Avatar

I have recently watched The enjoyable epic science fiction film Avatar again. It stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver and was directed, written, produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. Avatar is is set in 2154, where humans have depleted Earth’s natural resources, leading to a severe energy crisis. So they set out to look for other viable energy sources on other planets. Then The Resources Development Administration (RDA for short) discovers a valuable mineral called Unobtanium on a densely forested habitable moon named Pandora which is orbiting the gas giant Polyphemus in the Alpha Centauri star system which could solve all the Earth’s energy needs. The look of Pandora was inspired by the Artist Roger Dean.

However Pandora’s atmosphere is poisonous to humans, and it is inhabited by the Na’vi, 10-foot tall (3.0 m), blue-skinned, sapient humanoids who live in harmony with nature and worship a mother goddess called Eywa. So To explore Pandora’s biosphere, scientists create Na’vi-human hybrids called “avatars”, genetically engineered Na’vi bodies with the mind of a remotely located and genetically matched human which are used to interact with the natives of Pandora.

Jake Sully, a paraplegic former Marine, arrived on Pandora to replace his deceased identical twin brother as an operator of one of the Avatars. The Resources Development is headed by Selfridge, and Colonel Miles Quaritch, head of RDA’s private security force, wants Jake to secretly gather information about the Na’vi. So Jake joins Dr. Grace Augustine, head of the Avatar Program, and fellow scientist Dr. Norm Spellman while they collect biological data. However Jake becomes seperated when his avatar is attacked by an indigenous carnivorous predator called a thanator and flees into the forest. Luckily he is rescued by Neytiri, a female Na’vi. Who after Witnessing an auspicious sign, takes him to her clan, whereupon Neytiri’s mother Mo’at, the clan’s spiritual leader, orders her daughter to initiate Jake into their society. Jake discover that Hometree stands on grounds containing the richest deposit of unobtanium in the area. Over the following three months, Jake grows to sympathize with the natives. After Jake is initiated into the tribe, he and Neytiri choose each other as mates.

Sadly though The continuing expansion of the mining colony starts to threaten the peaceful existence of the Na’vi and things come to a head when the military under Col. Quaritch threaten to destroy a sacred Na’vi site called Hometree and when Jake discovers what the Quaritch and the military intend to do he Is horrified. Grace’s argues that destroying Hometree could damage the biological neural network native to Pandora, but this falls on deaf ears. So Selfridge gives Jake and Grace one hour to convince the Na’vi to evacuate hometree and the Na’vi, discover that Jake has been collecting information for the military so the Na’vi imprison Jake and Grace. Quaritch’s men destroy Hometree, killing Neytiri’s father (the clan chief) and many others. Mo’at frees Jake and Grace, but they are detached from their avatars and imprisoned by Quaritch’s forces. However Pilot Trudy Chacón, disgusted by Quaritch’s brutality rescues them both.

Jake, keen to redeem himself and regain the Na’vi’s trust, tames a fierce dragon-like predator feared and honored by the Na’vi. Jake finds the refugees at the sacred Tree of Souls. Supported by the new chief Tsu’tey, who acts as Jake’s translator, Jake tries to pursuade the Na’vi to give him one more chance. Jake manages to unite the clans and shows them how to battle against the Resources Development Association. Fairly soon all hell breaks loose as the Na’avi try to regain control of Pandora and evict the human invaders and stop them from taking all of Pandora’s valuable resources for themselves without considering the needs of the Na’avi or the health of the planet.

Robert Moog

🎹Best known as the inventor of the Moog synthesizer, The pioneer of electronic music, Robert Moog (Pronounced “Mogue”) sadly died August 21, 2005 in Asheville, North Carolina at the age of 71. He was born 23rd May 1934 and attended the Bronx High School of Science in New York, graduating in 1952. Moog earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Queens College, New York in 1957, another in electrical engineering from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in engineering physics from Cornell University. Moog’s awards include honorary doctorates from Polytechnic Institute of New York University (New York City) and Lycoming College (Williamsport, Pennsylvania). Moog created the first voltage-controlled subtractive synthesizer to utilize a keyboard as a controller and demonstrated it at the AES convention in 1964. In 1966, Moog filed a patent application for his unique low-pass filter And also held several dozen other patents.

