Thursday, December 31, 2009

Say, Have You Met Lydia / Lydia, the Tattooed Lady

Yes, I have a tattoo. And yes, it is music-themed. It is nerdy, but then again, so am I - and I've got nothing on these people:

(Please note that I had to go through a lot of pictures of seriously questionable body parts to get these for you. I hope you are appreciative.)

(so many more music tattoos)

You're My Favourite Book

is "electronica fusion" by Massimo Fiorentino - and their first album is inspired by Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle! Each song corresponds to a different section of the book.
I am so excited, I've pulled my copy off the bookshelf and put Minimalism: Origins on hold (sorry, Edward Strickland).

You can download the album for free here, or listen to full previews at

The Bagman's Gambit

Carnegie Mellon University offers a bagpipe major. Seriously. The CMU School of Music makes bagpipers practice in the basement of another building, but it's legitimate.
(The sound of bagpipes always make me want to join a gathering crowd in the dead of night and walk barefoot in single-file procession. Oh, wait: been there, done that. Carleton, you are something else.)

Nick Howard, the only graduating bagpipe major in America in 2009, shows you how it's done:

(CBS article, 2006)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Real Men

Kay Stiefermann

Norman Garrett


Barihunks: "This site is dedicated to any hunk who sings in the baritone and bass/baritone range. Singers must be professional, semi-professional or serious students with real potential."

Be still my heart.

I Can Do Anything You Can Do / Better

I've been reading Susan McClary, so... I'm on a music-feminism kick again.
Cheryl is a beat boxing champion - and she's a girl. (In case that wasn't obvious.)

(Me, I can't even whistle properly.)

Breathe And Sing Along / Should I?

Kamraan Z. Gill and Dale Purves from Duke University have a new study:
"A Biological Rationale for Musical Scales."

Here's the abstract:
Scales are collections of tones that divide octaves into specific intervals used to create music. Since humans can distinguish about 240 different pitches over an octave in the mid-range of hearing, in principle a very large number of tone combinations could have been used for this purpose. Nonetheless, compositions in Western classical, folk and popular music as well as in many other musical traditions are based on a relatively small number of scales that typically comprise only five to seven tones. Why humans employ only a few of the enormous number of possible tone combinations to create music is not known. Here we show that the component intervals of the most widely used scales throughout history and across cultures are those with the greatest overall spectral similarity to a harmonic series. These findings suggest that humans prefer tone combinations that reflect the spectral characteristics of conspecific vocalizations. [italics added] The analysis also highlights the spectral similarity among the scales used by different cultures.

You can read the rest of the article here.
How wonderful! Plus, now you can walk around and talk (relatively) knowledgeably about "conspecific vocalizations."

(via Deric Bownd's MindBlog)
(special thanks to M.Burns)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

You're the Piano Man

In which: Li Jian redesigns the doorbell. Play some tunes while you wait!

(via trendhunter)

There's A Drumming Noise Inside My Head

Drum machines, drum machines: Moby, how did you get to be the bee's knees?

(via Gizmodo)

Three Little Birds / Sat On My Window

Jenny Lind.
What. A. Babe.
They called her "The Swedish Nightingale" for her clear soprano voice. Mendelssohn and Chopin both had little crushes. Hans Christian Anderson? Madly in love with her. She was the star of the world premiere of Verdi's "I masnadieri," she toured America with P.T. Barnum, she founded and funded music scholarships.
And she has a soup named after her:

Jenny Lind Soup
(recipe from soupsong)
1/4 cup diced rutabaga
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock
4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
1/4 tsp sage, crumbled
1/2 cup heavy cream, heated
salt and white pepper
1 egg, separated, with egg white whipped to stiff peaks

Stew the rutabaga in water until completely soft, then mash completely. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour, and cook into a roux for several minutes. Whisk in the stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Whip the egg whites and set aside.
When about ready to serve, whisk the cheese, rutabaga, and sage into the soup. Cook over medium heat for a couple minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the heated cream. Season to taste. Last, whisk in the egg yolk and pour into soup plates, topping with a spoonful of the beaten egg whites.

