ewald Kegel 2”. It was released on cassette and the EP was the follow up to the initial 1986 mini album “The Right Way”.

The original “2” EP contained 4 songs “When Words Get in The Way”, “Wild Girl”, “1974”  and the cover of Tim Hardin’s classic “Red Balloon”. Releasing the 4-track EP meant a departure from an earlier idea to release a full fledged album with songs that were recorded during autumn/ winter of 1987.

Some 28 years later the original idea for an album comes alive again. “2” is now a 30 minute sound experience that contains a broad range of styles. There are ballads (“When Words Get in The Way”), Beatles oriented psychedelic pop (“Good Day Friends”) and 1987 contemporary influences like Prince (“Pretty Little One” and “Don’t Wave Goodbye”). The central song of the original EP and the 2015 album remains without any doubt “Wild Girl”. The track is disco oriented and uses extensively new recording technology that arrived in the mid-80s. It was composed and recorded with an Atari 1024STf computer running Steinberg Pro-24 software. The sampled voices on the song come from another technology that arrived by the mid-80s, sampling. In this particular example the Roland MKS-100 sampler was used.

The songs on the album represent the original music and tracks as recorded in 1987: no additional instruments were recorded or added. The songs were digitally transfered from their original 4-track recordings (Tascam 246) to a 2015 digital DAW and from there remixed and remastered using software like Klangheim MJUC Compressor, Waves V-Compressor, Q equalizer, L2, S1, H-Delay, Kazrog KClip and Native Instruments Passiv EQ.

The track listing of the album is as follows:

Good Day Friends
When Words Get in The Way
Wild Girl
Red Balloon
Don’t Wave Goodbye
Dynamic & Velocity
Home with You by Christmas

You can listen to it on SoundCloud:

or listen to it through YouTube:

The total running time of the album is around 30 minutes. The album marks a shift in sound and recording with the introduction of the computer as a DAW (digital audio workstation) and the use of sampling.

“2” will be available soon on YouTube and Soundcloud as an album stream and the individual tracks will be made available for regular download or streaming through regular online music channels like Apple Music and Amazon.

Papyrus of Jesus' Wife fragment

Was Jesus married?

Last week a small news item caught my attention that stated “Jesus was married“. As often with these type of articles, the main purpose of the headline was to attract the attention of the reader. The item referred to a small piece of papyrus that had been announced by professor Karen L. King in 2012 and used in a publication by her in 2014. The publication sparkled controversy and heated arguments until this day regarding whether the piece of papyrus, dubbed ‘GJW’ (Gospel of Jesus’ Wife) is a forgery. Intensive scientific testing followed and concluded that the piece was indeed ancient.

Nevertheless the claims of forgery remained persistent and in an issue of the New Testament Studies (vol. 61, no. 3, July 2015) an union of researchers explain why GJW can not be accepted as a genuine early Christian text. For what it is worth, King and her researchers date the text to the sixth to ninth century CE, so it is not to be considered that early anyway, taking in account the text dates from 600 to 900 years after the actual events (the life of Jesus).

The text of GJW is in Coptic and contains a phrase where he says ‘my wife’ and speaks about a female disciple. A Wikipedia article contains the whole text of the fragment as well as further information about the piece of papyrus.

Aside from whether the piece of text is or is not a forgery, there were claims made by King that would lead to the disaster that has happened (the dismise of papyrology, the reputation of a Harvard professor). Naming the fragment ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ was a nice way to catch attention of a larger audience, but the claim of the piece of papyrus representing a larger body of work comparable to other known gospels is uncalled for. If the snippet is authentic it is way too small to put a claim of a gospel to it. Prof. King should have known better: any text related to early christianity, be it the ‘official’ canon of the New Testament, let alone the apocryphal texts, like the Gospel of Thomas, are the products of countless revisions, translations and interpretations.

Only through carefully comparing sources like the four canonical Gospels (that share a similar sequence of events) from the New Testament one can make assumptions (not draw conclusions) about a historical Jesus and the embryonic stage of what eventually would become the religion of Christianity. Everything beyond that is pure speculation and has nothing to do with praticing science. Text fragments, like the one discovered at best are interesting from a perspective to learn about the evolution of Christianity and its teachings and how the moral idiom  evolved over the centuries. Claims to give new insight to the life of Jesus are simply uncalled for. Maybe prof. King was out there to pt new life into her interest for ‘gender studies’   as her biography on the Harvard website presents.

