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Malleo Magicis

The Magic Hammer
A Collection of Synaesthetic art and music painted, composed, arranged and recorded by Jez 'HexHammer' Boxall.

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Painted, written and performed over the last 25 years, these are attempts to describe the universe as I perceive it.

Much of my work contains recurrent themes, and I'm able to express them in many ways. These first three fall naturally together in a nice sequence.

Architecture of the End of Time

This first track goes right back to 1990. It was composed and originally rendered in Noise Tracker, running on an Amiga A600. A few years later I expanded it and re-rendered it in Scream Tracker on a PC and finally this version using ModPlug Tracker several years after that using recoded 32-bit samples cadged from the original files.

Most of the samples were either recorded from one of my synths or built by hand in a noise generator and stepped into Noise Tracker using the Amiga keyboard as I didnt have MIDI, but the later version was completely input from a synthesiser.

Deus Et Machina

A much later painting, around 2004. A machine, built in the image of its creator meets God at the edge of the Universe. The painting asks by juxtaposition, then who or what created our creator? I worry about these things, but I am not a religious man. If anything I lean towards Holism and accept that there are many faiths, despite using western iconography to illustrate it. I will not be drawn into an argument over this ;-)



Opus In Chrome

Written and recorded while on holiday, I think 2006. I took a guitar and a keyboard up to the Norfolk Broads and rented a cabin cruiser for a week. I did a bit of sketching, played my guitar in the historic market in the old city of Norwich and wrote this sat on the back of the boat one glorious morning while the sun reflected off the water and the dew and made everything sparkle. When I got home I performed it live on a full-size keyboard and recorded it.

Axis City

Painted in 1992, Axis City is a moment in time. Unaware of the speed we travel through the universe, we live in a self-contained environment of our own design.



One Summer's Eve

Composed and recorded in 2014, Summer's Eve is a gathering of friends at a BBQ. Wine flows, good food is eaten and laughter joins the sparks from the fire as the midsummer sun sets.

Henge Star

Painted 1993 on an Amiga 1200 using Deluxe Paint after a visit to the ancient place. Back then you could get among the stones, and feel the wind playing the living rock like an instrument under your palm. I sat and closed my eyes and imagined how many other souls had done this over the thousands of years to mark the Solstice.




Can I

An original poem that sprang to life, written for a woman I liked. She liked it, added a chorus and we worked on music for it together. We managed to get an interview and a couple of tracks played on local radio, but my obligations to my daughter meant it was never to be. Lindsie is a multi-talented musician and is now a mum and a teacher. We're good friends, I have her permission to reproduce her work.

Muse

A recurring dream throughout my early adult life, a woman dances for me and kisses me, then dances slowly away and vanishes. I've been looking for her ever since because this enchantress appears in other dreams and work.

Dragonkind

The full version of Dragonkind, explaining what that is. The Verve had a go with Lucky Man, another of my favourites.


17 Again

I spent today melting my processor making a heart from mathematics. For Lindsie, happy Valentines Day. We should have jumped out of that airplane after all :-)


There are another 12 tracks and paintings I have yet to arrange. I will post these when I have a minute to make a video and upload it, being as HaD isnt really meant for this ;-)

  • Monkey Business

    Morning.Star01/28/2019 at 09:35 1 comment

    Usually I turn my magic on some poor hapless official for their ineptitude. A bit of dark muttering and some smoke, and before they know it they wake up with a tail. Or warts, another favourite staple.

    Pissing off a Mage isnt wise. XD

    For once tho, I decided to turn it on me. I dont do this often, I have a rule - not for my benefit. I dont ever want to stop doing or enjoying what I do, so if I decided to make money, say, with my skills I'd have to choose one of them. And it would become like a job too. Everything does when you spoil it with money.

    @Dr. Cockroach has started building a full Fur Suit, and I've patiently watched him research and acquire the materials, and dip a toe into the waters of the Furry world by going to a FurCon.

