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Home arrow Older News Archive arrow David Gilmour - The Colours Of Infinity book and DVD - update
David Gilmour - The Colours Of Infinity book and DVD - update Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Monday, 18 October 2004

Further to our previous news and pre-publication offer for the new book, pictured right, which includes a documentary on DVD that Pink Floyd's David Gilmour provides the soundtrack to, we now can tell you more about the package, which has now hit the store shelves.

The book provides a legitimate way of getting your hands on the 1994 documentary, long unobtainable, and much in demand from Pink Floyd, and in particular, David Gilmour fans. We have had a chance to go through the package, and report our findings here...

For many years, fractals, the computer generated patterns of almost infinite design and colour, have fascinated computer experts, mathematicians, and normal people. Ten years ago, a documentary was made looking at the subject, and to celebrate it a decade later, this book looks at the subject in detail.

Of particular interest to Pink Floyd fans is the soundtrack to the doc, included with the book on a DVD tucked inside the back cover, that is performed by David Gilmour.

Each chapter of the book is written by a different person, giving a number of different perspectives to the subject.

The first chapter covers some of the basics of fractals, how they are seen, and how they relate to nature. It quickly runs into some quite complex mathematical equations, which doesn't seem to mirror the chapter's beginning which promises "a largely non-technical introduction".

Sci-fi legend Arthur C Clarke brings the subject back to general accessibility, as does the chapter following, which is written by none-other than Benoit Mandelbrot, renowned for "discovering" fractal geometry.

The problem is, to explain the subject, each writer has to at least dip his toe into the pool of complexity and calculation, but despite this, they also give accessible analogies to apply fractals to the real world - even the universe. And they don't lose sight of the inescapable link between the mathematics and the artistic, abstract, and aesthetically intriguing nature of fractal representations.

And if nothing else, there are some wonderful, colourful fractal diagrams very nicely presented on the glossy pages... and for those interested in art, particularly technical art, a later chapter looks at the similarities between the Mandelbrot set and the work of Dutch artist M C Escher.

There's even a look at the fractal nature of the internet in a fascinating look at the organic and interdependent nature of the web - specifically websites themselves, and the patterns and forms of sites, links, and web surfing. It gives a whole new perspective to the internet!

Finally, Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon talks about the creation of the documentary (on the accompanying DVD), along with a full transcript of the programme, principally for educators' use. The "making of" chapter covers the initial ideas, the financing and the involvement of people like Arthur C Clarke and David Gilmour.

The DVD features a good transfer of the documentary - colours are rich, the picture is sharp and bright. The subject matter is covered in a more understandable, down-to-earth way, making it more enjoyable to the lay-person than the book itself. As the doc goes on, the picture shifts from talking heads to fractal displays - surely the reason most are watching it, so good to see these getting centre stage after not too long.

The first appearance of David's guitar work comes around five minutes into the film. Some lovely playing accompanies a zoom further and further into the Mandelbrot Set, matched eight minutes later with more Gilmour. The playing echoes elements and variations on Shine On You Crazy Diamond, particularly the keyboard intro which David adapts here to good effect.

Tasters of his playing appear as the programme progresses. First, some steel guitar work accompanies shots of butterflies, and, later, trees, leaves and blossoms; David's performance perfectly complementing the on-screen display. Later, more incidental music plays, before the big finale.

The doc concludes with soaring guitar work accompanying the closing titles. Where you sense a normal fade-out for TV purposes, DG's fractal swoops are allowed to continue. A nice end to things! However, don't expect an album's worth of otherwise unavailable material - the music within is more to add depth and texture to the patterns on-screen, providing snippets and small segments of David's atmospheric work.

As with the documentary, the book covers a pretty technical subject in some detail, but with enough interesting fact for the lay person, together with wonderful graphics. Indeed, many will find the DVD a lot more accessible than the book. Coupled with Gilmour's guitar work, this is a package with a difference, which requires some effort in coming to grips with the subject matter. Some parts are very technical (or for some, just TOO technical) but these can be skipped over for the wider view on the subject. Of course, many will buy it just to get the DVD, for the music it contains... and for the chance to drift off watching the wonderful on-screen graphics.

To order the book you can either do it via our normal links to (US/International), Canada, UK, France, or Germany. Most of these offer a good discount on the recommended price.

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