Den Haag,

29 August 2015
revised: 5 september 2015


VHS tape

Mixing to VHS HiFi tape

Once upon a time….

In the 80’s only a limited number of possibilities were available to mix and then ‘print’ your songs in a professional way. In the beginning when I recorded on 4 tracks (cassette) there was only the option to mix down the final mix to another cassette. But later in the 80’s I became aware of another method to mixing and printing the music and that was by using a HiFi VHS recorder using a high quality VHS tape. This required a special recorder that was able to record the music with a high signal-ratio level. Yet the mixing process could be quite troublesome. You had to leave some space on the tape before you actually started to record to get the best quality and there could be random drop outs, crackles and noise bursts.

Through 1987 until 1989 it would be my preferred method of mixing down music. Recently I acquired a HiFi VHS recorder that enabled me to listen back to  these old mixes. I was glad to find that they actually quite well stood the test of time. although in some cases there were the above mentioned anomalies. The other surprise was that I rediscovered music that I  considered to be lost or simply forget about. For example I knew I recorded a tune called Bewildered in Fantasy  around 1986 and on one of the VHS tapes I found it.

This song was originally recorded on a 4-track Fostex X-15 recorder, that produced a real compressed (nice, I think) sound. The amount of music I found back on these VHS tapes is quite overwhelming (ca. 2 hours of music).

In a later period, when I already had started working with a computer (Atari ST) and had acquired a number of external synths I mixed down the music directly from the mixing desk to VHS tape. An example of this is the song Seagull For a Day that most likely was recorded in 1989. The quality I quite astonishing for a tape that was not used for over 25 years.

Around 1990 the ‘VHS era’ ended when I switched to DAT tape. That enabled me to mix  (and later on master) the music to CD quality (44.1 KHz sample rate) and most of all, the recordings on tape were very reliable. The songs on DAT tapes were automatically recognised so you could jump from track to track or search directly for a certain track. It was in the second half of the 90’s that I would start a technique called ‘bouncing’ which basically means that the music ‘stays’ in the computer: the mix or master is directly becoming an audio file and this technique I still use until today.

The most interesting tracks that I found on VHS tape I will remix and master. Because of the impressive number of tracks it will keep me busy for some time to come and I will post regularly the results on SoundCloud.

For more information on VHS mixing and mastering I suggest you reading this:



Review: G.E.R. Lloyd – The Ambitions of Curiosity (2002)

51R4x1qUr3L._AA160_As part of my graduation master exam I will discuss with my lecturer this book. As I always had a keen interest for the history of science, the lecturer suggested ‘The Ambitions of Curiosity’ by the English author and expert on ancient history of science, G.E.R. Lloyd. The work was introduced to me as ‘not too thick (app. 150 pages), but much food for thought’.

In ‘The Ambitions of Curiosity’ Lloyd explores how ‘systematic inquiry’ took off in the ancient societies like Greece, Mesopotamia (Babylon) and China. According to Lloyd systematic inquiry was part of a process that sought to understand, foresee, explain and control. Mostly were the persons of interest in these process steps rulers (kings, princes, tyrants) who employed people who had the talents to master these subjects.

Lloyd discriminates four themes through which he unfolds his arguments:

  1. the results of systematic inquiry could have unknown results that might a pose a risk for the investigator (his life could literally be at stake),
  2. time behaved in a different pace for the human versus the divine: it could lead to tension between human cognitive abilities versus society specific manifestations,
  3. myths played an important part in ancient history and those myths were used for creating rules to which people lived by, but those myths were often opposite to the results of analysis after systematic inquiry,
  4. the aspect of criticism that was different between oral and written form.

