OCTAVES Music Upcoming Releases

Coming Soon 07.07.23

Genre / Subgenres: Rock, Alternative, Folk, Acoustic

Upcoming EP release 7.07.23 • Blue Shift Red Shift • recorded in The Wood Room at Real World Studios.

The title refers to the movements of light & life, the dynamics of growth & expansion, and to the shift between major/minor musical keys. There is a larger structure to the eventual full album. This cover photo of Comfrey I took near the studio in Box, UK —The title I had in mind well before arriving, then both red and blue flower was an amazing confirmation!

Pre-save on Spotify

Tracklist: Before The Dawn • Emergence • A Human’s World • The Soldier • Double Down

Out later this week

Also around the bend later this week is the single “The Endless Reflection“ for which the lyrics were a collab with the AI poetry system at the MIT Museum. The computer named the topics and then we traded lines. Although AI is of human origination and programming, there was something magical about the experience. I decided later that I would make the poem into lyrics. See below:

With AI at MIT Museum

Studio Shangri-La Art Of The Day: Tricolor Lupine Panel, sublimation on metal

Tricolor Lupine Panel

Today’s feature is new hi-tech botanical and especially exuberant for summer. This is made of a few photos of lupines and is another biosynergy-inspired layout.

Available Direct & in multiple formats + gear on:

Saatchi Art



Studio Shangri-La Podcast: Science + Philosophy — Trust The Body, Respect The Quanta

Open On Spotify

Interview On Powered Magazine: Sarah Ikerd — Unleashing Creativity as Owner of Studio Shangri-La


Check out the interview here.

Powered is a magazine “designed for individuals who are passionate about self-development, entrepreneurship, and business, and who are looking for practical advice and strategies to help them reach their full potential.”

Powered: “Unleash your creativity with Sarah Ikerd, the owner of Studio Shangri-La, as she shares her inspiring journey in an exclusive interview. In this captivating article, Sarah reveals her passion for art and the driving force behind Studio Shangri-La. Discover how she harnesses her creativity, overcomes challenges, and creates a space for artistic expression. From her unique artistic process to the impact of art on personal growth and well-being, Sarah offers valuable insights and inspiration. Whether you’re an artist seeking motivation or simply curious about the transformative power of art, this interview is a must-read. Click the link below to dive into Sarah’s world and unlock your own creative potential.”

Quantum Biology + Computer Science: Photosynthesis, Quantum Coherence & Constructive Noise

Trumpet Vine Grid by Studio Shangri-La

 “Nature isn’t classical, dammit, and if you want to make a simulation of nature, you’d better make it quantum mechanical, and by golly it’s a wonderful problem, because it doesn’t look so easy.” — Richard Feynman 

Photosynthesis is an amazingly efficient and fast circular process of energy conversion that’s evolved in bacteria and plants over billions of years. And it’s being actively researched on a numbers of different fronts for technological benefit, from creating high performance solar cells to more recently, better understanding and applying quantum mechanics. 

There’s a growing body of not too surprising evidence supporting that plants already invented quantum computing. This occurs during the ultrafast conversion of solar to chemical energy. This is electronic, as in referring to electron transfer and maintaining electronic coherence. (1)

Here’s an important aside mention: The burgeoning field of Quantum Biology that takes an open systems approach, tells us that there are also many quantum processes occurring within us. For example, quantum tunneling within protein structures, and as related to eyesight and sense of smell. 

Back to Quantum Coherence — This involves extended superposition, or being in different places states at once, and the entanglement of waves allows for extremely fast to instantaneous transfer of information and correlations, which is of course much desired for advances in complex computing.

Photosynthesis and associated quantum coherence is a natural ability of most of the plant kingdom at ambient temperatures. However thus far for the most part, the human tech world has designed quantum computers that must operate qubits, or quantum bits, at very cold temperatures.


The photosynthetic equivalent of the qubit could be the chlorophyll, that rapidly share information and possibilities through “exciton” or virtual photon states. The natural light-harvesting systems of plants can remarkably – and with excellent efficiency – utilize the electronic excitation of light with resonant energy transfer in different environments, including the harshest in the world. (2)

In quantum computing thus far, qubits are largely superconducting metallics or atoms from metals. There are also photonic qubits made of light in development, and qubits are being stimulated by lasers. However, these systems are occurring in isolated environments such that any noise or disturbance becomes a problem. 

What if sought after “light-addressable molecules” could be plant-based or influenced by the genius of photosynthesis? (3) It could be illuminating to also consider the behavior of light-catching chromophores and organic molecules such as NADPH. 

