20+ drones; 16,500 LEDs; 3 shamisen players; 1 Mt. Fuji: Filmmaker Tsuyoshi Takashiro orchestrates a performance combining drones and the Oyamakai shamisen ensemble.
The Leap: The Improbable Transformation of a Punk Pioneer (mp3) - "James Williamson is a successful tech executive who's been working in Silicon Valley for decades. But it turns out Williamson had a secret, something that no one working with him knew. He was a pioneer in a type of music that is about as far from the tech world as you can get." [more inside]
Mention Vocaloid, and most people think of this. But this is also a Vocaloid. As is this, and this. (warning: Youtube-heavy) [more inside]
How does Shazam recognize music? Christophe Kalenzaga sifts through an old research paper (pdf) by Shazam's founder and conducts a short (written) course in signal processing, acoustics, Fourier transformations, and fingerprinting music. [more inside]
Violinist Kevin Yu has invented a high-tech tux shirt. The Coregami Gershwin incorporates athletic wear principles and technology to bring symphonic musicians' formal wear into the 21st century.
Thirty years ago this month, Dire Straits released their fifth album, Brothers in Arms... For the first time, an album sold more on compact disc than on vinyl and passed the 1m mark. How the compact disc lost its shine - the rise and fall of the CD
There's somehow a notion out there that women don't make their own electronic music. In a recent interview with Bjork in Pitchfork, she brought up an instance of sexism she's dealt with for decades: journalists hardly ever credit her with composing and producing her own music. Since she's not being photographed in the studio working at her computer, the men she collaborates with end up getting all the credit. She cites MIA and Missy Elliott as other examples of this phenomenon. The tumblr female:pressure attempts to counteract this. "Here we offer a visual catalogue of female producers, DJ’s, media artists and electronic music Performers at work. These are not our press photos. This is a collective effort to demonstrate women and their use of technology in music and media production." It's also just a fantastic collection of electronic musicians, many of whom have been overlooked. Further discussion from Create Digital Music.
The Nordic Society for Invention & Discovery has brought never-before-seen and totally exclusive technologies into the world, such as the Aaltopuck (an ice hockey puck modeled after Alvar Aalto's Savoy Vase), the Flower Shell (a shotgun shell that shoots seeds into the ground), the Wall of Sound (an 8000-watt iPod dock) and No More Woof (a device that wraps around your dog's head and translates his or her brain waves to computerized speech).
Don't fight it. It's the year of the oral history. If there hasn't yet been an oral history on your favorite pop culture phenomenon, it won't be long. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, how about starting with an oral history of Captain Marvel: The Series? Or perhaps you'd rather read about The Telluride Bluegrass Festival? If your taste runs more toward technology, check out an oral history of Apple design. More reading inside! [more inside]
Best known for creating the nostalgic mash-up REMEMBER series (previously), Youtube user Thepeterson teams up with Slackstory to create another video clip time machine: REMEMBER 1994
The Philips CD-i was a unique blend of CD player and gaming console, with "interactive" playback capabilities. The only completely interactive music CD for the platform was released by Todd Rundgren in 1993. A reference guide for everything CD-i can be found here.
Airing in 1979, The New Sound of Music was a BBC documentary which depicted and demonstrated the history of recorded and manipulated music, from the earliest paper rolls to electronic synthesizers and the cutting and manipulation of tape. [more inside]
"If you’re not getting it wrong really a lot when you’re creating imaginary futures, then you’re just not doing it enough."
Wired talks to William Gibson: on Why Sci-Fi Writers Are (Thankfully) Almost Always Wrong, on Twitter, Antique Watches and Internet Obsessions, and and on Punk Rock, Internet Memes, and ‘Gangnam Style’.