    These suits are amazing. They arent what you expect. In fact the latest generation feature technology heavily. Heads-up displays/VR, animatronics, the eponymous LED strip, voice changers, you name it. And its growing. So much that, to a point, these suits are set to become an interface between the world and the person wearing it. Almost a wearable AI robot, that reads the behaviour of the wearer and retransmits it using the suit capabilities.

    I see inter-suit comms on the horizon, syncing of suits, in-world VR content...

    Think about it, since the 80s people have been avoiding VR because it requires an awful Spandex suit laced with sensors and a headset. Nobody but a complete nerd would walk around like that, and even though VR has become very detailed, it isnt yet an overlay over the real world, still an experience out of it.

    Well Fursuits can easily contain the required hardware, all thats needed are beacons in the real world so the overlay mtaches it. Its so close...

    That, and Doc's enthusiasm for this inspired me too.

    Name : Simeon.

    Species : G. Sapiens.

    Origin : Alterra, Xing Galaxy.

    Age : Unknown.

    Sex : Male.

    Orientation: Really?

    Occupation : Primate Council Special Operations Engineer.

    Location : Stranded on Urth.

    Mission Status : Mission compromised by Oooman authority figures. Monkeys, cant be trusted... Please send a detatchment for extraction.



  • Golf Code

    Morning.Star10/02/2018 at 22:28 0 comments


    My dear friend George invited me along to his favourite venue for the day. What can I say, now its mine too. There are few things more civilised for a man to do than challenge himself against physics using nothing but his wits and coordination just for the sake of it.

    Golf is such a game. I'd play it for a living if I could, but I'm not Tiger Woods, and it'd probably spoil it.

    I dont have the artistic temperament XD

     I might however have an opportunity to work with golfing, and thats far more fun. Tentacles crossed eh :-D

  • Here's Johnny

    Morning.Star08/01/2018 at 15:13 0 comments


    One of those days...

  • The Zombies Are Coming

    Morning.Star04/01/2018 at 08:28 1 comment

    Oh I had great dreams last night. Usually they dont make me wake up in a cold sweat at 4am, and usually I have to eat half a pound of cheddar for that anyway. Lamb shank in port wine gravy with a beer, it wasnt that either.

    Perhaps it was this.

    Aldi
    Credit for image Marbank 2018

    A consultant emailed me out of the blue with an offer of employment, which nearly fell through the cracks of my spam folder. This is the new Aldi opening soon just up the coast, and the consultant thought it would be perfect for me after finding my CV online.

    I'd registered it a long time ago, with one of the largest agencies in the UK. Three years ago in fact, and it occasionally gets nibbled. Nothing in a while though, until this one. I must thank the kind soul who reached out with it;

    48 hour week, 5 days - no weekends, so I'd be able to have Bea home. The wages sounded pretty good too, £20 an hour or thereabouts.

    Hang on a minute, they want me to run this place?

    Sounds like a great venue to survive the coming apocalypse, I'll take it. XD

    Happy 1st of April folks. Stranger things have happened on this day in history.

  • The Scales Of Justice

    Morning.Star02/28/2018 at 23:49 1 comment

    This is always the way of it, inspiration often comes from unexpected places.

    @Thomas Shaddack made an enthusiastic and worthy opponent until he encountered my Special Weapons Department lurking in the #Lasercutting Chat ... "Hail the Scales" said I, after learning from @Jarrett that Inkscape has Python based extensions, meaning I can integrate highly complex mathematics directly into my artwork among many other useful things.

    Thomas apparently does not care much for sophistry either, and has his eye on the rather mercenary pharmacalogical industry being a better educated chemist than I.

    I've never been 'envied greenily' before, so here's a little Alchemy for you sir;

    The Scales of Justice, crushing Big Pharma's little secrets.

  • Obsidian

    Morning.Star01/12/2018 at 07:39 0 comments

    Cthulhu Kitten

    This is one of my more complex pieces and deserves some explanation.

