Inaugural Heavy Metal Knitting World Championship title goes to Japan's Giga Body Metal

The inaugural Heavy Metal Knitting World Championship were an unqualified success, with competitors from the US, Russia, Japan and beyond converging on Joensuu, Finland to thrash and knit: competitors such as Woolfumes, Bunny Bandit and 9" Needles thrashed to heavy metal music while knitting, for an audience of about 200. The winners were the five-person Japanese team Giga Body Metal. Scottish competitor Heather McLaren (a Ph.D candidate in engineering) told the AP, "When I saw there was a combination of heavy metal and knitting, I thought 'that’s my niche.'" Read the rest

Entrancing interactive Gregorian Chant generator

Signal processing engineer Stéphane Pigeon created this captivating Gregorian chant generator. It enables you to simply "conduct," mix, and process the sacred a cappella songs heard in the monasteries of the Roman Catholic Church since the 9th century.

Gregorian Voices: Early Roman Catholic Church Song Generator

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Mattel announces "David Bowie" Barbie doll

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," Mattel has announced a "David Bowie" Barbie doll. On Amazon, it's priced at $50. From the New York Times:

It’s a notably androgynous look for a doll that epitomized the stereotypes of feminine appearance in its earlier iterations. In more recent years, however, male celebrity depictions have not just been reserved for Ken. Over the past decade, Barbie has dressed like Andy Warhol, Elvis and Frank Sinatra.

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Listen to the original "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" sung by Robert Hazard

In the 36 years since Cindy Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" was an MTV staple, I had never listened to Robert Hazard's original version from 1979 that was only recorded as a demo. It's a totally different head. Totally.

(via /ObscureMedia)

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David Byrne's Luaka Bop label is releasing a compilation of "secular gospel" from the 1970s, with liner notes by Jonathan Lethem

Since its inception in 1988, David Byrne's Luaka Bop label has been a sure-fire source of some of the best music I've ever heard, from its compilations of Brazilian and Cuban music to bands like Cornershop, Os Mutantes, and Tom Ze. Though Byrne is no longer running the label, it continues to blaze a remarkable musical trail: its next album will be The Time For Peace Is Now, a collection of "secular gospel" rarities from the 1970s, "focusing not on Jesus or God, but instead on ourselves, and how we exist with each other." Read the rest

Monday Music: Run Runaway, by Slade

A new week is upon us and, sadly, the earth did not pitch out of orbit into the sun before we all had to go back to work. A little bit of Slade can almost make that feel OK.

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Chuck Klosterman on space rock

In Technology Review, author and essayist Chuck Klosterman delivers a short introduction to the stars of space rock, from Pink Floyd (above) to Hawkwind to Spacemen 3:

Space is a vacuum: the only song capturing the verbatim resonance of space is John Cage’s perfectly silent “4'33".” Any artist purporting to embody the acoustics of the cosmos is projecting a myth. That myth, however, is collective and widely understood. Space has no sound, but certain sounds are “spacey.” Part of this is due to “Space Oddity”; another part comes from cinema, particularly the soundtrack to 2001 (the epic power of classical music by Richard Strauss and György Ligeti). Still another factor is the consistent application of specific instruments, like the ondes martenot (a keyboard that vaguely simulates a human voice, used most famously in the theme to the TV show Star Trek). The shared assumptions about what makes music extraterrestrial are now so accepted that we tend to ignore how strange it is that we all agree on something impossible.

The application of these clichés is most readily seen in the dawn of heavy metal. The 1970 Black Sabbath song “Planet Caravan” processed Ozzy Osbourne’s vocals through a Hammond organ to create a sprawling sense of ethereal distance. Deep Purple’s 1972 “Space Truckin’” used ring modulation to simulate a colossal spacecraft traveling at high speed. The lyrical content of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” is built on Norse mythology, but the dreamlike drone of John Paul Jones’s mellotron and Jimmy Page’s ultra-compressed guitar mirrored the sensation of exploring an alien landscape.

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Celebrate Independence Day with Cordell Jackson, the "Rock n Roll Granny" a psychobilly pioneer who played until she was 81

Cordell Jackson started out playing on her father's radio show in the mid-1930s at the age of 12; she was a talented musician who'd already mastered the guitar, piano, and upright bass; she continued to play and went on to found Moon Records (a play on Memphis's iconic "Sun Records") where she was the first woman sound engineer in the country. Read the rest

Pianist plays "Happy Birthday" in 16 levels of increasing complexity

Nahre Sol plays "Happy Birthday" 16 times on the piano. The first time she plays with one finger, and gets fancier each time she replays it.

