Another new mix from Deejay Rhiannon.  She was over here at my home-studio less than two weeks ago, having her latest mix-set Suck My Tech mastered by me.

Deejay Rhiannon – “Suck My Tech”…

Artist: Deejay Rhiannon
Title: Suck My Tech (DJ mix set)
Year: 2010
Comment: Mastered by Hashmoder (Omar Hash)

Deejay Rhiannon – “Suck My Tech” (mp3) (link path)


From Rhiannon to you…


(DJ Veronica) thinks this is “the most hilarious mix she’s ever heard.”  And she’s heard some weird shit.  I didn’t mean for it to be “funny” really, but quirky, ok sure.  Perhaps this is my reverse-psychological reaction to the monotonous obnoxious drone that is mainstream music here in California where I recorded this recent mix.  Ok, I shouldn’t generalize.  There is plenty of great underground music to be found here.  I just haven’t found it yet.  At least not in LA; San Francisco, no problem.  Perhaps that’s why I was intuitively more drawn to the Golden Gates than the Hollywood Hills.  Speaking of which, I almost called this mix “Holly wood If She Could.”  Why?  Well maybe I feel like Holly, who would play funkier, heavier, more complex music in L.A. if she could; that is, if she didn’t fear being boo’d off the stage by a ravenous horde of Kanye West & Beyonce worshippers.  Now don’t get me wrong, I like Beyonce and many other top 40 artists, but I also like AC Slater, Klaus Hill, and Bjork.  Am I a freak of nature?  Is it some special gift to have the capacity to appreciate more than one or two genres of music?  Or is it that the majority of people have unwillingly let themselves be ear-fucked by the hypnotizing effect of excessively repetitious radio airwaves?


Hashmoder himself asked me to write a little something about what this mix means to me, and how I put it together, etc.  The truth is that I actually never planned on making a new mix at the time; I was just testing out my Vestax CD-RW recorder to see if it survived the move.  I warmed up after a few mixes and off I went.  None of the tracks were put in order or play-listed together prior to recording the mix.  For me, the magic happens when I get completely pulled into the music and let everything else go.  At that point, I trust my intuition to lead me to the next track, and so on.  Sometimes I select a song and for a split second think, “Crap! This is not going to work!!” — but I go for it anyway.  More often than not I’m pleasantly surprised.  In fact I discovered the live mash-up of Cicada’s “Things You Say” with Dubfire’s “Roadkill while I was playing a gig in Mexico City.  Ok, I have to make a side-note here: Mexicans PARTY.  And they love good house music.  Apparently the Governator is worried about the immense influx of Mexican immigrants to California.  If this is the case, Please tell me where they are exactly so I can open up a club smack in the middle of their makeshift American Zocalo!  I’ve yet to find their level of enthusiasm & passion for underground house music in California.


Self-explanatory really!  Meant to be more humorous than anything.  I admit there is a tad bit of “fuck you” in there somewhere… probably to all the people who give me appalling song requests.  And to my dear old dad who hasn’t spoken to me since he heard the shocking news that I shot a Playboy centerfold (download PDF file) to advance my career.  Come on pops, it was no secret!  If you bothered to glance at your daughter’s website once a decade you might have had a heads-up!  Anyway, the real truth is, “I’m just a lady bug.”  ;)  Thank you Larry Tee for explaining it so well.  How this track relates: I love the entertainment industry and all the contrived glamour, name-dropping, and beautiful bullshit that comes with it, but it’s what I do, not who I am.  It’s a character I play, and that I adore certainly, but I try to separate my exterior identity — the social identity that can be recognized, used, and altered by people you don’t even know — from my interior identity — the unique identity that is mine and mine only to share with whom I choose.  And in this case my public identity is that which I’ve created for my career: Playmate, DJ, Lyricist, etc.  My private identity, the person I am when I’m at home, is similar to the one described in that song (Lady Bug is the 6th track).  Anyway, Eckhart Tolle explains this stuff far more eloquently than I.