Moog also employed his theremin company (R. A. Moog Co., which would later become Moog Music) to manufacture and market his synthesizers. Unlike the few other 1960s synthesizer manufacturers, Moog shipped a piano-style keyboard as the standard user interface to his synthesizers. Moog also established standards for analog synthesizer control interfacing, with a logarithmic one volt-per-octave pitch control and a separate pulse triggering signal. The first instrument – The Moog modular synthesizer became one of the first widely used electronic musical instruments. Early developmental work on the components of the synthesizer occurred at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, now the Computer Music Center. While there, Moog developed the voltage controlled oscillators, ADSR envelope generators, and other synthesizer modules with composer Herbert Deutsch. In 1971 Moog Music began production of the Minimoog Model D which was among the first widely available, portable and relatively affordable synthesizers. One of Moog’s earliest musical customers was Wendy Carlos whom he credits with providing feedback that was valuable to the further development of Moog synthesizers.Moog also constructed his own theremin as early as 1948. Later he described a theremin in the hobbyist magazine Electronics World and offered a kit of parts for the construction of the Electronic World’s Theremin, which became very successful. Moogs innovative electronic design was employed in numerous synthesizers including the Minimoog Model D, Minimoog Voyager, Little Phatty, Moog Taurus Bass Pedals, Moog Minitaur, and the Moogerfooger line of effects pedals.

In the late 1980s Moog repaired the original theremin of Clara Rockmore, an accomplishment which he considered a high point of his professional career. He also produced, in collaboration with first wife Shirleigh Moog, Mrs. Rockmore’s album, The Art of the Theremin. Moog was a principal interview subject in the award-winning documentary film, Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey, the success of which led to a revival of interest in the theremin. Moog Music went back to its roots and once again began manufacturing theremins. Thousands have been sold to date and are used by both professional and amateur musicians around the globe. In 1996 he published another do-it-yourself theremin guide. Today, Moog Music is the leading manufacturer of performance-quality theremins. Through his involvement in electronic music, Moog developed close professional relationships with artists such as Don Buchla, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, John Cage, Gershon Kingsley, Clara Rockmore, Jean Jacques Perrey , and Pamelia Kurstin.

In a 2000 interview, Moog said “I’m an engineer. I see myself as a toolmaker and the musicians are my customers. They use my tools.”During his lifetime, Moog founded two companies for manufacturing electronic musical instruments -RA Moog Co who manufactured Theramin Kits but left after a disagreement and formed a company called Big Briar. He also worked as a consultant and vice president for new product research at Kurzweil Music Systems from 1984 to 1988, helping to develop the Kurzweil K2000. He spent the early 1990s as a research professor of music at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. During his lifetime Moog received a Grammy Trustees Award for lifetime achievement in 1970, and In 2002, Moog was honored with a Special Merit/Technical Grammy Award, and an honorary doctorate degree from Berklee College of Music. Moog was also the inspiration behind the 2004 film Moog.

Sadly he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor on April 28, 2005 and passed away soon after. The Bob Moog Foundation was created as a memorial, with the aim of continuing his life’s work of developing electronic music. He is survived by three daughters (Laura Moog Lanier, Michelle Moog-Koussa, Renee Moog) one son (Matthew Moog) one stepdaughter, Miranda Richmond, and five grandchildren.

Liam Howlett (The Prodigy)

Occasional DJ, record producer and member of The Prodigy, Liam Howlett was born 21 August 1971. whilst a teenager he went to all the raves on weekends and when the clubs closed down in the early morning those ravers went on to party on the beach while Liam played a compilation of the latest rave tracks out of a van. One day, Keith Flint approached him and asked whether Liam could do some mixes for him. When Liam had done the mixes he would pass it to Keith. One night, when Keith and Leeroy Thornhillwere returning from a rave, they flipped Liam’s tape onto side B (which was titled “the prodigy” in reference to the Moog synthesizerused) to find some of Liam’s own tracks on it and got completely hooked. They decided to approach Liam and ask him if he wanted to play on stage with Keith and Leeroy dancing at the front of the stage. Liam agreed, and The Prodigy was born.