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Man performs drums unusually well with a keyboard

It helps that he's using a high-end hammer action keyboard, but Yohan's Kim's incredible skill cannot be denied. Perhaps Creative Labs needs a new spokesman:

BONUS REMIX:

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Titanic's "My Love Will Go On" performed on a bike pump

Welcome to the Bike Pump Music Channel.

Previously: Jurassic Park Theme Song (Melodica Cover)

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Watch Freddie Mercury's never-before-seen "Time Waits For No One"

Can't help but get choked up watching Freddie Mercury belt out this recently unearthed, and undeniably poignant, "Time Waits For No One:"

"For the first time ever, after four decades buried deep in the vaults, a previously unreleased version of ‘Time’, recorded in 1986 by Freddie Mercury for the concept album of the hit musical of the same name, has finally emerged after two years of work by the globally successful musician, songwriter and producer Dave Clark, a long-time friend of Freddie’s, using the song’s full title, ‘Time Waits For No One’."

Goosebumps. Read the rest

Enjoy 30GB of 1980s noise music and post punk cassettes

Here's an amazingly huge collection of "tape experimentation, industrial, avant-garde, indy, rock, diy, subvertainment and auto-hypnotic materials" posted to archive.org. Completists who want this on a hard drive or USB stick can download the entire collection in a tar file here. Here's the torrent file.

This collection is a compilation of underground/independently-released cassette tapes from the days when the audio cassette was the standard method of music sharing... generally the mid-eighties through early-nineties. The material represented includes tape experimentation, industrial, avant-garde, indy, rock, diy, subvertainment and auto-hypnotic materials. Much of this material defies category, and has therefore not been given one. The bulk of the tapes in this library were donated to the project by former CKLN FM radio host Myke Dyer in August of 2009. The original NOISE-ARCH site was hosted and maintained by Graham Stewart and Mark Lougheed.

[via Obscure Media] Read the rest

Listen to the cowboy throat singer

Throat singing, aka overtone singing, is a well known practice in the traditional music of Mongolian, Tibetan, and other indigenous people around the world. Surprisingly, you can also hear it on "Lonely Cowboy," a fantastic 78 RPM shellac record from 1927 by cowboy singer Arthur Miles that also features some lovely yodeling!

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On Paul McCartney's birthday today, listen to Tammy Wynette cover "Yesterday"

Sir Paul McCartney turns 77 today. To celebrate, enjoy this lovely cover of "Yesterday" as recorded by country music superstar Tammy Wynette in 1968.

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The making of Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" plus new videos for the album's tracks

Joy Division's post-punk masterpiece "Unknown Pleasures" turns 40 this year. NME just republished an interview with two of the three surviving members of Joy Division -- bassist Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris -- about creating what is arguably one of the most influential albums of all time. Meanwhile, the surviving band members have invited ten video directors to create new music videos for each song on the album. Below is the first video for "I Remember Nothing," directed by Helgi & Hörður. From the NME:

Was there anything that (producer) Martin Hannett did or asked you to do that was a bit too much?

Morris: “I was alright with what he was asking us to do mostly, although he did make me use the aerosol can on the 12-inch version of ‘She’s Lost Control’ like you see in Control. He shut me in a room with a can of tape-cleaning fluid and made me press it in time with the song. By the end, the booth was just filled with noxious fumes. I think he was just trying to kill me. If I’d have lit up a fag, the whole of Strawberry Studios would have gone up in smoke.”

Is it strange seeing that (album cover) design getting reproduced on just about anything and everything?

Hook: “We never actually did an official ‘Unknown Pleasures’ T-shirt until 1994 but they got bootlegged all over the world. When we got investigated by the taxman because of the Haçienda being all fucked up, he said that he couldn’t find any receipts for ‘Unknown Pleasures’ T-shirts.

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Listen to Karen O and Danger Mouse cover Lou Reed's "Perfect Day"

On a recent episode of SiriusXMU Sessions, Karen O and Danger Mouse recorded this stark and lovely cover of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" from 1972. The performance follows the release of their collaborative LP Lux Prima.   Read the rest

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