Wired visited the home studio of Radiolab's Jad Abumrad. It's a minimal set-up, and I dig his appreciation for vintage synths like the Moog Sonic Six and Roland Juno-60. "Sound Scientist: Inside the Home Studio of Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad"
You probably caught Stevie Wonder playing with Daft Punk, Pharrell, and Nile Rodgers at the Grammys on Sunday night. My favorite Stevie Wonder jam remains "Superstition" (1972) due in part to the epic clavinet riff. Listen how complex that iconic bit o' funk is by watching YouTube user Funkscribe dissect its intricacies by isolating the multiple parts in the multitrack recording files. Below, Stevie plays the song live in 1973. Read the rest
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From the @boingboing Instagram feed, my snap of a Silver Star ORP-1803 organ, radio, phonograph (c.1976) at Groove Merchant, SF.
I Dream of Wires is a documentary now in production about the resurgence of modular synthesizers, restored classics from the 1960s and 1970s and new components. As with the early days of computers, the earliest synthesizers were mostly DIY affairs or commercial kits. I Dream Of Wires' directors recently visited the studio of BB pal Chris Carter who handbuilt many of the instruments for his pioneering musical groups Throbbing Gristle and Chris & Cosey. (via The Quietus)
- Exclusive: New track from ex-Throbbing Gristle's forthcoming Final ...
- Industrial music pioneer Chris Carter with gear, 1980 - Boing Boing
- Chris Carter's Tutti Box sound generator - Boing Boing
- Chris Carter's tribute to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop - Boing Boing
- Throbbing Gristle's Gristleizer audio effects unit - Boing Boing
You don't play the ANS synthesizer with a keyboard. Instead you etch images onto glass sheets covered in black putty and feed them into a machine that shines light through the etchings, trigging a wide range of tones. Etchings made low on the sheets make low tones. High etchings make high tones. The sound is generated in real-time and the tempo depends on how fast you insert the sheets.
This isn't a new Dorkbot or Maker Faire oddity. It's a nearly forgotten Russian synthesizer designed by Evgeny Murzin in 1938. The synth was named after and dedicated to the Russian experimental composer and occultist Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin (1872–1915). The name might not mean much to you, but it illuminates a long running connection between electronic music and the occult.
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Photo: Kleine Gelbe Ente
The novelty of disruputive technology soon becomes second nature. Social networking made the web intimate, a lingua franca to even the barely computer-literate, but its real achievement was to make itself mundane. Apple gobbled the Walkman market whole in just a few years. But the iPod is already at least three revolutions ago in Cupertino. In consumer electronics, the light always burns bright and brief. Read the rest
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Behold "the World's Most Irritating Instrument," a handmade noisemaker that has yet to find a single bid on its imminently-ending eBay action. From the description:
It makes a clicking sound that is varied by a turn of a knob. It has a momentary on/off button and a LED light that moves with the beat of the clicking. ... This is a One Of A Kind instrument by circuit bent artist MaXbEnDeR! Runs on a 9 volt battery
The auction lacks sample audio, which leaves us to speculate on exactly how accomplished Mr. MaXbEnDeR is at creating irritating noises. A search online does, however, suggest mastery of the genre. In any case, the seller's claim must be incorrect, because everyone knows that the world's most irritating instrument is the bagpipe.