The Prodigy name came from a synthesizer called a Moog Prodigy which Liam used in his tracks. Howlett signed to leading UK rave label XL Recordings on the strength of several tracks played to XL boss Nick Halkes and in 1991 the debut Prodigy single was released. Liam used to purchase records from a record shop owned by Tim Palmer, although Liam did not know this prior to the XL meeting. The shop was mainly staffed by Tim Palmer’s mother. Liam and his friends would travel into London, where the shop was located, and ask for the most underground of dance tracks, the ones only a dedicated specialist dance DJ would know of, simply to test Tim Palmer’s mother. Time after time they would be amazed as she acknowledged the track and handed it over for them to listen to.

The Prodigy were formed by Liam Howlett in 1990. Along with Fatboy Slim, the Chemical Brothers, and other acts, The Prodigy have been credited as pioneers of the big beat genre, which achieved mainstream popularity in the 1990s and 2000s. They have sold over 25 million records worldwide. The group has won numerous music awards throughout their career, including two Brit Awards—winning Best British Dance Act twice, three MTV Video Music Awards, two Kerrang! Awards, five MTV Europe Music Awards, and have twice been nominated for Grammy Awards. The group’s brand of music makes use of various styles ranging from rave, hardcore techno, industrial, and breakbeat in the early 1990s to big beat and electronic rockwith punk vocal elements in later times.

The current members include Liam Howlett (keyboardist and composer), Keith Flint (dancer and vocalist), and Maxim (MC and vocalist). Leeroy Thornhill (dancer and occasional live keyboardist) was a member of the band from 1990 to 2000, as was a female dancer and vocalist called Sharky who left the group during their early period. The Prodigy first emerged on the underground rave scene in the early 1990s and have since achieved immense popularity and worldwide renown with great albums like The Fat of the Land, Music for the Jilted Generation, Always Outnumbered never Outgunned, invaders Must Die, World’s on Fire and The Day is My Enemy.

Steve Smith (Journey)

Drummer Steve Elliott Smith was born on August 21, 1954 in Whitman, Massachusett. He has worked with hundreds of artists in his career, but is mostly known for being the drummer of the rock band Journey during their peak years of success. Having received his first drum kit at age two, In 1963 Smith began taking drum lessons at age nine with Bill Flanagan, who played in big bands in the swing era. Smith performed in the usual school band program and garage bands while in his teens, but also began to broaden his performing experience by playing in a professional concert band and the big band at localBridgewater State CollegeHe got his first “real” drum set when he was 12 years old. Many nights a walk past Steve’s Harvard street home you could hear him practicing in a small shed in his back yard.

He played with both school bands and garage bands during his teens. His first “paid gig” was with a garage band. He graduated from high school in 1972. H After high school, he attended the Berklee College of Music inBoston, Massachusetts and studied with Alan Dawson at Berklee. Where he joined with the Lin Biviano big band at 19, and played with them for two years, and also toured with jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, who was the drummer on the last Focus album Focus con Proby, as well as drumming with Ronnie Montrose before joining the rock band Journey in 1978. He occupied the drum chair from late 1978 through mid-1985. Smith left the band in 1985, but he returned in 1995 for the band’s 1996 comeback album, Trial by Fire. In the interim, he played with Journey offshoot The Storm.

He has also worked as a session musician for pop artists such as Mariah Carey, Andrea Bocelli, Elisa, Vasco Rossi, Zucchero, Savage Garden, Bryan Adams, as well as world musicians such as Zakir Hussain and Sandip Burman. Additionally, he has played with various jazz artists including Mike Mainieri’s Steps Ahead, Wadada Leo Smith, Tom Coster,Ahmad Jamal, Dave Liebman, Larry Coryell, Victor Wooten, Mike Stern, Randy Brecker,Scott Henderson, Frank Gambale, Stuart Hamm, Dweezil Zappa, Anthony Jackson, Aydın Esen, Torsten de Winkel, George Brooks, Michael Zilber, Steve Marcus, Andy Fusco, Kai Eckhardt, Lee Musiker, Howard Levy, Oteil Burbridge, Jerry Goodman, Tony MacAlpine andBill Evans. Smith also leads his own jazz group, Vital Information.In 1994 Smith was invited by Rush drummer Neil Peart to perform in a tribute album,Burning for Buddy: A Tribute to the Music of Buddy Rich, to legendary drummer Buddy Rich, who inspired both drummers’ careers and techniques. Smith performed “Nutville”, and was invited to return for the second tribute album, Burning for Buddy: A Tribute to the Music of Buddy Rich, Vol. 2, where he performed “Moment’s Notice”.