Wow. That sounds sort of disgusting.

(more on wikipedia)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Kitchen Song

And here's Mr. Cage mucking about the kitchen, making noises, talking about Yoko Ono and vegetarianism. All in a day's work, my friends.

I Get Words All Day Through / First From Him, Now From You

Three words beginning with "melo-":

melologue: recitation with musical accompaniment
melomania: passion for music beyond all reason
melopoeia: the art of forming melody

The man and his guitar set up shop in the Jackson station of the red line train, performing melologues in return for small change and commentary on the melopoeia. What a melomaniac!

(I wrote that example sentence for you myself - it is meant to be descriptive with just a touch of irony.)

(via Phrontistery)

I Don't Care What You Say / Baby, Talk To Me

TED talks. They're great for just-graduated types. Keeps us sharp. Sharp like knives.

In this one, Evan Grant spends five minutes walking us through the basics of cymatics - the process of visualizing sound. Turns out, cymatics has been instrumental in researching dolphin language, and Grant has some interesting ideas about the relationship between sound-shapes and the natural world.
Plus, Grant acknowledges that these pictures make for beautiful art all on their own. (Check out the visualization of Beethoven's Ninth at about 3:00.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Does That Make Me Crazy / Probably

Music Swims Back To Me
by Anne Sexton

Wait Mister. Which way is home?
They turned the light out
and the dark is moving in the corner.
There are no sign posts in this room,
four ladies, over eighty,
in diapers every one of them.
La la la, Oh music swims back to me
and I can feel the tune they played
the night they left me
in this private institution on a hill.

Imagine it. A radio playing
and everyone here was crazy.
I liked it and danced in a circle.
Music pours over the sense
and in a funny way
music sees more than I.
I mean it remembers better;
remembers the first night here.
It was the strangled cold of November;
even the stars were strapped in the sky
and that moon too bright
forking through the bars to stick me
with a singing in the head.
I have forgotten all the rest.

They lock me in this chair at eight a.m.
and there are no signs to tell the way,
just the radio beating to itself
and the song that remembers
more than I. Oh, la la la,
this music swims back to me.
The night I came I danced a circle
and was not afraid.

(via famouspoetsandpoems)

Red Red Wine / It's Up To You

Mark Beaman creates wines specially blended to evoke taste-images of particular rock bands and songs. Every bottle features a label with album art and "liner notes" so you and your friends can wax philosophical about why that spicy vanilla flavor is the perfect complement to "Great Gig in the Sky."

From the Wines That Rock website:
With classic tracks from The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and The Woodstock Festival blasting in the cellar, our winemaker crafted custom wines for each of these legendary brands - blending one-of-a-kind wines with Rock ‘n Roll mythology.

(This would be great for my I-don't-know-much-about-wine-let's-pick-the-bottle-with-the-prettiest-label aesthetic.)

(via trendhunter)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Take It From Me / It's Hip to be Square

That's Marvin. Marvin Rosen. He's very dapper and he does all sorts of cool new-music things, but I'm currently excited about tomorrow's annual 24-hour broadcast Viva 21st Century (Women Composers Edition)!

Sunday, December 27, 7pm (EST) - Monday, December 28, 7pm (EST)
Featuring recent works (since 2000) by women composers from all over the world.

Here's the WPRB live stream.

(via Sequenza21)

I Got My Swim Trunks / And My Flippie-Floppies

"I may be drunk Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly."
- Winston Churchill

"I'ma buy you a drank, I'ma take you home with me."
- T-Pain

So you see, somehow it seems appropriate that the Prime Minister's 1941 speech has been autotuned.

Bonus: Charlie Bit Me autotuned.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let It Snow

Saks 5th Ave NYC does the Holidays right.
The 50 giant snowflakes are made out of 72,000 LED bulbs that twinkle in time to a special arrangement of "Carol of the Bells" wafting onto the street over loudspeakers.
Musical window dressings? 'Tis the season!

Who Am I To Disagree?

