Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rip Off Your Sleeves / And I'll Ditch My Socks

Trikoton is a Berlin-based label that specializes in custom clothing based on (your) voice signals. The founders created a 1970s-style interactive knitting machine; a micro-controller and 24 small engines imitate a pattern card that can be controlled by live user input (that's you!) via connected computer. You can record anything you want - your favorite poem on a scarf, a sweater inspired by sounds in the kitchen, maybe a song composed for ukulele incorporated into a pair of pants - anything! Lookbook.

Berlin wins again.

(via notcouture)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm Still Figuring Out What's Going To Go / In My Experimental Film

It's Experimental Music Wednesday, and today we're featuring The Friction Brothers: Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), Michael Zerang (percussion), and Michael Colligan (dry ice). Yes dry ice can I get a what(?) It doesn't replace my fondness for the acoustic cactus, but it does expand the repertoire.

(Disclaimer: it's not as though Experimental Music Wednesdays are a regular feature on this blog. So why now? Because The Friction Brothers are coming to Madtown's Project Lodge TOMORROW. Who wants to go?)

(Review of The Friction Brothers from the Chicago Reader)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Soak Up Congratulations

The names of the 2010 MacArthur Fellows have been released, and there are two musicians on the list! Jason Moran is a jazz pianist / composer, and Sebastian Ruth is a violist, violinist, and music educator. (Both men are 35 years old and live on the east coast. It's a coincidence.)

You want a list all of the music-related MacArthur Fellows who have ever existed? Okay.

Marin Alsop - Orchestra Conductor
Milton Babbitt - Composer
Ran Blake - Composer and Pianist
Anthony Braxton - Jazz Composer and Performer
Regina Carter - Jazz Violinist
Ornette Coleman - Jazz Performer and Composer
John C. Eaton - Composer
Osvaldo Golijov - Composer
John Harbison - Composer and Conductor
Corey Harris - Blues Musician
Stephen Hough - Pianist
Peter Jeffery - Musicologist
Bernice Johnson Reagon - Music Historian, Composer, and Vocalist
Leila Josefowicz - Violinist
Ali Akbar Khan - Classical Indian Music Performer
Walter Kitundu - Instrument Maker and Composer
Steve Lacy - Saxophonist and Jazz Composer
George E. Lewis - Composer, Performer, and Music Theorist
Susan McClary - Musicologist
Edgar Meyer - Bassist and Composer
Conlon Nancarrow - Composer
George Perle - Composer and Music Theorist
Max Roach - Percussionist and Jazz Composer
Reginald Robinson - Ragtime Pianist and Composer
Alex Ross - Music Critic
George Russell - Composer and Music Theorist
Gunther Schuller - Composer, Conductor, and Jazz Historian
Ralph Shapey - Composer and Conductor
Bright Sheng - Composer
Cecil Taylor - Jazz Pianist and Composer
Gary A. Tomlinson - Musicologist
Dawn Upshaw - Vocalist
Ken Vandermark - Jazz Composer and Performer
Marion Williams - Gospel Music Performer
Charles Wuorinen - Composer
Miguel Zenón - Saxophonist
John Zorn - Musician and Composer

Monday, September 27, 2010

Listen As The Wind Blows / From Across The Great Divide

I read Pauline Oliveros' book Deep Listening sometime last spring, and for awhile went through this phase where I would try her slow-walk exercise in busy spaces - on the El, in the middle of Millenium Park, at the Mother's Day-themed limerick contest I attended*. The idea is that a slow walk forces you to engage with your immediate (sonic) environment. It's very specific: you're supposed to place your heel, slowly slowly let down the outside of your sole, feel your pinkie toe make contact, and then settle the rest of your foot to balance point. (Think you're doing it? NO WAY: you can always go slower.) Busy spaces, I thought, would make for the most interesting environments - and if I was doing it right, nobody would notice I was moving anyway.

I didn't usually do it right: people noticed. (It was only a short phase.)

ANYWAY: Oliveros is one of the founders of the Deep Listening Institute. You can take classes and get certified (hey!) in what amounts to focusing on the difference between involuntary hearing and selective listening. I don't know that I buy the Institute lock, stock, and barrel - but reading her book really did make me more aware of everyday sound.

Friends: this video is not terribly entertaining. But if you want a little bit of a window into the Deep Listening method / if you want to see Oliveros do her thing: this is for you.

*Okay this one - busy: not so much.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Just Met A Girl Named Maria

On September 26, 1957, West Side Story opened on Broadway.