    @Arsenijs as usual, provided me with some inspiration, drawing as usual on the rich culture present on HaD.

    You guys... XD

    I found Hello Cthulhu while browsing around, I'd seen this once before in HackChat not long after I joined among the memes and laughed. No idea who that was but the image remained, and when I found it again, something clicked. I sketched it quickly, and knew immediately I had to explore it.

    To begin with there's a great pun on Love Craft, he's a hacker god lol. An ancient and powerful force in the palm of my hand - eldritch; neither good nor evil, but no more benign than the power of the Atom. Imagination, its a force all makers wield. ;-)

    Then there's the juxtaposition in the imagery. Is that a baby? An artist's eye sees thing others do not unless they are shown them, and I've deliberately introduced a hint of chubby arms and blankets, gumming the back of a hand if you dont look too closely, and there's the cute kitten eyes ( thanks @monsieurh ) but look again and he's relaxing and has an air of confidence; thats no baby, and those eyes have seen things that scare mortals witless.

    Speaking of which, I had a fucking horrible Christmas, and reached the end of my tether. Literally... I cracked off a doozy of a complaint to the local authority, and got a receipt for it assuring me a response within 14 days. Its now day 14, the day after my 51st Birthday, and the day I have set for unleashing hell - and they still have not bothered to respond. The day's not out yet though, and I am at heart an optimist.

    Just not with these ponces...

    I am aware of myself, few humans have managed to acquire a rack of skills like mine, but between them and greatness is a gulf called Autism, and a pack of bastards. This is what I got for Christmas. Hatred, for the first time in my life despite all that's gone before. Keep it up, and it will grow and feast upon their rotten carcasses.

    I cant carry that around though, and one of my gifts is the ability to crystallise an idea and give it form, breath life into it and set it free.

    So that is what I have done; created yet another monster to deal with monsters, and there's a lot of them around these days.

  • A Ballet of Mathematics

    Morning.Star11/18/2017 at 11:38 0 comments

    It isnt every day you get to break ground like this.

    Point Cloud Kinematics

    Since I was a child, I've read sci-fi and followed the pursuits of others as they attempted to bring robots to reality. All that time, ingenious people have thrown everything they had at making a robot stand, and balance on a foot so it can take a step. It took advances in hardware to do it, MEMS gyros and pressure sensors, faster processors and motors, and some horrendous trigonometric calculations coupled with programmed and learned responses.

    All these systems are mechanical and reactive, and where it's necessary to calculate the physics required to do something, its based around a unit of the mechanism - a servo or actuator, a sensor value, a known length of lever, a known weight. Some advanced systems compute trajectory and use a predictive model of the forces involved, but again they are all based on individual parts.

    To compute the centre of gravity of a simple regular object like a cylinder mathematically isnt hard, a complex one with manifolds is harder, and a compound one is damn near impossible unless you are a serious mathematician. I've never considered myself a mathematician, but I've managed to solve a mathematical riddle thats been p*ing off robot builders for decades, and with a simple equation based on a philosophy of mine.

    I hold that the universe isnt real per se. The atoms we can measure and assure ourselves of their reality practically dont exist when viewed at their level, they are nearly all space, and what isnt is made of bits too small to actually exist on their own, so it kind of begs the question for me about whether they are there at all and not just a figment of my perception. Well old Descartes also said, I think, therefore I am, and I know I'm here, so...

    It gave me the idea that the atoms themselves dont matter, they are universally identical and we even replace them within ourselves with others (Is that what alive is then, the process of reorganisation? Hmmm...) like oxygen, so it's the arrangement of them that makes something what it is, and not the atoms themselves. Information is stored by the atom's position relative to others, like the positions of atoms in DNA that make me look like me, and not like someone else.

    So, I realised then that the robot, viewed as atoms, would be easily calculable. To keep the numbers down, as atoms are so many, I made them 1mm cubes, and calculated mass from the surface of the robot using the width and height of the polygons, times the depth to get volume, and the density to give mass at any point of the robot.

