Iolet: The Music of Anathem

Posted on Friday, August 22nd, 02008 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
link Categories: Clock of the Long Now, Long Term Art   chat 0 Comments


In Neal Stephenson’s new novel Anathem, the Decanarian Erasmus’ daily chore is to ring the Clock bells in his “Math” in a special sequence each day as he chants out the sequence. Those sequences and chants are all based on mathematical formulae that composer and coder David Stutz has put together into an album called Iolet.  Stutz calls the music “a pseudo-liturgical use of mathematics and higher thinking.”  You can see more background from Stutz on the album here.  (In addition you might find some of the excerpts recently released from the book’s extensive glossary worth a peek.)

Most wonderfully Stephenson and Stutz are directing the profits of the album (released through CD Baby) to us here at The Long Now Foundation to help in our efforts to build the Millennium Clock that was one of the inspirations of the book. We will also have a live performance of the album at the launch event on September 9th 02008 in San Francisco, and it will be available for sale at the event and on the web after the 9th.

And here is what some others have had to say about the album:

“It sounds like the neo-Gregorian chanting that accompanies ritual baby sacrifice in horror films.” -Steven Levy [in Wired]

“I’ve just listened to several of the songs on this CD and, frankly, this is some weird shit.” – Al Billings [in In Pursuit of Mysteries Boing Boing]

  • Your Cory Doctorow quote above is Cory quoting *me*.

    – A Long Now Member (under my first name, Louis)

  • Reader

    How about renaming your group to The Long Ego Foundation?

  • Reader

    LONG EGO FOUNDATION. Yes, that’s my opinion. Into censorship?

  • Thanks for the heads up Al – we’ve fixed the attribution and added a link to your original post.

  • Heather

    I’m looking for the CD in CDBaby and it’s not yet there. At least I’m not finding it. Any other way I can get it?

  • Heather,

    According to David Stutz, who created it, full versions will be made available at the Long Now event for Anathem (and I expect, after that) with proceeds to go to the foundation.

  • Jen

    A bit annoyed; Amazon made it look like a copy of the CD would be included with the retail version of the book, but it was not. still, would like to buy from CD Baby or this blog (and still waiting for the links)

  • I’m eager to buy a copy of this as well – doesn’t look like it’s available yet on cdbaby. Love the idea though, and the samples I’ve heard are really great.

  • Danielle Engelman

    You can order the CD’s over the phone from The Long Now Museum and Store – 415.561.6582 x3 – we’ll have a link to purchase them from CD Baby as soon as they have them available.

  • Pingback: Anathem is a 2008 speculative fiction novel by Neal Stephenson. « Imgargoyle’s Weblog()

  • Leganto

    Erasmas is on the clock winding crew. He doesn’t ring bells. The bell ringers are Tulia and Ala…among others I am sure.

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  • Weston

    To the comment be Reader about it being a “Long Ego Foundation” So what if it is don’t we all just want to be seen as something more than a pin prick in history! I commend the work they are doing. for it is not just for the self it is for the Collective! Our humanity will live on!

  • Books & music

    Is there a problem with having an ego? How else do we live?

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