In 2001 Modern Drummer magazine named Smith as one of the Top 25 Drummers of All Time. In 2003, his Hudson Music DVD Steve Smith Drumset Technique – History of the U.S. Beat was voted the #1 Educational DVD of the year, while in the same year, Smith recorded two albums with Buddy’s Buddies, a quintetcomposed of Buddy Rich alumni, and released two CDs on the Tone Center label. Both were recorded live at the famous London jazz club Ronnie Scott’s. They are Very Live at Ronnie Scott’s Set One & Set Two.In 2007, Steve Smith and Buddy’s Buddies were renamed “Steve Smith’s Jazz Legacy”. The band now pays tribute to many great jazz drummers in addition to Buddy Rich. In 1989, Smith headlined the Buddy Rich Memorial Scholarship Concert held in New York City, performing a duet with fellow drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith.He was voted “top drummer” in 2001.

Joe Strummer

British musician Joe Strummer a.k.a John Graham Mellor was born 21 August 1952, he is best remembered as the co-founder, lyricist, rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist of the British punk rock band The Clash. The Clash formed in 1976 as part of the original wave of British punk andconsisted of Joe Strummer (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Mick Jones (lead guitar, lead vocals), Paul Simonon (bass guitar, vocals) and Nicky “Topper” Headon (drums, percussion).

The Clash achieved commercial success in the United Kingdom with the release of their self-titled debut album, The Clash, in 1977. Their third album, London Calling, released in the UK in December 1979, earned them popularity in the United States when it was released there the following month. It was declared the best album of the 1980s a decade later by Rolling Stone. In 1982 they reached new heights of success with the release of Combat Rock, which spawned the US top 10 hit “Rock the Casbah”, helping the album to achieve a 2× Platinum certification there. The Clash’s politicised lyrics, musical experimentation, and rebellious attitude had a far-reaching influence on rock, and alternative rock in particular. They became widely referred to as “The Only Band That Matters”, originally a promotional slogan introduced by the group’s record label, CBS.

Along with punk, their music incorporated elements of reggae, ska, dub, funk, rap, and rockabilly. The Clash were one of the most prominent of the emerging bands in the UK punk rock scene, their second album, Give ‘Em Enough Rope (1978) reaching number 2 on the UK charts. Soon after, they began achieving success in the US, starting with London Calling (1979), and peaking with 1982′s Combat Rock, reaching number 7 on the US charts and being certified 2x platinum there. Sadly Headon left the group in 1982, and internal friction led to Jones’s departure the following year.  Their final album, Cut the Crap, was released in 1985 before the group finally disbanded in early 1986.

Strummer’s musical experience included membership of The 101ers, Latino Rockabilly War, The Mescaleros and The Pogues, in addition to his own solo music career. Strummer’s work as a musician allowed him to explore other interests, which included acting, creating film scores for television and movies, songwriting, radio broadcasting, and a position as a radio host. Strummer is comsidered one of the iconic figures of the British punk movement. Strummer and The Clash were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 2003. Strummer sadly passed away 22 December 2002 however Strummer’s friends and family have established the Strummerville Foundation for the promotion of new music, and each year there are many festivals and both organised and spontaneous ceremonies worldwide to celebrate his memory. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked the Clash number 28 on its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple)