ASCAP has released its list of the "Top 25 Holiday Songs of the Decade." Where "songs" means "music written by ASCAP members," and "top" means "most performed." Which apparently means "played on the radio." (It's all a little unclear.)


1. Winter Wonderland (Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith / Eurythmics)

2. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) (Mel Tormé, Robert Wells / Nat "King" Cole)

3. Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish / The Ronettes)

4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin / The Pretenders)

5. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie / Bruce Springsteen)

Clearly it's time for a Holiday Dance Party.
(ASCAP article)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ring of Fire

I get an e-mail from a friend with a single youtube link. Here, I'll recreate it for you:

(And for those of you who are lazy about clicking through links:)

What?! I exclaim. Somebody made a music-photo slideshow of Carleton's "Piano Burning" performance?
You didn't know about that? my mom asks. That was your brother.


(special thanks to Bethany. And to Jake. Who would like you to know that he doesn't usually play music like this, please see youtube inset.)

Ain't Misbehavin' / I'm Savin' My Love For You

How To Behave
by Samuel Wells

(A Pocket Manuel of Republican Etiquette, and Guide to Correct Personal Habits,
An Exposition of the Principles of Good Manners; Useful Hints on the Care of the Person, Eating, Drinking, Exercise, Habits, Dress, Self-Culture, and Behavior at Home; the Etiquette of Salutations, Introductions, Receptions, Visits, Dinners, Evening Parties, Conversation, Letters, Presents, Weddings, Funerals, the Street, the Church, Places of Amusement, Traveling, etc.,
Illustrative Anecdotes, a Chapter on Love and Courtship, and Rules of Order for Debating Societies.)

Fowler and Wells Co., 1887


When music commences, conversation should cease. It is very rude to talk while another person is singing or playing.

A lady should never exhibit any anxiety to sing or play; but if she intends to do so, she should not affect to refuse when asked, but obligingly accede at once. If you can not sing, or do not choose to, say so with seriousness and gravity, and put an end to the expectation promptly. After singing once or twice, cease and give place to others. The complaint is as old as the days of Horace, that a singer can with the greatest difficulty be set agoing, and when agoing, can not be stopped.

In playing an accompaniment for another, do not forget that it is intended to aid, and not to interrupt, and that the instrument is subordinate to the singer.

When a lady is playing, it is desirable that some one should turn the leaves for her. Some gentleman will be generally at hand to do this, but unless he be able to read music, his services may as well be dispensed with.

(Page 78)

First Train Home / I've Got To Get On It

As it turns out, I really dislike The Sound of Music. Sure, you should see it once, it's a movie classic etc. etc. - but at this point in my life, I'm perfectly happy to resign it to dusty corners of my parents' video cabinet. Forever.

That being said: if I heard a techno Julie Andrews song, you can bet I would start dancing too.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Only Thing To Do Is Jump Over the Moon

What a gig.
Tenor Marcello Bedoni flew to Lancashire this past May just to give a concert to these cows. Why? Because Frank Frederick was re-opening his 100 year old gelato brand and wanted to follow his grandfather's original recipe to a T. And that included singing to the cows - soothing arias by Giordano and Puccini, not that "rousing" stuff by Wagner.

For you skeptics, it seems there's some scientific evidence behind all this; the Dairy Advisor to the NFU has commented: "Soothing sounds or music can reduce stress and induce relaxation and a healthy, contented cow is likely to produce more milk."
Or, we could all head to Northfield for a beer. HEY!

(via the Telegraph)

Perfection As a Hipster

You're walking down the street in your skinny jeans, thick-rimmed glasses, over-sized headphones, and you're thinking to yourself: if only I had a hipster shirt to go with this outfit...

The Yellow Bird Project is a young Montreal-based non-profit that 1. raises money for charities by selling t-shirts designed by indie rock bands, 2. raises awareness for those charities through the artists' endorsement, and 3. picks up on some great new bands. Each webpage says a little bit about the shirt, a little bit about the band, and a little bit about the charity.

Par Example (French, because this is based in Canada, eh?):

Stars / Le Chaînon Women's Shelter

Grizzly Bear / Brighter Planet

The National / Safe Space

Plus: the Indie Rock Coloring Book. (Secretly you know you want it. I do.)