In the wake of their grunge-y breakout hit "Creep" and the success of sophomore record The Bends, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead were under pressure to deliver once more. So they shut themselves away inside the echoing halls of a secluded 16th century manor and got to work. What emerged from that crumbling Elizabethan castle fifteen years ago today was a shockingly ambitious masterpiece of progressive rock, a visionary concept album that explored the "fridge buzz" of modernity -- alienation, social disconnection, existential dread, the impersonal hum of technology -- through a mosaic of challenging, innovative, eerily beautiful music unlike anything else at the time. Tentatively called Ones and Zeroes, then Your Home May Be at Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Payments, the band finally settled on OK Computer, an appropriately enigmatic title for this acclaimed harbinger of millennial angst. For more, you can watch the retrospective OK Computer: A Classic Album Under Review for a track-by-track rundown, or the unsettling documentary Meeting People is Easy for a look at how the album's whirlwind tour nearly gave Yorke a nervous breakdown. Or look inside for more details and cool interpretations of all the tracks -- including an upcoming MeFi Music Challenge! [more inside]
Composer Samson Young leads an impromptu iPhone orchestra in one of his pattern sequencer compositions at the 2009 Hong Kong Biennale, and once more here at the Hong Kong Art Fair 2010.
Earlier this year, the BBC's Arena produced and aired an excellent documentary on Brian Eno entitled "Another Green World" containing "a series of conversations on science, art, systems analysis, producing and cybernetics". [more inside]
Acousmata is a unique music blog devoted to "idiosyncratic research in electronic and experimental music, sound and acoustics, mysticism and technology" with special focus on the early history of electronic music.
185 singers, 12 countries, one conductor -- all online. Grammy-nominated composer and conductor Eric Whitacre put out a call for singers on his blog in July of 2009. He then posted the conductor track for his piece "Lux Aurumque" and gave instructions, including how to audition for the brief soprano solo. Recordings trickled in on YouTube over the next few months until the January 1 deadline; the results were posted on March 22. [more inside]
The Free Art and Technology (F.A.T.) Lab is an organization dedicated to enriching the public domain through the research and development of creative technologies and media. You may know them from such projects as How to build a fake Google Street View car, public domain donor stickers, internet famous class, the first rap video to end with a download source code link, or their numerous firefox add-ons (such as China Channel, Tourettes Machine, or Back to the future). FAT members have been hard at work standardizing various open source graffiti-related software packages, including Graffiti Analysis, Laser Tag, Fat Tag Deluxe and EyeWriter [previously] to be GML (Graffiti Markup Language) compliant. Fuck Google. Fuck Twitter. FuckFlickr. Fuck SXSW. Fuck 3D. FAT Lab is Kanye shades for the open source movement.
Blip Festival happened just this weekend in Brooklyn. Chiptune geek, but couldn’t make it? The YouTube videos are starting to appear. Here's an internet approximation of the festival. If you just want a quick overview, a prepared playlist. [via]. [more inside]
Last year we discussed a recently discovered 10-second audio recording from 1860 that was thought to be the oldest known recorded human voice, a girl or woman singing the 18th century French folk song “Au Clair de la Lune”. Turns out, it was being played too fast - slow it down and it's the voice of the inventor himself. As well, a number of other recordings have been found, pushing back the oldest recording to 1857. Hear it all on NPR (5-min). [more inside]
Dorkbot is a "monthly meeting of artists (sound/image/movement/whatever), designers, engineers, students, scientists, and other interested parties who are involved in the creative use of electricity." Started in NYC in 2000 by Douglas Repetto, Director of Research at the Columbia University Computer Music Center as well as one of Wired's 10 Sexiest Geeks, there are now dozens all over the world. Past presenters have been featured here on the blue. For instance Jeff Han presented his multi-touch interface at dorkbot-nyc in April of 2006. Miru Kim presented her naked city spleen at dorkbot-nyc in October of 2006. Bummed that there's not one in your own city? Start your own! [more inside]
RjDj "is a music application for the iPhone. It uses sensory input to generate and control the music you are listening to. RjDj is mainly listened to with headphones. Think of it as the next generation of walkman or mp3 player." l Michael Breidenbruecker initiated the project, now joined by a team of musical and technological thinkers and coders l "What it’s really about is a new approach to how to listen to music, how to develop musical tools, and how communities own and share that work." [more inside]
"Next-generation loudspeakers could be as thin as paper, as clear as glass, and as stretchable as rubber." Making sound from heat and vice versa is nothing new, but a flat loudspeaker sure would be cool, provided nothing goes wrong. [previously.]
