Jan 9, 2018
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The Ghost in the Machine (2018)

 

keyboard

While the airwaves are filled with news that computers are vulnerable to the Meltdown and Spectre attacks, something incredible happened deep inside my own Yamaha synthesizer.

I have been playing on this keyboard since 2002 without a glitch. Last year, after a gig, I mentioned to someone that my synth was a workhorse; after fifteen years of composing and playing music, it was still going strong. That must have been the signal for something to go wrong. Suddenly, the up and down arrows stopped working. Without these, I lost access to crucial functions in my workstation. I contacted a local electronic service center and brought the keyboard in for an emergency visit. The technician found that one of the PCM boards was not working and a replacement part was purchased from Japan. After weeks of waiting, the part finally arrived and the keyboard was healed. This renewed vitality was more like a short remission as the arrows soon lost their power for a second time. I brought the keyboard back to the shop but nothing else could be done. My beloved sound-making machine looked like it would never be the same.

The keyboard still worked, it just wasn’t what it used to be. As time went on, I learned how to live within its reduced capabilities. Then a few days ago, I turned it on, selected the piano voice and started to play, but the machine seemed to have another idea in mind. It kept cycling through voices and parameters. The yellow, red and green lights on the controls were flashing on their own. I tried to regain control but was unable. In desperation, I hit the surface of the keyboard with my fist to power it off. I thought this could be the death rattle of it, the end of music.

I waited a few seconds and turned it on again. The lights flashed once more, the names of voices on the LED window kept cycling around and around. And then, all of a sudden, all of that madness stopped. I looked at the keyboard as if it was a wild animal, unsure if it was going to jump at me or burst into flames, but nothing happened. I touched the keys; the piano was there. I played a little something. Everything sounded okay. Then I noticed that the up and down arrows were working! I played some more, accessing things that were not optional since the breakdown. I was shocked. I thought that these reemerging sounds might be the last to come out of my machine; if I closed it, it might die. I was afraid to power it off, so I played all day thinking that it was the last day.

Then, at some point, when I was ready, I shut it down. I waited a few minutes and put it on again. It was still working, and it is still working now, days after the incident. I don’t know what happened, maybe the ghost in the machine decided to make a move, or a speck of micro dust stuck under something fell off when I hit the keyboard. What do I know of the secret lives of microprocessors? Maybe I will never know, but for the time being I am ecstatic, enjoying the return of the way things were.

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Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel H. Dugas a participé à des expositions individuelles et de groupe ainsi qu’à plusieurs festivals et événements de poésie en Amérique du Nord, en Europe, au Mexique et en Australie. Everglades, coécrit avec Valerie LeBlanc, vient de paraître aux Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel H. Dugas is a poet, musician, and videographer. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as festivals and literary events in North America, Europe, Mexico and Australia. His tenth book of poetry, co-written with Valerie LeBlanc, Everglades has just been published by Les Éditions Prise de parole.

Everglades
À partir de leur exploration du parc national des Everglades, Daniel H. Dugas et Valerie LeBlanc cartographient dans cet essai poétique les effets de la présence humaine sur le milieu naturel, les traces qu’elle y dépose. Everglades est une ode à la beauté, à la fragilité et à la résilience d’une nature aux prises avec une espèce envahissante, la nôtre.

Everglades
Through their exploration of the Everglades National Park, Daniel H. Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc document, in this poetic collection, the effects of human presence in the natural world and the traces left behind. Everglades is an ode to the beauty, the fragility and the resilience of nature faced with the invasiveness of a particular species, ours.

Date : Mars 2018
Genre : Poésie
Collection : Poésie
ISBN : 9782897441029
Français/English

Éditions Prise de parole

http://www.prisedeparole.ca/auteurs/?id=1148

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