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Sci-Pop: Latest Singles

Sci-Pop: Latest Singles

By Neal Anthwal

If there's one thing we love (I say "we love", but I mean "I love") it's science cropping up in "the arts" and "popular culture", whatever those words actually mean. Starting this week we'll (I say "we'll"...) be compiling a list of any sciencey things, no matter how tenuous, in any newly released UK singles.

What with the iTunes-led death of the music single being heralded by all the trend watchers, it just goes to show that I'm once again on the cutting edge of the Zeitgeist of UK popular culture music scene...

We kick off with Amylase by Cajun Dance Party

Science? This one is an absolute gift. Amylases are genuine enzymes (biological catalysts) with important roles in physiology. No spurious links here, ho ho ho, no siree bob . The amylases (there are three different classes, alpha, beta and gamma) are enzymes that breakdown boring old starches into tasty, tasty glucose. You produce alpha amylase in your pancreas to break down starch in your intestine and in your saliva so you can even start to produce glucose from starch whilst you chew. Beta amylase is produced by plants, including ripening fruit, to break down their starches to sweet glucose. I'm not 100% sure what gamma amylase does. Something in the liver. Possibly to do with glycogen. Anybody?
(see a picture of amylase)

Is is any good? La la la, jingle jangle, nice middle class boys and girls with messy hair, trendy jeans and guitars. So far, so hip and down with the kids (gah, I'm getting old). "We need a catalyst" they sing. Ah, but which catalyst would you like? Since they're running through the countryside I can only assume they must mean beta amylase, to ripen all that grain. "You're the catalyst that makes things faster, amylase will dry out the plaster". Huh? Amylase does what? How? Who? Where? Gah, I'm sure I'd know if this was balls if I'd just sat my GCSEs, as they have. Oh to be a teenager again. But not me when I was a teenager. Oh to be a popular, cool and attractive teenager.

Buy this at the Null shop. Sorry, no dollars this time.

They Made Frogs Smoke Til They Exploded
by Múm

Science? Obviously Múm have been reading this research, "Adaptation of an amphibian mucociliary clearance model to evaluate early effects of tobacco smoke exposure" by Zyas and colleagues in the journal Respiratory Research, and then added they exploding bit to make it more exciting. Well done Múm for championing esoteric research articles that observe how bullfrog palates are affected by tobacco smoke.

Is is any good? Yes! It's like the happy dreams of a Texas Instruments' Speak & Spell. Except the bit in the video where the kitten's head is ripped off. That's just odd.

Buy this at the Null shop. Sorry, no dollars this time.

Find more music reviews or more from Neal or more from the Null:

Do stuff - Add to our Sci-Pop Hall of Fame
Fear stuff - Making music with fire
Make stuff - Composing with proteins
Learn stuff - Revise to Ravel and Study with Schubert

Talk Sci-Pop at our Facebook group.

Image: Cajun Dance Party

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10 Feb 2009
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