NASA released this stunning video of two powerful X-class solar flares erupting off the upper left side of the sun earlier this month. (Background here.) The images come from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and from the ESA/NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory. The music is by Duesseldorf-based ambient composer Lars Leonhard whose track Thunderbolt was featured in an equally-magificient video of the sun's corona captured by the SDO and released earlier this year. Watch that video below. Leonhard's debut album, 1549, inspired by the US Airways flight that famously hit a flock of geese and was ditched in the Hudson River, is available from Forced Exposure.
Daft Punk’s fourth studio album, “Random Access Memories,” is an attempt to make the kind of disco record that they sampled so heavily for “Discovery.” As such, it serves as a tribute to those who came before them and as a direct rebuke to much of what they’ve spawned. Only intermittently electronic in nature, and depending largely on live musicians, it is extremely ambitious, and as variable in quality as any popular album you will hear this year. Noodly jazz fusion instrumentals? Absolutely. Soggy poetry and kid choirs? Yes, please. Clichés that a B-list teen-pop writer would discard? Bring it on. The duo has become so good at making records that I replay parts of “Random Access Memories” repeatedly while simultaneously thinking it is some of the worst music I’ve ever heard. Daft Punk engages the sound and the surface of music so lovingly that all seventy-five loony minutes of “Random Access Memories” feel fantastic, even when you are hearing music you might never seek out. This record raises a radical question: Does good music need to be good?
I first became a fan of his work by way of the great late-'70s, early '80s L.A. punk band X. Manzarek co-produced their four earliest albums, the first of which was one of the very first vinyl punk records I owned.
Below, an excerpt from X: The Unheard Music. Below that, three episodes from a wonderful series of monologues by Manzarek about his life and work by L Studio Presents.
It's Sunday morning in London, where I'm living as of less than a week ago. I've got a hangover and kitchen cleanup duty, and on top of that, I'm out £10. An actual live baby fox entered our house last night. Last night was Eurovision. I've had my first Eurovision party as an embedded foreigner.
Wait, I'll tell you all about it, but let's back up a bit, first. My first Eurovision was last year in my New York home, playing host to English friends. Before that, I'm a little embarrassed to say I knew hardly anything of the pan-European song contest, and in watching it I experienced the kind of wonderment that's sadly pretty rare for us Americans: the world is so big.
The battle of the bands, featuring acts from Ireland to Israel, is underway as we speak. Embedded above is Cezar Ouatu's particularly excellent It's my life, this year's Transylvanian entry. Our Europe Correspondent Leigh Alexander will be filing a report, but not until she's had a bit of a lie down.
I'm still mad that Young Knives' fantastic last record Ornaments from the Silver Arcade never got released in the U.S. (though we featured a song from it). They've been doing a lot of experimenting with ambient sound recording and have even created a custom synthesizer from all of the sounds they gathered. Their extremely entertaining Kickstarter campaign invites you to contribute towards the completion of their forthcoming album Sick Octave. You can get everything from a download of the record to one of the aforementioned custom synths for your contribution. Plus, you'll have the satisfaction of supporting true artists who are going it alone.
Noah Scalin sez, "Thought you might enjoy this little video I made to promote the latest release from my science fiction project League of Space Pirates (yes, apparently they still have As Seen On TV commercials in the future). It's a return to the classic book & record format of the 70s/80s. In this case the 16 page comic book features illustrated stories based on the lyrics of two original songs from the League of Space Pirates band"
The Source Family was a radical, utopian social experiment that emerged from the Los Angeles freak scene in the 1970s. Operating out of a hip health food restaurant owned by judo master/bank robber/accused murderer Jim Baker, aka Father Yod, The Source Family was everything you could want in a post-hippie, West Coast outsider spiritual trip. And they had a rock band too! Thanks to our pal Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos's absolutely fantastic new documentary now in theaters about Father Yod and his "children," interest in The Source Family and their band, Ya Ho Wa 13, has never been greater. The film, titled The Source Family: A Documentary, was inspired by The Source: The Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13 and the Source Family, written by family members Isis Aquarian and Electricity Aquarian, edited by Jodi, and published by our pals Process Media. To complete the full transmedia Source Family experience, Drag City is releasing The Source Family soundtrack, a collection of choice tunes from the nine albums that The Source Family recorded between 1973 and 1974. Boing Boing is pleased to premier this free stream of the entire album, The Source Family soundtrack, available next week on CD and, of course, vinyl. Far fucking out.
BB pals Death Cab For Cutie are celebrating the tenth anniversary of their stunning fourth studio album, Transatlanticism, by performing it live in its entirety at the Bumbershoot music and arts festival in Seattle, September 1. Above is a live version of the title track which has become the quintessential closer at DCfC live shows.
If you're still thinking about Daft Punk after yesterday's excitement around Random Access Memories, you might appreciate this masterful New Orleans brass band cover EP of a few of their classics. Their Kickstarter to cover Get Lucky is also fully funded with four hours left!
The Wire posted a small photo gallery of electronic and avant-garde musicians and their studios, including Atom, Pierre Henry, and Terry Riley. Above, JG "Foetus" Thirlwell's Brooklyn studio photographed by Daniëlle van Ark. At right, Madlib at home in Los Angeles, shot byJeremy & Claire Weiss. "Studio Envy"
MC Frontalot sez, "At long last, here's the third of three videos from my album Solved that were funded by fans via Kickstarter. It was directed by Carly Monardo and features my nerdcore rap compatriots ZeaLouS1 and Dr. Awkward.
Lyrics and credits are on the youtube page. The single is out today, too, and it's free at frontalot.com.
Bright-colored robotic space rhinoceri
that we pilot — why? 'Cause they're in supply.
Plus, we heed the cry of our planet's population
to defend them. We report to battle stations!
Split screen — ready! — and our rhinos are rocket ships
with fully articulated tusk, jaws, and hips.
They come equipped with individual special attacks,
none with a lack (but a couple a little bit slack).
I'm not naming any pilot specifically,
but we're all color coded so you notice that typically
I (in the gold) lead the charge, do the most damage
to whatever very giant space invader managed
to threaten the globe in yet another of our episodes.
This week? Malevolent galactic nematode!
Already beat up the squad when we faced him.
I'm calling it: let's form a giant robot and waste him.
Astronaut Chris Hadfield -- the tweeting, tumbling Canadian astronaut who's a one-dude astro-ambassador from the space programme to the Internet -- has produced and released a video of his own performance of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" (AKA the "Major Tom song") on the ISS. He adapts the lyrics a bit to his own situation -- and changes out the whole dying-in-space chorous -- but is otherwise pretty faithful. From the credits, it appears that David Bowie gave permission for this, though that's not entirely clear. I would think that not even a major record label would be hamfisted and cack-handed enough to send a takedown notice over this one (it's been suggested for Boing Boing more than any other link in my memory), but I'm prepared to be surprised.