Next, what is especially interesting and relevant to quantum computing is how wise nature makes use of noise — which yet furthers that idea that everything has a purpose and nothing is truly extraneous. “Noise-assisted quantum transport” facilitates quantum transfer, bridge gaps and block less ideal paths.(1) Photosynthesis makes favorable use of noise and works in tandem with environmental fluctuations and degrees of freedom. 

There’s a lot more to say and investigate on this topic but for now, in conclusion: Bio-influenced computing, possibly recreating a version of the natural light harvesting complex, could be a very promising avenue for making quantum technology work. And researchers here at Boston University agree, “that photosynthetic circuits could unlock new technological capabilities. Their work is showing promising early results.” (4)

  1. “Environment-assisted quantum transport,” Quantum Effects In Biology, Mohseni et al, Cambridge University Press, 2014. (Main reference source)
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Förster_resonance_energy_transfer

3. https://www.innovationnewsnetwork.com/molecules-respond-light-build-qubit-systems-quantum-computers/10691/

4. https://www.bu.edu/articles/2022/photosynthesis-and-quantum-computing-technology/

Star Core I & II by Studio Shangri-La

Conceptual abstract photography on the expression of light / photons, for me a form of reverence. This is duo is also formed from light reflections on metal. The abstraction imagines thermonuclear fusion, awesome cosmic power, and imagining stars as vast data transmission centers, since light carries information. I’m also inspired by my ongoing studies both independent and through MIT Professional Education.

Available direct and through TurningArt.

Fabricate::Recreate — Mixed Media In The Studio

My latest mixed media in progress is titled “Fabricate::Recreate.” It’s a large 6’x3’x2” double repurposed, terraced canvas.

The work is about the enjoyment and open-endedness of creation, how one thing or material can become another and keep on morphing.

And everything has an underlying and even overlying fabric.

The title also refers to the re-cyclical process of creation. In this case specifically, using repurposed materials including fabrics from clothing. You can the central “FAB” which can stand for fabric, fabricate or fabulous, as in fashion.

This piece has a couple more fun layers to go. So far it is gesso, fabric and acrylic. It’s definitely the largest and heaviest piece I’ve produced yet.

Like my first mixed media, “Alchemy Sun,” this too is about transformative process. Unlike that one, progress is moving along more quickly! With these paintings, I learn a lot about materials and what in my view works.

Space + Technology: Advanced Propulsion For Interstellar Travel


With a very promising 5,347 exoplanets and counting reported to NASA, the next question is: How do we get to them anytime soon? How do we expand humanity’s evolution into deep space? Respect to Earth of course, but our numbers are growing, and we’re due to explore the vast cosmos. The answer is to develop more advanced spacecraft and means of propulsion or travel, which is key. Let’s take at look at a few promising systems among many, both theoretical and already in use.

Ion Thruster

The first is electric propulsion, specifically Ion Propulsion. This is achieved by accelerating ions using electrostatic forces (and solar panels) to create thrust. A few NASA missions including the Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres, have successfully put this technology to use. The most recent NASA ion propulsion mission is DART or Double Asteroid Redirection Test. NASA JPL cites IPS as being “faster, cheaper and safer” than chemical rockets and further development continues to improve performance. There are many NASA references, though it should be well acknowledged that more and more countries are participating in advancing space technology.

Zachman style diagram of hypothetical NASA Ion Propulsion spacecraft mission

The next type of propulsion is still very much in the experimental phase and that is EmDrive, or using electromagnetic waves to directly create thrust. That means there’s no need for propellant! Although the mechanism of EmDrive or “resonant cavity thruster” is not widely understood, it is nevertheless starting to achieve results, thus pushing science and technology into new physics.


Although some sources describe this fuel-less thruster as “mythical” or “impossible,” NASA Eagleworks and the Limitless Space Institute were working on development. Although seemingly at a halt, the use of electromagnetism is a strong concept that should not be abandoned. Perhaps the futuristic work of Nikola Tesla ought to be consulted, if it isn’t already. His last patent was a spaceship that used “anti-electromagnetic field drive.”


The next interstellar candidate is Photonic or Laser Propulsion, based on existing technologies. The high level idea here is to fire a laser at a reflective surface, and the photons of the laser generate energy and momentum. It’s currently supported by Breakthrough Starshot and the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program for probes and other spacecraft. Laser propulsion “…could theoretically beam a heavy spacecraft to outside the confines of our Solar System in less than 5 years – a feat that took the historic Voyager 1 probe 35 years to achieve.”


Before focusing on the last method of this article, here are a couple of other propulsions under development: Pulsed Fission-Fusion (PuFF) Propulsion, Antimatter Propulsion.

