Cat enjoys piano massage

Being for the benefit of Mr. Cat, Haburu performs the soundtrack to Howl's Moving Castle. Read the rest

Footage of The Cure when they were still Easy Cure (1977)

This bit of grainy film footage with bad audio wouldn't be notable except that it depicts Easy Cure playing a 1977 show in Crawley, UK. The following year, Easy Cure dropped "Easy" from their name, recorded the demos below, signed to Polydor Records' Fiction label, and released their first single, "Killing An Arab." The rest is post-punk, proto-goth history.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Flux and Contemplation: portrait of an artist in isolation

This year, the merry-go-round of summer music festivals is not happening, all the major events have been canceled. And that's a bummer. But luckily, the pandemic didn't stop artists' creativity. Here comes a musical consolation, Flux & Contemplation — Portrait of an Artist in Isolation courtesy of Simon Posford.

Simon Posford (a.k.a. Hallucinogen) is an internationally acclaimed figure of the psychedelic trance scene, with groundbreaking productions under his belt, among which the boundary-defying collaboration called Shpongle.

Reflecting on his own experience of being in lockdown, Posford has crafted a refined psychedelic chillout/downtempo piece of work. Flux & Contemplation is an elegant gallery of sonic portraits, each track a signpost of an inner journey—ranging from minimal, trance-like, haunting vibes, to more uplifting melodies and groovy rhythms. The overall result is a very satisfying and intense listening experience.

In a culture "where music has become more and more a commodity barely heard in the background, Posford's inspired and involved creative process transforms his handiwork into foreground music, his experience breaking free while in isolation providing a parallel experience for listeners".

Looking forward to seeing Simon Postford live again on stage, surrounded by a crowd of happy revelers, Flux & Contemplation is a ray of hope while imagining brighter futures. Read the rest

Aedan's "Evolution" features vibrant flower and insect closeups

Aedan's EP Microclimat includes the single "Evolution," the video for which is a breathtaking series of extreme closeups of colorful insects and plants.

Via the band:

This new clip by Aedan takes us into the world of the infinitely small and highlights another vision of evolution. Directed by Thomas Blanchard, who had already directed Aedan's first music video "LE TEMPS" two years ago, EVOLUTION is an exercise in patience and observation that the director, a master of macro, masters to perfection. He filed for weeks in a vacuum with a host of insects and plants to better understand their mechanism and interactions. The result is a striking spectacle where you can observe life with a new eye. Shot in 8K to observe at best microscopic details, this new clip by Aedan will tickle your curiosity and your emotions by offering you a journey into a world that is both near and far, sublime and unforgiving.

Here's the "Le temps" video Thomas had shot for the band before:

Image: YouTube / Aedan Read the rest

A delightful retrospective on those old Columbia Tape Club deals, in the time of coronavirus

Geoff Edgers has written a wonderful little op-ed for the Washington Post about using his quarantine time to re-discover the 12-for-a-penny tapes he got through the Columbia Record & Tape Club in the 80s:

As my world has shrunk and my social interactions have lately become defined by social distancing protocol, I’ve been employing my still pristine Panasonic 5085 boombox for parking lot chair circles and patio gatherings. And there is still magic in those tapes, at least the ones that will play. (Sorry, Prince’s “1999” and Black Flag’s “The First Four Years.”) They make people happy and all it takes is six D batteries.

Though I’ve had to replace a couple — “Beauty and the Beat,” swapped out for a Go-Go’s Greatest Hits collection — the music from my original box remains a powerful antidote to the psychological toll of isolation.

It's a short read, with a nostalgic musical listicle embedded within, but it's surprisingly refreshing In These Uncertain Times(TM).

A dozen albums for a penny? I’ve still got mine, and plenty of time to listen. [Geoff Edgers / Washington Post]

Image: Joe Wolf / Flickr (CC 2.0) Read the rest

Vocoder for sale

In 2011, someone sold their Bode 7702 vocoder on ebay. They made this excellent video to show off its sound and features. I'm sure the buyer was very pleased with their purchase, but I'm here for the remixes.

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Airwolf theme performed on eight cellos (with bonus Thundercats)

Samara Ginsberg performs Sylvester Levay's Airwolf theme tune — originally intended for orchestral presentation but now a synth classic — on eight cellos. Stringfellow would be so proud!

Bonus: Ginsberg's done Bernard Hoffer's Thundercats theme too:

Previously: Knight Rider theme performed on eight cellos Read the rest

Ennio Morricone, 1928-2020

Italian composer Ennio Morricone is dead at 91.

Morricone acquired fame scoring Westerns but transcended genre to become one of the world's masters of the form.

"His music was always outstanding," writes Hans Zimmer, "and done with great emotional fortitude and great intellectual thought."

His 1960s scores for Sergio Leone, backing a moody Clint Eastwood in the Dollars trilogy, were huge successes and came to define him: with their whistling melodies, and blend of symphonic elements with gunshots and guitars, they evoke the entire western genre. “The music is indispensable, because my films could practically be silent movies, the dialogue counts for relatively little, and so the music underlines actions and feelings more than the dialogue,” Leone has said. Morricone has said his own best work was for Leone’s 1984 film Once Upon a Time in America.

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This ska-jazz cover of the Animal Crossing: New Horizons theme is everything

I'm a little late to the party as I've just discovered the fantastic world of YouTuber Pickitup's ska covers! K.K. Slider himself would be impressed by his ska-jazz cover of the Animal Crossing: New Horizons theme. Now, if that's not your thing, Pickitup's got a huge catalog of other ska/[insert music genre here] covers on his channel Ska Tune Network that are sure to delight.

From his Patreon:

I have been given this gift and love for music, and i've chosen to do the most important thing I can possibly think of with it, and that's to create ska covers of various songs.