(more bands/charities/shirts here)

Shine on, Crazy Diamond

That is a Kuhn-Bösendorfer, the most expensive piano in the world.

Let's talk stats:
First introduced March 2009
7' 4"
100,000 hand-cut, lead crystal jewels

In all its glory:

The 9' 6" ($3.5 mil) is also available upon request. (Just in case you haven't already bought my Christmas present.)

(via most-expensive)

Monday, December 21, 2009

We Go Together / Like Ramalamalama

(via someecards)

I Wanna Dance With Somebody

The older they get, the more pride they take in their dancing skill(z).

So says a new study by the University of Hertfordshire's Doctor of Dance, and how can I argue with that?

Isn't It Cold Out in Space, Bowie?

So, I've been doing a little research just in case I ever have to switch to my back-up profession. (That would be: astronaut.)
If I'm going to sit (float?) in a space station all day, I'd like to play a little music please.

Turns out, music in space is practically de rigueur. Any instruments you send up have to be put through serious safety checks, and then there's always the question of how to get the instrument to stay in one place while you play it, but that's nothing astronaut Ed Lu can't handle:

Bonus: Bowie in Space

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Like a Rolling Stone

It's the Sunday before we all scatter to our respective family-homes. My roommate is making cookies, I'm aimlessly flipping through the channels looking for a holiday movie when I stumble upon - "Handel's Messiah Rocks!"

The Official Website calls it "a contemporary oratorio in three parts over ninety minutes...melding Handel's original work for orchestra and voice with the contemporary vernacular of rock."

I'm not sure I totally buy it, but it's entertaining in small doses: Hallelujah!

Music and Imagination

Dear Eleanor Stewart,
This is amazing.
If I were going to create a senior project using stop-motion animation to the tune of "Hoedown" from Aaron Copland's Rodeo Suite, this is exactly how I would do it.

Hoedown from Rodeo from Eleanor Stewart on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Got My Blueprint Electronic

Pictures for Sad Children by John Campbell. It makes me laugh.

If You Wear That Velvet Dress

Alyce Santoro makes Sonic Fabric - 50% cotton, 50% recycled audiocassette tape. Already pretty cool, but the best part is that you can play it like an instrument. If you run a tape head along the surface of the fabric, you can hear whatever was pre-recorded into the weave (her special mix includes everything from punk bands to ocean surf to the Beatles to Pachelbel). She originally got the idea from little bits of cassette tape used as wind-indicators on sailboats and from the wind-activated blessings inscribed on Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags.

Yes, I would wear that (velvet) dress.

John Fishman (from Phish) playing Sonic Fabric:

(the newest way to wear sonic fabric: a fedora)

Friday, December 18, 2009

I've Been a Polar Bear Since the Day I Was Born

We humans like to write songs. Songs about love, songs about loss, songs about fame, songs about polar bears. Obviously.

Music by Tom Ruggs, Video by Daniel Zatz

(via arborath)

Look Out You Rock 'N Rollers

The world's largest Early Music Shop is located in West Yorkshire. (A bit of a hike.)
Luckily, you can peruse most of their (crazy, old, crazy old) instruments online - and some of the entries even provide sound samples.
What kind of instruments, you ask?

How about a Moeck R03 Crumhorn Tenor?

Or a Hanchet Shawm Spanish Alto in C?

Winds aren't your thing? The Paris Workshop Flemish Single Harpsichord kit allows you to build your own instrument.

And I'll leave you with the EMS Keyless Serpent.

(Lute lessons in January!)

Songs for a New World

I found a roommate on Craigslist, but Gabriel Kahane found inspiration.
Craigslistlieder is an art-song cycle that takes it texts from funny/witty/poignant ads the composer found on Craigslist.