"So, that’s my long and winding history of a little postcard from the Upper West Side of Manhattan!" Suzanne Vega writes about writing the hit song Tom's Diner, coping with its numerous remixes, and its part in the birth of the MP3 music compression format.
Having seen their profits eroded to filesharing networks and Itunes, the major labels have a new plan: Go back to physical media.
The first known recording of a digital computer playing music, recorded by the BBC in 1951. The music played on a Ferantti Mark 1, one of the first commercial general-use computers, and was entered via punchtape and played on a speaker usually used for making clicks and tones to indicate program progress.
Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison
The history of the Phonoautograph. A technology in which you can still buy stock.
The history of the Phonoautograph. A technology in which you can still buy stock.
Edward Samuel's Illustrated History of Copyright A fascinating illustrated historical tour, looking at how different technologies have shaped how we think about copyright and intellectual property.
The Digital Freedom Campaign believes that new technologies are essential to the creativity and innovation, and that digital technology enables anyone and everyone to be an artist and an innovator. The DFC is dedicated to defending the rights of artists, innovators, creators and consumers to use lawful technology free of unreasonable government restrictions and without fear of costly lawsuits.
"It doesn't even need a conductor, and there is not even any need for rehearsals together. Each instrumentalist receives sheet music and a disc with the sound track to which he will be linked during the concert, and that way he can practice at home, by himself; and then they come straight to the concert and play freely, whatever they want. A sound that is random as opposed to planned, a precise pitch for a note, as opposed to a false note, that's what leads the work. And here, toward the end, order gradually prevails". Arik Shapira talks about his new concerto for piano and orchestra.
Traditionally, (video) a DJ uses two turntables, but recently a series of new products has challenged the primacy of vinyl. While local record shops have been closing left and right, online stores have begun offering digital downloads. One digital-only outlet recently sold their 1,000,000th mp3. And now, a new store has taken the DJ completely out of the equation by making mix cds on demand.
iPod Coffee Table created by a Toronto design student
Buying Rare Race Records in the South. Music That Americans Loved 100 Years Ago. The Cheney Talking Machine. Just three among dozens of amazing articles about early recording machines and American popular music at the astonishingly detailed site of Tim Gracyk, author of Popular American Recording Pioneers: 1895-1925. Scroll down for bios of forgotten stars, including Nora Bayes - who performed in the Follies of 1907, before Flo Ziegfeld's name became part of the title, George W. Johnson - "the most important African-American recording artist of the 1890s," and piano player Zez Confrey, whose sheet music for the 1921 hit "Kitten on the Keys" sold over a million copies and became "the third most-frequently recorded rag in history."
iTunes Music Store users can listen to the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to, Blogging, Deadlines, How to be cool, and Technology. And various other cash-in tracks.
Meet the new Walkman. 20GB HD, 25 minutes of cache for skip-free playing. Works with Sony's Connect music service. Sharp-looking little player.
Pro and con arguments about the iPod. The Pro argument: It changes our relationship to music. It creates an in-group marked by instantly recognizable white earbuds. The Con argument: It changes our relationship to music. It creates an in-group marked by instantly recognizable white earbuds.
"The Band uses unique instrumentation: the music is performed using obsolete computer equipment for instruments. Currently they are using a 1977 Atari 2600 game console, a 1986 portable 286 PC, a 1983 Commodore 64 computer, and a 1985 Epson dot matrix printer."
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