This entire journey began on christmas of 2016, when I jokingly posted on facebook saying I should make a bad ska cover of a christmas song, and everyone encouraged me to actually do it, so I did it and people loved it, so since then I've been using my resourses to record myself playing guitar, bass, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, keyboard, and sometimes unconventional instruments like viola, ukulele, euphonium, and honestly anything I can get my hands on to create covers of songs I find interesting or songs other people tell me I should do!

Here's another fun one: A ska-punk one of Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy."

screengrab via Ska Tune Network Read the rest

Trailer for new documentary about The Go-Go's

In 1981, The Go-Go's blew up with "We Got the Beat" and "Our Lips Our Sealed," two tracks from their IRS records debut Beauty and the Beat that hit number one on the Billboard charts and went double platinum. What many don't realize though is that the band, who notably wrote and played all their own music, had been a mainstay in the Los Angeles punk underground since 1978, making the scene with The Germs, X, and Fear. I can't wait for this new Showtime documentary about The Go-Go's pegged on the release of their first album in two decades, titled "Club Zero."

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Japanese railway melodies played on pocket calculators

Chiptune musician @atarimae_400 learned that the jingles played at some Japanese railway stations sound similar to the tones generated by a certain model of pocket calculator. So @atarimae_400 performed some of the melodies on his own adding machines.

As Kraftwerk sang, "I'm the operator with my pocket calculator." Read the rest

The story behind Yello's "Oh Yeah," famously used in Ferris Bueller's Day Off

In 1985, Swiss synthpop duo Yello's quirky dance track "Oh Yeah" became ubiquitous on US radio after being used in the classic high school film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Above, Great Big Story shares the story of Oh Yeah straight from the mouths of the musicians, Boris Blank and Dieter Meier. Hear the whole track below. Ch-ka ch-ka.

And for a little more Yello, here's "The Race" from 1988:

Read the rest

Saxophone played into an empty pipeline

Armin Küpper offers up some Pipelinefunk: "Saxophone jam using a pipeline as natural delay and reverb" When I was preparing for my recording session on the tube, I got a visitor here and gave a little spontaneous concert."

Here's Somewhere Over The Rainbow:

And here with a guitar:

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Nile Rodgers tells of transforming Bowie's "Let's Dance" from folky to beyond funky

Legendary guitarist, producer, and composer Nile Rodgers—co-founder of Chic—tells the story of transforming David Bowie's "Let's Dance" from its original "folky" vibe into the post-funk masterpiece we know and love.

And for more, dig the below demo of "Let's Dance" that Rodgers shared in 2018 on what would have been Bowie's 71st birthday:

(via Kottke) Read the rest

String quartet performs for a sold-out audience of 3,000 plants

On Monday, the UceLi Quartet performed at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu. The opera house was filled to capacity... with 3,000 plants. They played Giacomo Puccini's "Crisantemi." From National Public Radio:

"After a strange, painful period, the creator [conceptual artist Eugenio Ampudia], the Liceu's artistic director and the curator Blanca de la Torre offer us a different perspective for our return to activity, a perspective that brings us closer to something as essential as our relationship with nature," according to a release on the Liceu's website.

The plants came from local nurseries and will be donated along with a certificate from the artist to 2,292 health care professionals, specifically at the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona.

Read the rest

UK Royal Mail issues stamps honoring the band Queen

The UK's Royal Mail is issuing a series of 13 stamps honoring the band Queen. This issue follows prior rock stamps celebrating The Beatles and Pink Floyd. From Spin:

“It’s hard to put into words what I feel when looking at these beautiful stamps,” Queen guitarist Brian May said in a release. “Since we four precocious boys started out on our quest 50 years ago, our lives have been devoted to making our impossible dream come true. Sometimes it’s strange to wake up and realize the position in which we are now held – we have become a national institution! And nothing brings this home more than this incredible tribute from Royal Mail. It’s particularly poignant to look at this collection of images now – now that we are all in a world dominated by a coronavirus, in which none of this could have happened. I just know that I [have] an overwhelming desire to own one of these sets! Somehow it will be a way of persuading myself that it really DID all happen!”

The album-cover stamps include Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack, A Night at the Opera, News of the World, The Game, Greatest Hits, The Works, and Innuendo. The live shots include Freddie Mercury from London’s Wembley Stadium in 1986; drummer Roger Taylor from London’s Hyde Park, 1976; bassist John Deacon at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in 1975; and May in Budapest in 1986. And the iconic centerpiece of the set comes from the group’s first-ever studio photoshoot at a Primrose Hill studio, which shot by Johnny Dewe Mathews.

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NirvanA.I.: This bot wrote a Nirvana song

Funk Turkey used to scrape the Genius database of Nirvana lyrics and then set a Markov chain bot to work generating lyrics to a new "Nirvana" song. Funk Turkey made the music and sang the bot's poetry. Listen to "Smother" and spot the actual Cobain phrases! From the YouTube description:

All music/vocals performed, mixed, and mastered by me, in my kitchen, on a sparkly red cheap Stratocaster, a crappy mic, and an old copy of ProTools. All lyrics provided by Hal 9000 (AKA Guitars are the aforementioned Stratocaster bounced hard left and right. Flanged Stratocaster through a Fender twin is dead center in the mix. Bass is a no-name bass run through amp emulation. Percussion is Superior Drummer 2. I know Dave Grohl hates computer drums but it's the best thing I got, soooo.... Sorry Dave. I still love you.

Vocals are doubled, slightly compressed, and run though an emulated reel-to-reel and tube saturation for a bit of extra warmth and grit. Also the first use of my new pop filter that my wife bought me for early father's day. She's the best.

Read the rest

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