The most theoretical and advanced method of this bunch is Warp Drive, inspired by science fiction. Though, often science fiction becomes science fact, because every technology that comes into being starts as an idea. The basic concept is of Warp Drive is warping space-time, contracting space in front of the craft and expanding space behind it, using exotic matter and energy to create a bubble of sorts. There are several methods of achieving warp, warp options, both superluminal and subluminal, under development. Let’s be honest — the supposed superluminal or faster than light options are the most exciting, because they would accelerate us into spectacular discovery faster.

And what exotic matter and energy could break the “cosmic speed limit?” Possibly the theoretically faster-than-light tachyons and neutrinos. Both are subatomic particles. Neutrinos, though, are known to be produced by a variety of nuclear processes and reactions. And this relates to the possibility of Fusion Drive as well.

Tachyons, it’s been said, contradict the known laws of physics. However, these “laws” are based on human observation and understanding of nature SO FAR. There should always be room for diversity of viewpoints and the expansion of knowledge, and that comes with a measure of humility and bowing down to the great mystery. Why wouldn’t we want Tachyons to exist? Perhaps Tachyons are part of the quantum family of particles. Perhaps they are a bridge between special relativity and quantum mechanics. Anything faster than light -or ubiquitous and interconnected- would be a potential source for developing deep space crafts and propulsion.

In conclusion, fast travel through the cosmos will likely be achieved by some flights of imagination, and pushing the envelope of known physics. It’s important to remember that “can’t” and “never” won’t lead to groundbreaking innovation and incredible discoveries, and as always —

“Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be known.” ~ Carl Sagan

Studio Shangri-La on Boston’s Best Bogosplit.com

Philodendron 24”x36” polypropylene matte banner w/ grommets

New partnership alert! Studio Shangri-La by Sarah Ikerd is now on Bogosplit.com, named one of Boston’s Best Retailers in 2022.

Here’s the link: https://www.bogosplit.com/store/studio-shangri-la/

So far there are 24×36” and 18×24” banners, 11×14” framed prints and a large painting.

Studio Shangri-La By Sarah Ikerd on TurningArt & Society6

Grandiflora • Studio Shangri-La By Sarah Ikerd

I’m happy to partner with both TurningArt and Society6. Here are the links to the storefronts:

Studio Shangri-La By Sarah Ikerd on TurningArt

TurningArt is prints of various types and is more geared towards commercial and residential projects, including rentals and digital.

Studio Shangri-La By Sarah Ikerd on Society6

Society6 offers an interest variety of both prints and accessories. I’ll continue adding to both catalogs.

New In April/May: The Corsham Black & Whites + The Locks

I had a wonderful recording trip to Real World Studios in Box, Corsham recently and there was also excellent opportunity for photography. The European Beech lives on the grounds of Real World, and the second one is from nearby public Lovar Garden with nature trails. Both are looking quite evocative here in the mist. This is rural UK and literally Harry Potter country, as in near where some of it was filmed. The closest well-know city is Bath, about 45 minutes away. There are more black & whites from the bunch, which I’ll be posting on the portfolio page. To place an order please reach out in the Contact page. And there are more shop updates to come!

The Locks are based on photos taken close to home, and named for the waterway area adjacent to Draw 7 Park. The inspiration for the configuration is infinity knots – Celtic knots even – and the idea of security, construction elaborate mechanisms to keep things protected or keep things out. There’s a deep rumination there should one choose or want to engage in it, especially in these post-pandemic times of self protection, which is quite understandable. My experience of life through art is always teaching me, prompting me to look deeper into understanding. Recently I was at a tech conference in which cybersecurity was a major topic, and one or two of the speakers referred to “keeping the bad people out.” And it made me wonder on the need for such things, from the days of castles and the Celts, of how invasive and protective tendencies have nevertheless created amazing architectures.

Studio Shangri-La Fine Art • Spring Deco Florals

Celebrating the bright warmth around here with local florals. In a modern deco scheme reminiscent of windows, these colorful works fancifully bring nature indoors. Available in large format and for high resolution download.

The Botanic Panels • Studio Shangri-La Fine Art Feature

Palm Lines Wave

There are many examples of the Botanic Panels in the Studio Shangri-La catalog. For more examples, please see below and also the Portfolio page. Admittedly, the catalog needs some updating! These are inspired by the Art Deco and Arts & Crafts movements. For further info, please use the Contact page.

Nature’s Abstraction • Studio Shangri-La Fine Art Photography

Today’s theme is abstraction in nature, and abstract ideas and forms being birthed from nature. DISPERSION is marbleized pollen in water. This effect can be achieved with paint, yet nature is the original artist.

Sci-Art By Studio Shangri-La

These selections express scientific concepts — from quantum physics to photosynthesis, from electronic signal noise to photonics, nanotechnology and quantum computing. High resolution downloads, customizations and commissions available.