A Seattle-based band called netcat - not to be confused with the networking tool of the same name - has perked ears in the software community by releasing its debut album as a Linux kernel module (among other more typical formats.)
From the band's Facebook page:
"Are you ever listening to an album, and thinking 'man, this sounds good, but I wish it crossed from user-space to kernel-space more often!' We got you covered. Our album is now fully playable as a loadable Linux kernel module."
In other words, because why not?
The album is called Cycles Per Instruction and the kernel module can be found on GitHub. Traditional digital versions and limited-edition cassettes can be had here for $5 and $10, respectively. You can get 10% off by using a discount code, which is "kernel," naturally. Here's one of the six tracks:
They are applauding the kernel concept on Reddit:
"Now to port this to a specialized raspberry pi image and build a strange dedicated Walkman."
"They're also releasing on cassette. I think high-tech lo-fi is their shtick."
"As preparation for their next album, that will be released as schematics, a breadboard, and a bag of components with assembly code in an obscure-architecture printed into a book to boot it and play their album."
And, in response to quibbles over the code itself: "They've released an album as a kernel module, and you're worried about the unnecessary intermediate compression of the audio?!"
So who is netcat and what are they trying to accomplish aside from impressing Linux programmers?
From their website:
As netcat, Brandon Lucia (drums, Chango, computers), David Balatero (cello, computers), and Andrew Olmstead (synthesizer, computers) explore the intersection between technology, complexity, and free improvisation. netcat's music brings together seasoned performance on conventional instruments -- cello, synthesizers, and drums -- combining it with computer generated sounds and computer instruments, like the Chango, a novel synthesizer that is played with light.
The mixture of these ingredients is textural, long-form structured improvisations. netcat's music is the kind that calls for laying down on the floor with expensive headphones on and enjoying the solipsism. The flow of the round, sinusoidal bass of the Chango and synthesizer carry the listener on an electric current, through a confluence of sweeping, dramatic arcs on the cello and tympanic drumming. Among it all manifests speaking computers attempting, with futility, to master spoken language and a sonic embodiment of the flurry of bits and bytes traversing a computer network.
I'm guessing at least one member of netcat has a day job in high tech.
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