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New in the KUCI Music Library
November 21, 2011
by: Paul McEldowney

Steve Hauschildt - Tragedy & Geometry (Kranky)
The advent of non-eudlidean geometries in the 19th century marked an important historical revolution in mathematics--Euclid's geometry, the one we learn in high school, was not the only logically possible description of space. These new 'radical' projective and hyperbolic geometries did not take the parallel postulate to be a given--the axiom which maintained that given a line and point off the line, there is a unique parallel line to the original line which crosses through that point. It took a while for mathematicians and 'common sense' to accept the fact that non-Euclidean geometries were just as mathematically good, and perhaps more interesting, than classical Euclidean practice. A moral I take from this period and the way the 'overthrow' of the parallel postulate had such a strong social response and contribution is the experimental, playful, and social way in which mathematics develops and grows. Influenced by the overthrow is the advent of mathematical practices defined by a somewhat expiermental nature akin to the natural sciences, and even further, there are people playing with the idea of 'rigor' in mathematics, and doing some wonderful things in 'freeing' math from a type of academic elitism and xenophobia--see Margaret Wertheim's crochet hyperbolic reefs. While the professional mathematician might cringe in seeing her concepts being reappropriated in a strange 'social' and 'unrigorous', and perhaps logically unwarranted and inexact way, the abstract nature of mathematical concepts which I like to compare with 'intellectual property' and digital information wants to be liberated, disseminated, and pluralized. A part of the way mathematics has penetrated the public vernacular is through music and musical community. People tattoo geometric shapes on themselves for some reason, and musicians like Steve Hauschildt, member of Emeralds, devote their albums to intersections of mathematical concept, daily life, and social/artistic performance. Steve's newest Tragedy & Geometry, a synth-based balanced sentimental and cerebral meditation is a playful exploration and continuation of trying to understand this intersection.

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