Very telling of the new DJ culture I find myself in.  I trained myself as a House Mouse DJ in Vancouver.  Long, seamless mixing was the goal, averaging 4 minutes or more per track usually, creating a smooth, fun vibe on the dance-floor.  Since being exposed to a far more hip hop-inclined DJ scene my sets have become progressively busier, more compact and faster-paced.  It’s a new style from that which I’m used to, but I’m enjoying the challenge.  Averaging less than 3 (sometimes 2) minutes per track, I can’t help but think this style is representative of the A.D.D. generation that we DJs are now serving.  The film industry entertains the same public; and mainstream film producers continue to develop bigger/better/busier movies using technology, not to mention smoke-&-mirrors, to keep its audience’s attention and distract them from their nagging restlessness.  I think us DJs are being faced with the same challenges, at least those of us that serve the mainstream crowds (unfortunately I am sometimes one of them).  In this DJ culture quick-fingered Turntablists are gods.  But I’m holding my own the best I can.  ;)  The little underground house DJ lost in Hollywood… .

I never got into depth about what each track or blend means to me.  I suppose that’s because I didn’t release record this for myself.  I did it for the pleasure of my friends and fans, like every other mix.  I’ll use it for promotional purposes of course, but ultimately it was inspired by the simple desire to feel a certain way:  funky, bouncy, dirty, fun, sexy, thoughtful… ?   As long as it affects the people that listen to it in some way I’ve done my job. So ENJOY!!  And finally, HUGE THANKS to Hashmoder for mastering this mix like Cesar Milan masters bad-ass bitches, with ease and prowess.   Thank you Omar!!!!!

Rhiannon Photo Gallery…


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DJ Rhiannon over my studio tonight (May/22/2009) on my keytar. I'm mastering her latest mix "Big Saucy Bangers). She was featured in March 2009 edition of Playboy .... centerfold.
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Hashmoder's studio (mine).
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DJ Rhiannon over my studio tonight (May/22/2009) on my keytar. I'm mastering her latest mix "Big Saucy Bangers). She was featured in March 2009 edition of Playboy .... centerfold.
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DJ Rhiannon over my studio tonight (May/22/2009) on my keytar. I'm mastering her latest mix "Big Saucy Bangers). She was featured in March 2009 edition of Playboy .... centerfold.
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DJ Rhiannon over my studio tonight (May/22/2009) on my keytar. I'm mastering her latest mix "Big Saucy Bangers). She was featured in March 2009 edition of Playboy .... centerfold.
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DeeJay Rhiannon’s Current & Previous Mix-Sets…

CLICK HERE to view all of Rhiannon’s mix-sets listed in one page

We Go In, We Kill!

I cannot get enough of this South Park’s spoof of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.  Trey Parker and Matt Stone are truly the funniest people on the planet.  Watch the Mad-Max-2 clip first and read the subtitles.  Then watch the SouthPark’s spoof-clip about the “Road Warrior” queef and read the script below the video, in order to compare the two by subject-matter and skewed context.  Oh what comic relief!  I am a religious follower of Matt and Trey’s comedy.

“Mad Max 2: Road Warrior” clip…

South Park “Road Warrior Queef” clip from episide-1304…

Nooo! We go iiin! We kiiill! No more talk! We kiiill! Soon, my dog of war, but we have to do it my way. [switches to another voice] Losers! Losers wait!

South Park’s take on Martha Stewart’s pretty queef…

Acoustic Levitation

I came across a YouTube video which shows a demonstration of various objects levitating by way of magnetic and sound frequencies generated from acoustic speakers. The video’s author, Dr. David Deak, gave the following information on the video and experiment:

This is an acoustic levitation chamber I designed and built in 1987 as a micro-gravity experiment for NASA related subject matter. The 12 inch cubed plexiglas Helmholtz Resonant Cavity has 3 speakers attached to the cube by aluminium acoustic waveguides. By applying a continuous resonant(600Hertz) sound wave, and by adjusting the amplitude and phase relationship amongst the 3 speakers; I was able to control levitation and movement in all 3 (x,y,z) axis of the ambient space. This research was used to show the effects of micro-gravity conditions that exist in the space shuttle environment in orbit, but done here on Earth in a lab. This is not “anti-gravity.” So don’t waste time arguing something pointless.

Acoustic Levitation Chamber…

How Acoustic Levitation Works…

Wilson, Tracy V.  ”How Acoustic Levitation Works.”  February 06, 2007.