I: You Looked Sexy
II: I'm Sorry
III: Half a Box of Condoms
IV: Neurotic and Lonely
V: Today I Met...
VI: For Trade: Assless Chaps
VII: Two Years Ago, My Sister And I... (Some Dipshit Through (sic) Out My Bottle)
VIII: Opera Scene

(you can download/listen to the cycle for free here)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Care of Cell 44

Oh, David Bowie: felony pot possession.
The Smoking Gun has mug shots of all the musicians you'd expect (Bobby Brown? DMX? John Mayer?) and maybe some you wouldn't.

Billie Holiday: drugs.

Frankie Valli: skipping out on his hotel bill.

Wynonna Judd: drunk driving.

And what have we learned? Nobody is attractive in a mug shot.
(more musician mug shots here)

The Art Teacher

Tilman Faelker created this illustration for a major German broadcast station. They wanted an abstract piece about classical music; he gave them something inspired by graphic musical notation. DULY NOTATED (ba dum chhh - sorry).

Plus, some of Faelker's illustrations for Musikexpress Magazine:

In Bed with John + Yoko

Blue Note Records


Sometimes the power of music can transcend bad politics.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah, defender of polygamy, supporter of the Stupak-Pitts amendment, don't get me started) has expanded his compositional repertoire of Christian hymns to include a brand-new holiday song entitled "Eight Days of Hanukkah."

“Eight days of Hanukkah,
Come let’s celebrate.
Eight days of Hanukkah,
Let’s celebrate tonight, Hey!”

"I feel sorry I'm not Jewish sometimes," Hatch said.

Eight Days of Hanukkah from Tablet Magazine on Vimeo.

(special thanks to aaron)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Marvelous Things

Wait, you're saying to yourself. Is that a bra with a built-in speaker?

Sarahlayne teaches you how to make a Musical Bra (tagline: "The Musical Bra plays music when touched!") using little more than some stretchable fabric, a toy keyboard, and soldering iron. Although her demo (as you can see) is a sports bra, "a front snap bra will make the bra easier to take on and off" - she really has your needs in mind.

(You can thank me later.)

You Spin My Head Right Round

Play: Dream Theater, a progressive metal band with a serious concept album.
Cue: The Dance of Eternity (Act II, Scene 7, Pt. 1).
104 time signature changes in six minutes. (7/16 and 5/18? But of course - would it be a real party without them?)

(via best of wikipedia)

Oh Say Can You See?

This is the world's smallest guitar.
Made out of crystalline silicon, it's about the length of a single human blood cell. And the strings? We're talking maybe 100 atoms wide.

Sure, but how does the sound hold up next to a Martin D-50 K-2 Deluxe?

Cornell University Nanofabrication Facility, 1997
(via weburbanist)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's Not Unusual / To Be Loved By Anyone

At twenty-two minutes long, this song has got bagpipes and kiddie choirs, holiday tunes and political slogans, atonal melodies and rapping opera singers, banjos and tv jingles.

The composers say that based on the data they collected (an online poll, you bet): "Fewer than 200 individuals of the world's total population will enjoy this."


"The Most Unwanted Song Scientifically Composed"
by: David Soldier, Komar, and Melamid

(Part 2 and Part 3. Just in case.)

Every Little Thing She Does

It's a little unclear whether this article is talking about conducting batons or magical wands.
Just kidding: clearly conductors ARE magical.
Accio orchestra!

Music Makes the People Come Together (Yeah)

The International Horn Society includes as part of their yearly Symposium a horn concert featuring - all - of the participants.
280 horns on one stage: Get. Excited.

2008: Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus"

Monday, December 14, 2009

Girl, Put Your Record On

George Benson's photo series "Colour of Music" groups records based solely on the color of the album cover - classical next to jazz next to hip-hop next to house. It's all music, and it's all good.

The rest of Benson's Colour of Music.

Everybody Wants to Be a Cat

I don't really go in for "cute cats."
But these cats play Schoenberg, so what can you do.

(Schoenberg's Op.11, No.1; video by Cory Arcangel.)

