Martin Medeski and Wood (Heart)’s Radiolarians

MMWbb1.jpgOne of my favorite group of musicians, known as MMW, released their next big idea – Viva la Evolution. This is an innovative concert/record idea. First they will write the songs, then tour instead of making a CD. During their tour they will use that opportunity to fine tune their notes and experiment with different audiences. They will conduct 3 tours resulting in 3 separate albums, each with unique material. Hence, their music will evolve throughout this summer. This may even be a cooler idea than their funky children’s CD Let’s Go Everywhere (with such great songs like “Pirates Don’t Take Bathes!”)

What does this have to do with the Deep Sea? The second set for Viva la Evolution has been announced. If you are in the following cities, I HIGHLY recommend checking their show out.

Jul-11-08 Fri Masontown, WV All Good Festival
Jul-12-08 Sat Roanoke, VA Jefferson Center
Jul-13-08 Sun Knoxville, TN Bijou Theatre
Jul-15-08 Tue Birmingham, AL Workplay Theatre
Jul-16-08 Wed Nashville, TN Belcourt Theatre
Jul-17-08 Thu Covington, KY Madison Theatre
Jul-18-08 Fri Louisville, KY Bomhard Theatre

Cyrtoidea.jpgThe final release will be called The Radiolarian Series. Radiolaria (see right) are strange organisms that resemble an amoeba inside of a silica skeleton (the Acantharea makes a skeleton of strontium sulfate), often in association with symbiotic green algae. Ernst Haeckel was a german biologist who studied Radiolaria extensively and drew very intricate and beautiful figures (to the right) of their morphology in his monograph Art Forms from the Ocean: The Radiolarian Atlas of 1862.

Radiolaria die and like everything in the ocean they fall to the bottom, organics rotting out leaving behind only their beautiful silicate skeletons for oceanographers to ponder over. It turns out that really really small things reproduce and die fast. Its practically raining Radiolaria in the deep sea, forming layer after layer of siliceous ooze in ocean basins. The oxygen isotopes locked away in the skeletons are great at telling stories of past temperature and oxygen. Subsampling along the length of an ooze core reveals a time-series of virtually continuous data for climatic conditions occurring at the surface right above the location of that particular deep-sea core.

Great jazz and funk, planktonic invertebrates and deep sea science. A better combination I know not of. Not familiar with MMW? Check out a little live Chubb Subb below. Be sure to stand back though because that hammond is hot and might blow you away!