A few days ago, I shared a video entitled Thru Tokyo, featuring a collection of sounds from various Tokyo-based musicians. One image in particular caught my attention – that of a man wearing a light-blue outfit, holding what seemed to be a musical note with a smiley face on the end of it.
Disarm is an exhibit by sculptor Pedro Reyes, transforming decommissioned weapons into musical instruments. Extending a prior project where he converted over 1,000 guns into shovels, Reyes brings new life to these devices that were (once upon a time) designed to take lives.
Boil the Frog is an interesting, dynamic playlist generator whose goal is to get you from Point A to Point B… without you ever knowing it. The app takes its name from the old anecdote of how a frog, when placed in a slowly heated pot of water, will eventually be cooked to death as a result of not noticing the temperature shift.
The Wheelharp is a keyboard instrument that lets you actually play up to 61 strings (that’s 5 octaves to you and me). Using a wheel to bow the strings, the device sounds a lot like a stringed instrument – letting you control the sound through things like the bowing speed, altering the pitch, and adjusting the volume through a dampening pedal.
I’ve been considering getting an acoustic guitar for some time now. Over a year, easily. More than two years, possibly. I like the idea of playing music again, and quite honestly… singing a little. I sing from time to time, but I do so kind of in secret – either in the shower, or when I’m in the apartment alone. The act of singing a song I like brings me great pleasure, but the thought of “performing” for other people doesn’t quite elicit the same response.
When shifted into a major key, everything sounds much more upbeat, happier. And the disconnect that happens in your brain is a kind of delightful thing, with you comparing what you’re hearing with the version you remember. The sensation is what I imagine a Prozac-forced smile to feel like.
It was fun spotting many folks, from back when we used to work in the Q101 offices at the Merchandise Mart. In addition to seeing a lot of EI folks (AJ, Mike, Brian, Sandra), it was a nice surprise to see so many familiar faces that I hadn’t seen in many, many years.
For those not familiar with the backstory, the book is all about WKQX – Q101 Chicago, a station that saw the rise of Alternative during the 90’s and early 2000’s. James has been planning this book for a long while, and launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2011, attracting over 350 backers who pledged nearly $15,000 to make the book happen.
Between 1969–1972, Howard Smith recorded interviews with scores of rock stars and cultural icons. As a Village Voice columnist and radio personality on WPLJ FM, Smith sat down for revealing, personal conversations with Eric Clapton, Andy Warhol, Jim Morrison, Buckminster Fuller, Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia and Hugh Hefner, to name just a few.
You can check out samples via both sites, if you’d like to hear a bit of each track. I’ve been a fan of Dan’s music for a while now, and played his first album pretty incessantly. I’m delighted to be able to hear his voice again, and I hope you’ll give his songs a listen.
Just found out that there’s a new version of Incredibox up – a Flash-based, looping sound project that’s an awful lot of fun to play around with.
The past two weeks, I’ve been listening pretty incessantly to Portugal. The Man. In particular, their album The Majestic Majesty (which is basically all acoustic versions of the songs on their album The Satantic Satanist).
I’ve been looping “Who Are You This Time,”by Tom Waits all morning as I was working. Favorite lines of the whole song, that makes my toes curl every time I hear it:
Baroque.me is a wonderful visualization of the first Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suites. It’s quite soothing and hypnotic, if you’re content to let it alone to play. You can also grab each of the orbiting dots and disrupt the song (temporarily, until the project re-adjusts to the original tempo).