In the first chapter Lloyd deals with the historical writings of the Chinese and Greeks. The most important Chinese writing was the Shiji. A taishi had different roles when recording the events. He could be an astronomer, historiographer or have another role. The emperor was the mediator between the heavens and earth. The Chinese writers were state employed and their main role was to advise the emperor. That made it often difficult for them to manoeuvre between the results of their inquiries and the purpose of staying beloved by the emperor, ultimately it meant that their work was aimed to continue a status quo and there was little room for competitiveness.
Greek historians had different challenges. Their practicing of history did not bring an official post with it and were not mainly court to their rulers but had to impress a peer group or the citizens. Contrary to the Chinese there was no integral work like Shiji, Zhouzouan or The Annals. In the works of for example Thucydides he made it clear what in his opinion was good history writing and in that he rejected certain accounts of archaeology.

The second chapter turns attention to the future and the ability to predict things. Lloyd’s proposal is that the hope of being able to foretell the future was a powerful incentive to analysis and experiment, so it certainly not (only) had a negative influence on inquiry. In China if predictions did not come true that was because of a king’s virtue.
The most obvious example of the evolution from predicting to systematic inquiry were the astronomers in Babylon. The study of heavens (astronomy) resulted in data that needed to be systemised and a field of study took off because of the complexity of the data involved. Over time the predictions became more predictable due to the systematic inquiry and instead of the focus on predictions the heavenly objects themselves became the subject of study. Astronomy was not the only field of study, predictions were also practiced in the field of medicine and in Greece could involve animals and dreams, though Hippocrates already distinguished divination and medicine. Astronomy in Greece relied heavily on the use of geometrical study, stemming from the desire to explain in the perfectness of geometrical objects.  In Babylon and China the study was based on an arithmetical approach and in that respect also more successful.

Chapter 3 is dedicated to the subject of mathematics. To Lloyd the presumption that mathematics is an invariant science is  not true. Mathematics were practiced in very different ways. In Greece the belief in geometrical symmetry was applied in fields like optics, harmonics and astronomy. An interesting episode follows when Lloyd discusses how in Greece numbers were counted with characters from the alphabet that enabled to express everything in numbers (Pythagorean belief). In some circles it was believed that numbers could have special and religious meanings, though Aristotle opposed that there was such a connection. The Chinese developed their yin yang opposites that could have a broader context than the more restricted Greek variant (Pythagorean Table of Opposites).

In chapter 4 Lloyd looks at the more practical relation between the results of systematic inquiry and its appliance in day-to-day use. Lloyd admits there is some basis in the stereotypes that Chinese were great in turning inventions into useful products and the Greeks were not interested in such an approach. Lloyd says that Archimedes proved that this simply was not true, because lots of his inventions (like his screw) found its way in real life appliances. On the other side the Chinese elite had very low esteem of labourers and craftsmen.

Lloyd looks at three fields where appliances from systematic inquiry found its way, or better said might have found its way, because in most cases it remains unclear if the results of systematic inquiry really led to the inventions. For Lloyd this is the contradiction between the texts and the authors that we still have versus the archaeological remains that have been found (were inventions made by the texts of authors, or did authors describe the inventions by the craftsmen?.
The first field Lloyd treats is warfare. The Chinese has a better support from their rulers and advisers to make technological progress, although the mentality was to win a war with a minimum of costs and lowest number of casualties. The Greek mentality remained for a long time defined by virtues like aristea (deeds of valour) and andreia (manhood) and those virtues  held back technological developments, but later on technology became also for the Greeks an important factor in warfare.
Concerning agriculture it is determined by Lloyd that this was not a subject for big risks and therefore inventions. Lloyd turns his attention to slavery, that often in modern literature is being seen as one of the main reasons that held back technological development in the ancient world. Lloyd points out that  slavery is very unlikely the cause of stagnation: slavery was not that cheap, there were places where there was slavery and technological improvement happening at the same time, To Lloyd the missing of an unified and central approach to agriculture looked more like the main reason why technology and results of systematic inquiry did make their way into the agricultural sector.
Finally Lloyd looks in the chapter at civil engineering. The Greeks were hindered by their love for ideal geometrical symmetry, overlooking natural phenomena like friction. The Chinese showed a preference to explore the propensities of things, they were not out to master the materials, but let them work for them and in that way they had successes in irrigation projects.