Baby Remember My Name

In 1800, Beethoven wrote his Sonata for Horn and Piano for that most famous of horn players, Giovanni Punto. You know who I'm talking about - Punto! No? Let's hear what the reviewers had to say about the first performance:

From an issue of the Ofener und Pester Theatertaschenbach we quote, "...Who is this Beethover [sic]? The history of German music is not acquainted with such a name. Punto of course is very well known."
p. 256 Thayer's Life of Beethoven Vol. 1, by Alexander Wheelock Thayer, revised and edited Elliot Forbes

Hapless critic, I bet you're glad your name wasn't published after all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'll Cover You

CD Labeling System by Joshua Distler: the actual waveforms for each song, compacted to 1-sq in.

(Extra points if you know what CD this is.)

While We Devotin' / Full Time to Floatin'

Underwater Music Festival.
In the Florida Keys.
Underwater Music Festival.
With an ocean-themed playlist streamed live (underwater).
Underwater Music Festival.
And instruments by artist August Powers: "manta-lin," "sea-phan flute," "Fluke-a-lele."

This music festival is underwater, you guys.

And I highly recommend this article.

(via atlasobscura)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Can You Picture That?

The most popular tags on Flickr are "wedding" and "california."
I say: what have cakes and beaches got on "experimental music"?

Exhibit A:

(Dear Air Fresheners with Jennifer Robin, photo by Dead Air)

(Il Rottomaio del Suono, photo by RWW)

More photos at Flickr's Experimental Music Photo Pool.

J'Suis Snob / C'est Vraiment l'Seul Défaut que J'gobe

A Spanish concert-goer called the police on a saxophone band after deciding the music wasn't as jazzy as advertised.

Apparently it sounded too much like "contemporary music": oh no, oh no, we wouldn't want that!

(via nerdcore)

Friday, December 11, 2009


"The World's Most Powerful iPod Speaker": 28 elements, frequency response of 40Hz - 20,000 kHz, weighing in at 102 kilos.

(This version is sold out! Luckily, there's a second generation coming soon.)

No One Sees You Like I Do

Peter Menich's music visualization (entitled "Fast Fourier Transform") was inspired by an illustration he created for the charity Youth Music (UK).

It makes me want to take a nap (in a good way, people).

(The music is Origine Nascota by Ludovico Einaudi.)

Dancin' with Myself


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Something Evil's Lurking in the Dark

Fifteen of today's most famous thriller writers collaborated on one book. Get ready for international intrigue, murder, accusations, assassins, and, of course...Chopin?

The Chopin Manuscript: A Serial Thriller (2007)
A novel by:
Lee Child, David Corbett, Jeffery Deaver, Joseph Finder, Jim Fusilli, John Gilstrap, James Grady, David Hewson, John Ramsey Miller, P J Parrish, Ralph Pezzullo, S J Rozan, Lisa Scottoline, Peter Spiegelman, and Erica Spindler

It's All Around Me

Analog Nights wallpaper by Aimee Wilder.
Let's call it: surround sound.

(It also comes in blue, grey, prints, and pillows.)

Title and Registration

I may have mentioned this once or twice or seventeen times, but I can't wait for this movie to show somewhere I can see it.

directed Jonathan Parker
A fashionable contemporary art gallerist in Chelsea, New York falls for a brooding new music composer in this comic take on the state of contemporary art. Adam Goldberg (Two Days in Paris) plays the composer, whose work calls for paper crumpling, glass breaking, and bucket kicking. Marley Shelton (Grindhouse) plays the gorgeous Chelsea gallerist, whose latest show features an artist, played by Vinnie Jones (Snatch), who employs taxidermy and household objects. Further complicating the affair is the composer's brother, played by Eion Bailey ("Band of Brothers"), whose highly commercial artwork - the financial backbone of the gallery - is sold to corporate clients discreetly out of the back room.

(And a score by David Lang.)

If you see it before I do, I'd like a full report please.
NY Times Review: Untitled

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Yes, We Have No Bananas

I love to cook. That being said: there have been a couple of near-emergency-room-level cuts to my fingers over the past couple months, and I'm still wary of any recipe that calls for too much oil (the room getting hazy as I frantically open my high-rise apartment windows to their full inch-wide potential - what do I do?! what do I do?!). I thought for awhile I was going to have to stick with music, but then I found this:

The Ethnomusicologist's Cookbook
, ed. Sean Williams

Très bien.
Each chapter is written by a different ethnomusicologist (including Tim Rice, Suzel Ana Reily, and a special poem by Bruno Nettl - big names!); recipes are paired with brief commentary and anecdotes about the experience of fieldwork, musical styles, and eating habits of particular cultures.
Fascinating AND delicious? I think so.