Unless you travel into the vacuum of space, sound is all around you every day. But most of the time, you probably don’t think of it as a physical presence. You hear sounds; you don’t touch them. The only exceptions may be loud nightclubs, cars with window-rattling speakers and ultrasound machines that pulverize kidney stones. But even then, you most likely don’t think of what you feel as sound itself, but as the vibrations that sound creates in other objects.

The idea that something so intangible can lift objects can seem unbelievable, but it’s a real phenomenon. Acoustic levitation takes advantage of the properties of sound to cause solids, liquids and heavy gases to float. The process can take place in normal or reduced gravity. In other words, sound can levitate objects on Earth or in gas-filled enclosures in space.

Acoustic levitation allows small objects, like droplets of liquid, to float.

Photo courtesy Lloyd Smith Research Group
Acoustic levitation allows small objects,
like droplets of liquid, to float.

To understand how acoustic levitation works, you first need to know a little about gravityair and sound. First, gravity is a force that causes objects to attract one another. The simplest way to understand gravity is through Isaac Newton’s law of universal gravitation. This law states that every particle in the universe attracts every other particle. The more massive an object is, the more strongly it attracts other objects. The closer objects are, the more strongly they attract each other. An enormous object, like the Earth, easily attracts objects that are close to it, like apples hanging from trees. Scientists haven’t decided exactly what causes this attraction, but they believe it exists everywhere in the universe.

Second, air is a fluid that behaves essentially the same way liquids do. Like liquids, air is made of microscopic particles that move in relation to one another. Air also moves like water does — in fact, some aerodynamic tests take place underwater instead of in the air. The particles in gasses, like the ones that make up air, are simply farther apart and move faster than the particles in liquids.

Third, sound is a vibration that travels through a medium, like a gas, a liquid or a solid object. A sound’s source is an object that moves or changes shape very rapidly. For example, if you strike a bell, the bell vibrates in the air. As one side of the bell moves out, it pushes the air molecules next to it, increasing the pressure in that region of the air. This area of higher pressure is a compression. As the side of the bell moves back in, it pulls the molecules apart, creating a lower-pressure region called a rarefaction. The bell then repeats the process, creating a repeating series of compressions and rarefactions. Each repetition is one wavelength of the sound wave.

The sound wave travels as the moving molecules push and pull the molecules around them. Each molecule moves the one next to it in turn. Without this movement of molecules, the sound could not travel, which is why there is no sound in a vacuum. You can watch the following animation to learn more about the basics of sound.

Click the arrow to move on to the next slide.

Acoustic levitation uses sound traveling through a fluid — usually a gas — to balance the force of gravity. On Earth, this can cause objects and materials to hover unsupported in the air. In space, it can hold objects steady so they don’t move or drift.

The process relies on of the properties of sound waves, especially intense sound waves. We’ll look at how sound waves become capable of lifting objects in the next section.

The Physics of Sound Levitation

A basic acoustic levitator has two main parts — a transducer, which is a vibrating surface that makes sound, and a reflector. Often, the transducer and reflector have concave surfaces to help focus the sound. A sound wave travels away from the transducer and bounces off the reflector. Three basic properties of this traveling, reflecting wave help it to suspend objects in midair.

First, the wave, like all sound, is a longitudinal pressure wave. In a longitudinal wave, movement of the points in the wave is parallel to the direction the wave travels. It’s the kind of motion you’d see if you pushed and pulled one end of a stretched Slinky. Most illustrations, though, depict sound as atransverse wave, which is what you would see if you rapidly moved one end of the Slinky up and down. This is simply because transverse waves are easier to visualize than longitudinal waves.

Second, the wave can bounce off of surfaces. It follows the law of reflection, which states that the angle of incidence — the angle at which something strikes a surface — equals the angle of reflection — the angle at which it leaves the surface. In other words, a sound wave bounces off a surface at the same angle at which it hits the surface. A sound wave that hits a surface head-on at a 90 degree angle will reflect straight back off at the same angle. The easiest way to understand wave reflection is to imagine a Slinky that is attached to a surface at one end. If you picked up the free end of the Slinky and moved it rapidly up and then down, a wave would travel the length of the spring. Once it reached the fixed end of the spring, it would reflect off of the surface and travel back toward you. The same thing happens if you push and pull one end of the spring, creating a longitudinal wave.