    At this point, I realised that averaging atoms together to make virtual bigger ones eventually extrapolated into the polygons themselves, and the point-field created by them had mass that I could compute the centre of balance from by density. This calculation turned out to be so bloody simple it took a while to notice what I'd done with it, because not only does it ignore the angles of the parts of a mechanism, it cuts right across all complexity as if it isnt even there.

    You still need hideous trigonometry to calculate the skin of the robot, that model is a mathematical formula with integrals 15 levels deep, 16 if you count the photographically rendered surface I'm working on, to turn a ballet of mathematics into a perceptual model for my AI...

    I love that the image dancing away there exists only in my mind, and as an equation with parameters that define what shape it is when you see it, it isnt real - and yet, because its built the same way as a real thing is, it behaves like the real thing does.

    For me, this is evidence that you dont need atoms to be real, but you do need something. We just happen to have atoms around here...

  • Veel Dank

    Morning.Star05/25/2017 at 09:17 2 comments

    Hackaday is a great place for inspiration.

    Following my joining of #Internet of Condoms, I've begun a series of pop art pieces, meme styled and drawing on the dankness of the hardcore HaD culture I've encountered as a result.

    'Hackers' XD

    I love these halls. I can roam with my skin off and nobody minds, where I felt naked in the Book of Faces. And there's little to write about, or paint. Sport, politics, not my thing. Kim Kardashian, lol, even my display isnt wide enough to paint that...



    Born To Roll

    Not even the great @ActualDragon will tell me why 'Rick', but this is how he rolls. Deal with it :-)


    Optimus Yann

    @Yann Guidon / YGDES's energetic style and passion led to some bragging about the size of his dataset in HackChat.

    "Here's a large Prime for you"


    Internet Of Horn

    @Arsenijs also didnt do a very good job of keeping his head below the parapet; @Debargha Ganguly described us as a unicorn company.

    Arsenijs: "We are now =D


    Future Mucha

    This one is a little different.

    Legendary tattooist @David I. Herman and his partner in crime @Blake Ramsdell put a series of paintings together and etched them on circuit boards using @oshpark's service for the final art.

    Doz's paintings rendered in copper are stunning.

    'Origambee' was inspired by my work with #Cardware, and the name @Morning.Star was taken from one of the other pieces. Morning Star is the name for Venus when it rises in the East. ;-)

    Rendered to look like a tattoo, one of Mucha's Seasons as Muse.

    For Doz, thank you :-)


    Flying Ostrich

    Not everything works as well as I envision it. @benchoff posted a new project for his Gerber files named somewhat bizarrely as Flying Ostrich, and there was a small incident in Hackchat...

    I havent seen this image since I was 12 years old, it's a small piece of an Escher mural that my maths teacher had printed on a strip of paper that bordered the entire maths room. I detested maths at school, and spent a good deal of time staring at the images as they morphed into each other. This bit has angel-fish in the holes between the birds. I have also seen that lemon-yellow and white before somewhere. Hmmm...

    Escher drew a series of still-life drawings of metal spheres, containing reflections of him and his study among other things, including the face of an ostrich. Ahah, time for a bit of fun then.

    The idea behind the piece is a jet reflected in the ostrich's eye, mathematically perfect as only Escher could. It isnt clear however from the finished work just what goes into it:

    The jet is an outline I created in Inkscape from a reference photo. What I needed was a curved reflection of it that fits in the eye, so I applied a bit of maths to it.