For you: a recipe from the chapter on Bali by Ni Wayan Murni and Jonathan Copeland.

Pisang Goreng (Banana Fritters)

1 c. plain white flour
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
2 c. vegetable oil
6 large, ripe bananas
1/3 c. sugar
2 T cinnamon

In a bowl, mix flour, egg, milk, and vanilla to a smooth batter. Allow to stand for 1 hour. Heat oil gently in a frying pan until almost smoking. Cut each banana into thirds. Dip banana pieces in the batter and carefully drop into the hot fry oil; fry until golden brown. If desired, roll the cooked fritter in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.

("Music and food are both deeply integrated into Balinese life. Gamelan rehearsals take place in village meeting halls all over the island. As you walk through the villages, you hear their wonderful percussive sounds and are welcome to sit down and listen. Never very far away are ladies selling food in small stalls. Music and offerings, which always contain food, are intended primarily to entertain the gods and ancestors during the hundreds of ceremonies staged throughout the Balinese calendar of 210 days." p 103)

(I love this book.)

I Just Want to Sing

And this is what you look like while you do.

"Glottal Opera"
directed John Fink
produced Deborah Szapiro
featuring Kaya: Juleiaah Boehm, Emma Deans, Alexi Kaye, Sally Stevens

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

All the Modern Things / Have Always Existed

It looks like a toy - but it's a Reactable, an electronic musical instrument that produces sounds depending on how the musician moves objects around the surface of the table. The instrument comes with more than 40 objects, each of which has a different function and ability to interact. As if that's not enough, performers can modify the behavior of the objects by touching the table surface - so, if you want to change the oscillator waveform of a particular object, just draw a new waveform next to that object.

Bjork saw a Youtube demonstration of the instrument and liked it so much that she incorporated it into her last tour, and Rolling Stone named it the Hot Instrument of the Year in 2007.
Where was I when all this was happening? Oh yeah, Music Theory II.

The Reactable in action:

For a step-by-step demo, here and here.

Can't Find My Drink, Oh Man

A list of his preferred cigar brands, scans of his grocery lists, a graph of his debts and assets--this website's got everything you'd ever want to know about Jean Sibelius.
Also included: the composer's very own punch recipe:

1 l water + sugar + jam + brandy or spirit.
Add 2 bottles of wine when everything is completely cold.
Add a few drops of Bergamot oil in a lump of sugar, which
must be melted in the water.
(N.B. All mineral waters make the punch black.)

(Jean Sibelius--The Website)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Accordion Crimes

I read a whole book about accordions once.*

Aleksandr Hrustevich, "Summer" from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons"

(*cough cough, fiction. Great book, though.)

The Ice is Thin / Come on, Dive in

There is snow on the ground!--or at least a dusting on the train tracks outside my window. In celebration: "Langjökull, Snæfellsjökull, Solheimajökull" by Katie Paterson.

The artist spent some time in Iceland recording the sounds of three glaciers. She pressed the records, cast them, froze them using meltwater from each of the glaciers, and let them play simultaneously on turntables for two hours until they melted.
Not only are these ice records beautiful all on their own, they make some really gorgeous sound (you can listen here).

(For more on the piece, and more on Paterson.)

Put a Record On

Mostly they use footballs, but sometimes they branch out to LPs.
(Sp'artistik teaches week-long master classes!)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

You Treat Me Like Chocolate

A chocolate iPod? It's just what I've always wanted!
How about this chocolate grand piano (shipped with the lid closed, of course).

Seriously, guys. Music chocolates are big deal! Evidence: Violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn even teamed up with Aequare Chocolates to create a special boxed set that she now sells on her professional website.
It's true. And yours for just $30 plus shipping and handling.