Finally, when a sound wave reflects off of a surface, the interaction between its compressions and rarefactions causes interference. Compressions that meet other compressions amplify one another, and compressions that meet rarefactions balance one another out. Sometimes, the reflection and interference can combine to create a standing wave. Standing waves appear to shift back and forth or vibrate in segments rather than travel from place to place. This illusion of stillness is what gives standing waves their name.

Standing sound waves have defined nodes, or areas of minimum pressure, and antinodes, or areas of maximum pressure. A standing wave’s nodes are at the heart of acoustic levitation. Imagine a river with rocks and rapids. The water is calm in some parts of the river, and it is turbulent in others. Floating debris and foam collect in calm portions of the river. In order for a floating object to stay still in a fast-moving part of the river, it would need to be anchored or propelled against the flow of the water. This is essentially what an acoustic levitator does, using sound moving through a gas in place of water.

Acoustic levitation uses sound pressure to allow objects to float.

Acoustic levitation uses sound pressure to allow objects to float.

By placing a reflector the right distance away from a transducer, the acoustic levitator creates a standing wave. When the orientation of the wave is parallel to the pull of gravity, portions of the standing wave have a constant downward pressure and others have a constant upward pressure. The nodes have very little pressure.

In space, where there is little gravity, floating particles collect in the standing wave’s nodes, which are calm and still. On Earth, objects collect just below the nodes, where the acoustic radiation pressure, or the amount of pressure that a sound wave can exert on a surface, balances the pull of gravity.

Objects hover in a slightly different area within the sound field depending on the influence of gravity.

Objects hover in a slightly different area within the sound field,
depending on the influence of gravity.

It takes more than just ordinary sound waves to supply this amount of pressure. We’ll look at what’s special about the sound waves in an acoustic levitator in the next section.

Nonlinear Sound and Acoustic Levitation

Ordinary standing waves can be relatively powerful. For example, a standing wave in an air duct can cause dust to collect in a pattern corresponding to the wave’s nodes. A standing wave reverberating through a room can cause objects in its path to vibrate. Low-frequency standing waves can also cause people to feel nervous or disoriented — in some cases, researchers find them in buildings people report to be haunted.

But these feats are small potatoes compared to acoustic levitation. It takes far less effort to influence where dust settles or to shatter a glass than it takes to lift objects from the ground. Ordinary sound waves are limited by their linear nature. Increasing the amplitude of the wave causes the sound to be louder, but it doesn’t affect the shape of the wave form or cause it to be much more physically powerful.

However, extremely intense sounds — like sounds that are physically painful to human ears — are usually nonlinear. They can cause disproportionately large responses in the substances they travel through. Some nonlinear affects include:

  • Distorted wave forms
  • Shock waves, like sonic booms
  • Acoustic streaming, or the constant flow of the fluid the wave travels through
  • Acoustic saturation, or the point at which the matter can no longer absorb any more energy from the sound wave

Nonlinear acoustics is a complex field, and the physical phenomena that cause these effects can be difficult to understand. But in general, nonlinear affects can combine to make an intense sound far more powerful than a quieter one. It is because of these affects that a wave’s acoustic radiation pressure can become strong enough to balance the pull of gravity. Intense sound is central to acoustic levitation — the transducers in many levitators produce sounds in excess of 150 decibels (dB). Ordinary conversation is about 60 dB, and a loud nightclub is closer to 110 dB.

Other Uses for Nonlinear Sound

Several medical procedures rely on nonlinear acoustics. For example, ultrasound imaging uses nonlinear effects to allow doctors to examine babies in the womb or view internal organs. High-intensity ultrasound waves can also pulverize kidney stones, cauterize internal injuries and destroy tumors.