Here's a Fun Fact: originally, the musical was titled "East Side Story."
And again: Bernstein wrote the song "One Hand, One Heart" for "Candide" - it got cut, and he saw an opportunity to recycle.

Best of all, this is a video of a 2007 50th anniversary tribute rehearsal featuring 22 of the original cast members performing alongside the new blood.

Multi-generational singing and dancing: sign me up!

(more at ThisDayInHistory and imdb)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rubber Ducky / You're The One


Update: Turns out Katy and her Perries never got air time thanks to some disgruntled parents. Even so: IT HAPPENED.

(So comprehensive: squidoo)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Choose To Celebrate The First

The NPR classical music blog Deceptive Cadence just finished up a week devoted to "First Loves" - stories by famous musicians about the moment when classical music grabbed on and wouldn't let go. Tim Munro on Ives, Nico Muhly on Byrd, Zuill Bailey on Rostropovich, Nick Cords on Nadien, Jason Vieaux on Villa-Lobos, and Marian Alsop on Brahms.

That's quite a line-up - but maybe my favorite part of this feature is the invitation extended to blog readers to post their own "first loves". It'll warm the cockles of your heart.

Monday, September 20, 2010

And Now We Pass And Just Like Glass / I See Through You

In which: Hario Glass Corporation makes some instruments.
(More pictures on the SPGRA Design Blog. They're pretty, aren't they?)

But how do they sound? Dean Shostak owns one of the glass violins made by Hario, and he's posted a sample (right here) so you can judge for yourself.

(via notcot)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

All I Hear Is Noise

Turn Me Up! is a non-profit organization "campaigning to give artists back the choice to release more dynamic records." There's nothing wrong with loud music, they say, but artists should have a choice - and many feel like more dynamic music will get lost in the (ipod?) shuffle.

Check out Matt Mayfield's video demonstrating the effect a loud, less dynamic aesthetic is having on the music:

Just something to think about; plus, music dynamics in the news.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'm A New Soul

Steve Reich's new album "Double Sextet, 2x5" is streaming IN ITS ENTIRETY on the NPR website. It's a new sound, and it's been getting great reviews...

(bonus: Reich does an interview with Pitchfork and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore? It happened.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Short People Got No Reason

Neumes on your shorts! High fashion? Um, maybe...
From Cafepress.

(bonus: I don't know anything about them except that they have a myspace page under Folk/Jazz/Rock - but what a great name, right?: The Neumes.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

So Airplane / Airplane / Sorry I'm Late

Stranded on a runway
landed on a plan
what else to do but
impromptu jam?


(via consumerist)
(thank you to mburns!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Baby Loves A Bunch Of Authors

Excellent article of the day: Famous Rappers and their 20th Century Literary Counterparts.

The comments (hilarious, by the way) seem to indicate some people are scandalized, but I say: WHY NOT.

(via flavorwire)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stormy Weather

"Recently, I have begun translating weather data collected in cities into musical scores, which are then translated into sculptures as well as being a source for collaboration with musicians. These pieces are not only devices that map meteorological conditions of a specific time and place, but are also functional musical scores to be played by musicians. While musicians have freedom to interpret, they are asked not to change the essential relationship of the notes to ensure that what is still heard is indeed the meteorological relationship of weather data."

Nathalie Miebach works across disciplines like it's her job. You can see more scores, sculptures, and hear the music realized on her website.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I'm Not Your Toy

Modified Toy Orchestra: exactly what it sounds like. Plus, the BBC's got a behind-the-scenes video article.

The interesting part about this: "we take these [toys] and learn how to play them as instruments." As if there is an instrument buried inside every object if only you know how to make it sound. I like it.

(special thanks to Kevin!)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Grow Up And Blow Away

Tuned Pale Ale
by Matt Braun. TA DA! Think about all the time we could save with these pre-tuned beer bottles! (Since obviously it's going to happen one way or another.)

(via notcot)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tiny Dancer / In The Sand

Have you guys heard of NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts? And if so, why didn't you clue me in sooner?

They're mini-concerts video-recorded live in the perfectly cluttered office of "All Songs Considered" host Bob Boilen. Indie, gospel, hip-hop, jazz, classical, reggae, gypsy punk: there's something for everyone. Most artists play a set of three or four songs, every now and again there's a little talk, some bring friends along for the ride. What a lovely idea!

Recommended sampling:
Ana Tijoux
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
The Tallest Man On Earth