    from math import cos,sin,atan as atn, sqrt as sqr
    from PIL import Image
    
    pi=atn(1)*4     # get pi to machine resolution
    d2r=pi/180      # degrees to radians
    r2d=180/pi      # radians to degrees
    
    def angle(sx,sy):                       # simple universal polar conversion
      if sx<>0: a=float(atn(abs(float(sy))/abs(float(sx)))*r2d) # theta = arctan opposite/adjacent
      if sx==0 and sy==0: a=0.0             # make sure infinity doesnt get in the way
      if sx>0 and sy==0: a=0.0
      if sx<0 and sy==0: a=180.0
      if sx==0 and sy>0: a=90.0
      if sx==0 and sy<0: a=270.0
      if sx>0 and sy>0: a=float(a)          # deal with quadrants; ATN returns 0-90 degrees
      if sx<0 and sy>0: a=float(180-a)
      if sx>0 and sy<0: a=float(360-a)
      if sx<0 and sy<0: a=float(180+a)
      return a
    
    def radius(sx,sy):
      r=float(sqr((abs(float(sx))**2)+(abs(float(sy))**2)))   # pythagoras
      return r
    
    srcim=Image.open('jet.png')             # get the source
    srcmap=srcim.load()                     # get the source pixmap into an array
    W,H=srcim.size                          # get the width and height
    maxr=radius(W/2,H/2)                    # get the maximum radius of curve
    
    dilate=60
    
    dstim=Image.new('RGB',(W,H),'black')    # make a new image to hold the curved copy
    dstmap=dstim.load()                     # get the dest pixmap into an array
    for row in range(H):                    # iterate all rows
      for col in range(W):                  # iterate all columns
        sr,sg,sb,st=srcmap[col,row]         # get the pixel at source col/row
        x=col-(W/2); y=row-(H/2)            # calc the new coordinate...
    Read more »

  • Mad World

    Morning.Star05/18/2017 at 06:24 1 comment

    I've loved this song ever since Gary Jules released his version of it as used in Donny Darko. Not really my kind of film, I have to say but I really dug the video it was released with as well as the song.

    I also liked the original Tears For Fears, but somehow didnt realise they were the same song. I havent heard it in a long time, or maybe I would have. My memory is visually based, so remembering entire sets of lyrics with their chords and performing them is difficult... My own guitar pieces I can remember, but I need a reference to perform the vocal ones...

    Anyway, I've been talking to @davedarko recently having joined #Internet of Condoms

    I mean WTF LOL...

    The legend said something about putting WiFi into condoms to integrate technology better into our lives. Seemed legitimate until I discovered this also involved blowing up a condom, among other things...

    However I'm never one to do anything by halves, as you may have noticed.

    So I spitballed a bit with the guys, and mashed up some of what we came up with into an idea I could work with, and Internet of Thongs was born...

    Using a pager vibe and an ESP-12, some Black Powder mixed with epoxy resin and a SMD explosive from Vishay the guys found, I came up with

    So far, nobody has even commented, apart from the guys. Thank you, and you're most welcome BTW :-)

    I guess I will never understand what serves humans for a sense of humour...


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ActualDragon wrote 03/01/2018 at 14:08 point

why do i keep getting messages saying that you "mentioned my project"?!? ugh, first world problems.

  Are you sure? yes | no

AVR wrote 03/01/2018 at 14:20 point

#ItsAFeatureNoteABug 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Morning.Star wrote 03/01/2018 at 17:03 point

Adam's right, I hashtagged lasercutting chat, if thats yours that would be why. Interesting that you 'keep getting' messages though, I only mentioned it once, although I corrected a typo and republished without showing in the feed. It could have sent you another notification for that too.

I'll link anything of yours in future AD, so that doesnt annoy you. ;-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

ActualDragon wrote 03/01/2018 at 17:36 point

nah, it's cool, the problem was that it was saying this was my project. whatever, doesn't really matter.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dr. Cockroach wrote 02/08/2017 at 17:16 point

I get a good feeling after playing Opus and Summers Eve. Will listen to End of Time this evening in full. I have downloaded from Youtube :-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Morning.Star wrote 02/12/2017 at 10:02 point

Hey Mark,

Thanks for the kind comments. I'm updating it when I have time, I just added another dimension to my work last night. I wish I could sing like this :-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

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