The fifth chapter is an interesting look at the role of languages to fulfil and describe inquiry. As inquiry got more complex, it meant that a specialised brand of idiom had to be created to keep things recognisable for peer investigators and the public. But the development of a specialised language also led to side effects. It could contribute to the secretiveness of a group of specialised people that were familiar with the developed idiom. In medicine we find for example the Hippocrates’ oath as a result of this behaviour. The Chinese had an advantage over Greeks because their centralized approach of research meant that the language could stay more coherent opposite to Greece where inquiry was decentralised leading to discussions about naming conventions.

In the final, sixth chapter Lloyd discusses the institutions and institutional frameworks from which the systematic inquiries were performed. Lloyd  comes to the core of things  that were at the root of systematic inquiry. First he notices that the inquiry should be in some way useful and have a niche, so it makes sense to attract and employ  investigators. But if  requirements are too strictly controlled by a government then there is little room for experiment and there is a danger not to comply with the vision of the rulers. Lloyd calls this the double bind. He discusses what he calls the fortunes of transmission: the chances of survival and reception of one’s ideas is restricted when working alone (at least not working for a big centralised organisation).
Again the differences between the Chinese versus the Greco-Roman world are being discussed. On one hand the big centralised organisation, where teachers aim to advise their emperors as the mediators between macrocosm (heavens and earth) and microcosm (state and body). The Greco-Roman world saw a diverse variation of sometimes state supported initiatives (the Ptolemies in Alexandria), the doctors working for city-states and courts of kings and finally the investigators that made their income from the fees of students that followed courses in their schools (the Academia from Plato as the most well known example). Investigators in general found themselves in situations with stiff competition and the results of inquiry of an investigator could by definition find harsh critique from other scholars.

From what is discussed above it is clear that Lloyd concludes that there is no ideal framework to perform systematical inquiry, every type of framework posed its own challenges wehen it came to face certain situations like how to approach and convince rulers, peers and an audience. A situation that in current science is still recognisable.

Personally I found this a enjoyable book to read, mainly because it offers a different approach than the usual books on ancient history of science that deal with the obvious who did what first and where. This work obviously wants to deal with the why question surrounding the systematic inquiry and its ambition to fulfil questions about future and past events. Some subjects carried on a bit too long in my opinion, like Lloyds treatment of the harmonics and toward the end of the chapter on languages. The book has a great bibliography to make further investigations into the subject.

I don’t tend to agree that Lloyd gives the impression that the Greek investigators were most of all working as small company entrepreneurs, I always had the convictions that most of them were employed by the many local rulers in the Mediterranean and that there was  competition among those rulers to employ the most successful (maybe even controversial) investigators as part of their royal courts. I would like to have seen further that some time was spend on discussing the possible connections between the Chinese and Greek investigators: were they completely operating independently or might there a be occasional instances of information leak between the distant worlds.

  • DATE PUBLISHED: October 2002
  • FORMAT: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9780521894616
  • LENGTH: 200 pages
  • DIMENSIONS: 229 x 152 x 12 mm
  • WEIGHT: 0.3kg
  • CONTAINS: 31 b/w illus. 1 table

1934 Postcard from Dutch East Indies

My mother gave me a postcard that my grandfather send on August 24, 1934 from “Indië” (as the Dutch would call the nowadays Indonesia) to The Netherlands. The family is enjoying a vacation in Soekaboemi (nowadays Sukabumi), a village located in the mountains, 70 kilometre south of Jakarta. The name of the site where they stayed was named “Hotel en Boerderij (= Farm) Cramer”.

The message is:

“Dear Mother and Ida (his sister),
We amuse us here well and it is deliciously cool
X (mark on the front side of postcard) is the small cottage where we stay. Furthermore
receive regards from Louisa (his wife), Elly (daughter) and Cor (my grandfather).

noi 060

noi 061

iPhone 5s Panorama photos

On my short journey in Turkey I used the new Apple iPhone 5s panorama option to take some beautiful panorama photos. Once you get into the hang of things it is rather easy to use.