Levitating objects with sound isn’t quite as simple as aiming a high-powered transducer at a reflector. Scientists also must use sounds of the correct frequency to create the desired standing wave. Any frequency can produce nonlinear effects at the right volume, but most systems use ultrasonic waves, which are too high-pitched for people to hear. In addition to the frequency and volume of the wave, researchers also must pay attention to a number of other factors:

  • The distance between the transducer and the reflector must be a multiple of half of the wavelength of the sound the transducer produces. This produces a wave with stable nodes and antinodes. Some waves can produce several usable nodes, but the ones nearest the transducer and reflector usually not suitable for levitating objects. This is because the waves create a pressure zone close to the reflective surfaces.
  • In a microgravity environment, such as outer space, the stable areas within the nodes must be large enough to support the floating object. OnEarth, the high-pressure areas just below the node must be large enough as well. For this reason, the object being levitated should measure between one third and half of the wavelength of the sound. Objects larger than two thirds of the sound’s wavelength are too large to be levitated — the field isn’t big enough to support them. The higher the frequency of the sound, the smaller the diameter of the objects it’s possible to levitate.
  • Objects that are the right size to levitate must also be of the right mass. In other words, scientists must evaluate the density of the object and determine whether the sound wave can produce enough pressure to counteract the pull of gravity on it.
  • Drops of liquid being levitated must have a suitable Bond number, which is a ratio that describes the liquid’s surface tension, density and size in the context of gravity and the surrounding fluid. If the Bond number is too low, the drop will burst.
  • The intensity of the sound must not overwhelm the surface tension of liquid droplets being levitated. If the sound field is too intense, the drop will flatten into a donut and then burst.

This might sound like a lot of work required to suspend small objects a few centimeters off of a surface. Levitating small objects — or even small animals — a short distance might also sound like a relatively useless practice. However, acoustic levitation has several uses, both on the ground and in outer space. Here are a few:

  • Manufacturing very small electronic devices and microchips often involves robots or complex machinery. Acoustic levitators can perform the same task by manipulating sound. For example, levitated molten materials will gradually cool and harden, and in a properly tuned field of sound, the resulting solid object is a perfect sphere. Similarly, a correctly shaped field can force plastics to deposit and harden only on the correct areas of a microchip.
  • Some materials are corrosive or otherwise react with ordinary containers used during chemical analysis. Researchers can suspend these materials in an acoustic field to study them without the risk of contamination from or destruction of containers.
  • The study of foam physics has a big obstacle – gravity. Gravity pulls the liquid downward from foam, drying and destroying it. Researchers can contain foam with in acoustic fields to study it in space, without the interference of gravity. This can lead to a better understanding of how foam performs tasks like cleaning ocean water.

Researchers continue to develop new setups for levitation systems and new applications for acoustic levitation. To learn more about their research, sound and related topics, check out the links on the next page.

Other Levitator Setups

Although a levitator with one transducer and one reflector can suspend objects, some setups can increase stability or allow movement. For example, some levitators have three pairs of transducers and reflectors, which are positioned along the X, Y and Z axes. Others have one large transmitter and one small, movable reflector; the suspended object moves when the reflector moves.

Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links


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  • Anilkumar, A.V. et al. “Stability of an Acoustically Levitated and Flattened Drop: An Experimental Study.” Center for Microgravity Research and Applications, Vanderbilt University. 7/16/1993.
  • Choi, Charles. “Scientists Levitate Small Animals.” LiveScience. 11/29/2006.

  • Choi, Charles. “Sound Waves Hold Heavy Metal Aloft.” Science Now. 8/2/2002.
  • Clery, Daniel. “Technology: Suspending Experiments in Thin Air.” New Scientist. 4/25/1992. suspending-experiments-in-thin-air-.html
  • Danley, et al. U.S. Patent 5,036,944. “Method and Apparatus for Acoustic Levitation.” 8/4/2001.
  • Daviss, Bennett. “Out of Thin Air.” New Scientist. New Scientist. 9/1/2001.

  • Eastern Illinois Department of Physics: Acoustic Levitation

  • Fletcher, et al. U.S. Patent 3,882,732. “Material Suspension in an Acoustically Excited Resonant Chamber.” 5/13/1975.
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  • Mark F. Hamilton, “Nonlinear acoustics”, in AccessScience@McGraw-Hill,, DOI 10.1036/1097-8542.455450, last modified: April 18, 2003.
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  • Strauss, Stephen. “Look Ma, No Hands.” Technology Review. August/September 1988.
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  • University of Idaho: Acoustic Levitation AcousticLevitation/levitated_water_droplets.htm
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