This poster has written this Metafilter post of music specially to introduce you to the instruments of the orchestra. There are four teams of players; the STRINGS, the WOODWIND, the BRASS, and the PERCUSSION. Each of these four teams uses instruments which have a family likeness. They make roughly the same kind of sound in the same way. The STRINGS are played with a bow or plucked by the fingers. The WOODWIND are blown by the breath. The BRASS are blown too. The PERCUSSION are banged. Now we have taken the whole Orchestra to pieces. We have no intention of putting it together again. [more inside]
At the vanguard of the neo-classical metal genre in the 1980's was the singular Jason Becker, a young guitarist who was known for his progressive compositions (slyt) and technical prowess (slyt; yes, that's a yo-yo; yes, he's yo-yoing and playing guitar at the same time). Following a stint in Cacophony with Marty Friedman and the release of his solo album Perpetual Burn, Becker was recruited by David Lee Roth to replace the departing Steve Vai on the upcoming album A Little Ain't Enough. Just one week after joining the band, Becker's meteoric trajectory was reversed in dramatic fashion with the diagnosis and sudden onset of Lou Gehrig's Disease. [more inside]
First Church of the Last Laugh. You may already be a member.
The Portsmouth Sinfonia to return? In 1974, Gavin Bryars rounded up a group of novices and enthusiastic amateurs, called them the Portsmouth Sinfonia and let them loose in a recording studio. The result: some of the most disturbing classical music ever committed to tape. Intrigued by the concept, the legendary Brian Eno signed up and played clarinet for the orchestra, adding a certain star cachet to the cacophony. On the back of sympathetic TV coverage, there followed a now-legendary concert at London's Royal Albert Hall. Thirty years later, there are plans to release Portsmouth Sinfonia's output on compact disc by way of celebration. A brazen attempt for quck laughs and publicity, a serious exploration of entropy in the musical medium, or simply an early entry in the torture tape experiment?
Creative misuse and abuse of musical tools with a lot of examples
Frank may have not updated Cacophony.com in ages, but it's still very funny stuff if you haven't seen it before. Some of my favorite entries include this one, this one, this one, and this one.