Click this link to go to my Apple Photo stream:

You will see:

  • View from hill in Milete (Miletos)
  • View from the ancient theater in Priene
  • View from the main square in Izmir
  • View from the harbor in Izmir
  • View in Ayvalik
  • View from Troy towards Gallipoli
  • View from the ancient Troy theater
  • View from the ancient Pergamon site towards modern day Bergama

iPhone 5s review

Since a few days over here (The Netherlands) Apple’s new iPhones are gradually becoming available in the non-Apple stores, like AMac and MediaMarkt. After holding out with my iPhone 4 for 3 years, I gradually became quite frustrated with the loading time of applications like Whatsapp and Twitter, so I decided to jump on the iPhone 5s wagon. Although I originally shopped for the space grey model, the only availbale model was the ‘champagne gold’ one, so I purchased that one. I was a bit afraid that it would be a bit over-the-top but the colors are really very beautiful, which can generally be said when you see and hold the phone. I have been looking at the Galaxy S4, HTC One and LG G2 but personally I think none of its competitors comes close when talking design and use of materials. It is in a league of its own. Because I also purchased one of Apple’s own cases the champagne gold look is regretfully not visible anymore, it’s now more a black cover (case)/white front phone.

After purchasing the first thing to do was to get my data from iPhone 4 to the 5s. It was a  painless process. All my data was transfered perfectly. I guessed that part of the transfer process would be that my apps would be transfered, but that was not the case. I solved this by going to the App Store and re-install the necessary apps. I wasn’t too unhappy about that because it allowed me to re-evaluate what apps I wanted to install (over the cause of a number of years, your need for apps is certainly changing, so I could get rid of apps like MSN Messenger ;)).

I must say that after one week of using I’m not totally friends with Touch ID, Apple’s way of getting access to the phone by registering your fingerprints. While it is a great idea and  will save you a lot of swiping, I noticed that my iPhone does a poor job of recognizing my thumb, despite of some re-learning. My index finger is better recognized, although certainly not a 100% score.

The thing you will really love about the iPhone 5s is its sheer, crazy speed. To simply explain this: I fully understand the stories I have read about people who feel motion sick about operating their iPhone.

The second thing I noticed is that Siri has made great improvements, understanding what you ask ‘her’. It is now really easy to do all kinds of more or less complex tasks, my favorite one adding reminders and opening apps. As long as you talk English, Dutch is not supported (yet), I really find Siri becoming an useful tool, despite people who think otherwise.

I have already discussed before iOS7 in a separate review, mentioning it is more of a refinement of previous iOS versions than a radical revolution in OS-land. To me it still remains a double edged sword. I still find it hard believe they killed off all those beautiful design elements (like for example the icons they used for Garageband and Pages) and now we are stuck with some lame ultra basic, flat design decisions. I’m also not too fond about the new keyboard with the small Helvetica Neue font and big white keys (in some cases you are presented with a keyboard where those colors are reversed and is much more to my liking). But, on the other hand the OS has become so much slicker and better equipped with functionality that makes live easier. Apple also clearly have put lots of energy to improve apps like Reminders or Voice Memos that are now more a joy to use than before iOS7. In the photo and video department things are now really on par with competitors, for example you have the option to shoot your videos in slow motion.

So if you come from a pre-iPhone 5 phone and you are not frightened by Apple’s hefty pricing (I’m not saying that it is unreasonably priced), purchasing the iPhone 5s is much of a no-brainer. You will own a beautiful designed and -for now- blazingly fast phone.

Update dec, 1st 2013:

The working of Touch ID seems to be more problematic than originally thought. I did some rescannings of my thumb, but I have the impression that when Touch ID is in use the recognition degrades after a few times of use. My index finger fares better, around 80% recognition. But with the way I hold and use my phone, the thumb is the only viable option. I have made 2 scans of my thumb, but the recognition remains problematic.The recognition process is somewhat goofy and unclear. Most of the times a recognition is followed by a motion feedback which -I suppose- is the signal to lift your finger. But sometimes one can lift and press without motion feedback. Graphic representations of the lines of a finger are shown with the small lines getting bold and red while scanning. But whether this graphic is supposed to mean something or is just some fancy, silly indication remains unclear.

Last but not least I’ve wondered what the option “Require Passcode” in the Settings Menu is supposed to mean. One expects something like “15 minutes”. “30 minutes” etc. but it only gives one option “Immediately” that can’t be changed.

I hope that Apple cleans up their act in new iOS versions with this stuff…If not I’m afraid I’ll skip Touch ID altogether, which would be a shame because if it worked it would be very cool.