Rock bassist and vocalist, Glenn Hughes was born 21 August 1951. He best known for playing bass and performing vocals for funk rock pioneers Trapeze and the Mk. III and IV line-ups of Deep Purple, as well as briefly fronting Black Sabbath in the mid-1980s. In addition to being an active session musician, Hughes also maintains a notable solo career, and previously fronted the supergroup Black Country Communion.Hughes fronted Finders Keepers in the 1960s as bassist/vocalist, as well as the Britishfunk rock band Trapeze. Hughes was recruited to replace Roger Glover as bassist in Deep Purple in 1973, though he considered himself a vocalist more so than a bassist. He was reportedly uninterested in the Deep Purple job until some of the other members proposed that Paul Rodgers of Free be brought in as co-lead vocalist. Though the recruitment of Rodgers fell through, Hughes had now become interested in the “two-lead-singer thing”, and David Coverdale was later hired as Deep Purple’s lead vocalist. The two would ultimately share lead vocal duties in the band until their breakup in 1976. Battling severe cocaine addiction, Hughes embarked on a solo career following his departure from the group, releasing his first solo album in 1977 called Play Me Out.

In 1982, he joined with ex-Pat Travers guitarist Pat Thrall to form Hughes/Thrall, and they released one self-titled album which went virtually unnoticed at the time. Part of the reason for the album’s obscurity was the inability to support it with a proper tour due to both parties suffering from drug addiction. As Hughes stated in a 2007 interview, “The Hughes-Thrall album was a brilliant, brilliant album, but we only did 17 shows because we were too loaded.”It is now often cited by many fans/musicians to be their favourite Glenn Hughes album. In the mid-1980s, Hughes recorded several different albums with bands and artists including Phenomena (Phenomena, Phenomena II: Dream Runner), Gary Moore (Run For Cover), and Black Sabbath (Seventh Star; originally a solo album by Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi that was released as a Sabbath album due to record label pressure).Beginning in the mid-1980s, Hughes’ health problems due to overeating, drugs and alcohol began to seriously affect his musical projects, and this contributed to very short stints with Gary Moore and Tony Iommi, as Hughes was unable to tour with them properly due to his bad health. By the end of the decade, Hughes’ realised his ongoing drug problem was derailing him, and by 1991 a clean, sober and fully rejuvenated Hughes returned with the vocal for the hit “America: What Time Is Love?” with KLF.

He also recorded all the vocals for former Europe guitarist John Norum’s solo album Face the Truth. He then re-embarked on a solo career. In 1999, Hughes did a short tribute tour to Tommy Bolin in Texas, with Tommy’s brother Johnny (of Black Oak Arkansas) on drums. In 2005 Hughes released Soul Mover He also collaborated with Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi on the 2005 album Fused. Hughes then released Music for the Divine in 2006, which featured Red Hot Chili Peppers members Chad Smith and John Frusciante. Hughes toured in support of the album throughout Europe in autumn 2006. Live in Australia, an acoustic CD and companion DVD of a performance at Sydney’s famous “Basement” club was released in 2007. The show features songs from most recent Hughes albums, Purple classics and rare gems and covers.

The album First Underground Nuclear Kitchen was released in 2008. In 2010, Hughes formed Black Country Communion with Jason Bonham (drums), Joe Bonamassa (guitar) and Derek Sherinian(keyboards). The band has released three albums as of October 2012. In July 2010 Hughes appeared as a guest vocalist (together with singer Jørn Lande) fronting Heaven & Hell at the High Voltage Rock Festival in London as a tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio. Hughes’ autobiography was published in May 2011 by British specialist limited edition publishers Foruli. The book, titled ‘Deep Purple And Beyond: Scenes From The Life Of A Rock Star’, was co-written with author Joel McIver and featured contributions by Tony Iommi,David Coverdale, Ozzy Osbourne and Tom Morello, as well as a foreword by Lars Ulrich of Metallica. An extended paperback edition, retitled ‘Glenn Hughes: The Autobiography’, was published in late 2011 by Jawbone Press.On 13 September 2012 Glenn Hughes and Derek Sherinian met Bako Sahakyan, the president of de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and organized a concert in Stepanakert. In 2013, Hughes made a special guest appearance on the debut, self-titled album from Device. Hughes is featured on the song “Through It All” accompanying David Draiman on Vocals and also appeared in Readings, Carlton for an Australian launch of Glen Hughes: The Autobiography. Hughes has been touring as a member of Kings of Chaos, as lead vocals, backing vocals and acoustic guitars since early 2013.