The evolution of music from 1680 to 2017

I enjoyed the piano stylings of Lord Vinheteiro in this "Evolution of Music" video**. He plays a little music from each year, starting with 1680 and ending with 2017. There's Beethoven, Iron Maiden, Aqua, and more.

Another fun video of his has him playing the soundtrack and sound effects from Super MarioWorld on the piano along with the video game itself.

**Though I found his staring at the camera a bit jarring! Read the rest

San Francisco: Kronos Quartet's Kronos Festival April 26-28

Kronos Quartet, my favorite avant-garde classical group, is holding its Kronos Festival 2018 at San Francisco's SF JAZZ Center next week, April 26-28. I've attended multiple Kronos Festivals and they are always wonderful performances, each one an enchanting introduction to global (and local) sounds that are wonderfully unfamiliar to me yet open my ears and mind to new artists and perspectives. This year, the festival features artist-in-residence David Coulter and guests San Francisco Girls Chorus, Vân-Ánh Võ, Zakir Hussain, Mahsa Vahdat, Trio Da Kali, Jolie Holland, and avant-folk duo CocoRosie!

Special note: The Saturday matinee concert, "Around the World with Kronos," is meant for families with children ages 3 and up!

Here's the full schedule: Kronos Festival 2018

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Listen to Prince's original 'Nothing Compares 2 U' for the first time (and see him rehearsing in 1984)

On Saturday, it'll be two years since we lost Prince.

In remembrance of the "Purple One," his estate has released a video of long-lost footage of him rehearsing with his band in his Minnesota studio in 1984, coupled with his original recording of "Nothing Compares 2 U."

It's magnificent.

The Prince Estate writes:

The following is previously unseen rehearsal footage of Prince & The Revolution from the summer of 1984.

It was in this very room at Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie, Minnesota that Prince created and committed to tape one of his most beloved and iconic compositions, which six years later would become a worldwide hit for Sinead O’Connor.

Prince’s original studio version of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ is presented here for the first time.

Previously: Help wanted: Archivist for the Prince museum at Paisley Park Read the rest

Watch Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard play the re-prounouned Beatles song "And I Love Him"

Universal Love is a new compilation of wedding songs reimagined for same-sex couples. It includes the likes of Kesha doing "I Need a Woman to Love," Bob Dylan playing "He's Funny That Way," and my pal Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie singing "And I Love Him." Check out Ben's lovely performance on Conan last night!

More about Universal Love in this New York Times article. Read the rest

Help wanted: Archivist for the Prince museum at Paisley Park

Prince's Paisley Park, now a museum, is seeking an archives supervisor to "actively work in the care, catalog, storage and preservation of all artifacts and archival materials; the care, cleaning, and monitoring of all exhibits." According to the job requirements, "Some knowledge of Prince is helpful." From the job listing at the American Alliance of Museums site:

RESPONSIBILITIES:

Actively work in the care, catalog, storage and preservation of all artifacts and archival materials; the care, cleaning, and monitoring of all exhibits. Maintain and Update the archival database system. Monitor the trafficking of archive inventory. Assist the appropriate staff in having access to the archives collection as required. Travel/act as a courier of artifacts to locations where artifacts are to be displayed including the setting up and taking down of exhibits in these locations. Execute, maintain, and provide accurate conditioning reports for all items being moved from storage for exhibition. Ensure that the collections manual, preservation plans and archives emergency plan are observed. Locate, retrieve, and prepare artifacts for display/loans. Ensure the integrity of the collection in maintained at all times. Oversea all cleaning of exhibit spaces. Work with outside vendors to schedule monthly, quarterly and annual cleaning. Assist with Archives long term planning, conservation goals and preservation needs. Photograph and or scan artifacts when needed. Assist with exhibition installs. Maintain displayed artifacts in proper environment, eliminate risk to artifacts. Assist Director of Archives with coordinating activities involving the maintenance, preservation and mansion upkeep. Ensure the integrity of the exhibitions are maintained at all times. Read the rest

Amputee drummer with bionic playing arm launches Kickstarter

Drummer Jason Barnes, who only has one arm, has been collaborating with engineer Gil Weinberg of Georgia Tech's Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines to develop a cyborg arm that enables Barnes not only to play his kit again, but to "play at speeds not humanly possible... and play strange polyrhythms that no human can play." Weinberg and Barnes have now launched a Kickstarter to build another prosthetic cyborg arm that Barnes can take on the road. From IEEE Spectrum:

The Cyborg Drummer Project Kickstarter is looking to raise $90,000; of that, $70,000 will go straight to production of the new arm. A big chunk of the cost comes from trying to replace the “couple of computers and a technical team” that are currently required to operate the arm with components that are portable, self-contained, and user operated. The remaining $20,000 will go towards organizing concerts and making recordings so that folks who contribute will be able to hear and enjoy some of the result, potentially in person.

One of the unique things about the prosthetic that Weinberg and Barnes want to build is that it will be partially autonomous. There are two drumsticks: Barnes controls one; the other operates autonomously through its own actuator. The arm listens to the music being played (by Jason and the musicians around him) and improvises its own accompanying beat pattern. It's able to do this on the fly, and if it chooses to, is capable of moving at speeds far faster than a human drummer can.

Read the rest

Stego for Skrillex: hiding data in dubstep drops

Ben Cartwright-Cox observed that he could modulate the bass frequencies in electronic dance music/dubstep in a way that was easy to detect with a signal processor and inaudible to his unaided ears, so he wrote some code to hide messages in the wubwubwub. Read the rest

Watch this deeply emotional music video tribute to Milhouse of The Simpsons

"How could this happen? We started out like Romeo and Juliet but it ended up in tragedy!"

Lucien Hughes created this Simpsonwave clip for the Goody Grace track "210 Lilac Sky."

Read the rest

Watch this energetic lady fake hula hoop across town

Josh King directed this delightful video for Texas-based Khruangbin's song Evan Finds The Third Room. The casting is perfect, and her smiling is infectious. Read the rest

Friday Tunes: The Cramps

The Cramps got together in the same year I was born. I didn't discover them until I was 15 years old: the kindly middle-aged punk who ran a record shop in my hometown told me to check them out or he'd lay a whooping on me. I've never been so happy to have been afraid for my life: their love of trashy 1950's pulp culture, pinups and catchy surf guitar licks never fails to make me happy. Also, the band's guitarist, Poison Ivy, had some of the best damn hair in the history of music. I'll fight you on that.

The Cramps played, in one form or another, until the band's lead singer, Lux Interior, died of heart failure in 2009.

From the New York Times:

In 1979 the Cramps were guest D.J.’s on WPIX-FM in New York, spinning records by Wanda Jackson, the Electric Prunes, Herbie Duncan and other vintage rockabilly and garage acts. Lux Interior was asked by one of the station personalities about the music.

Taken aback by the question, he replied: “Rock ’n’ roll has absolutely nothing to do with music. It’s much more than music. Rock ’n’ roll is who you are. You can’t call the Cramps music. It’s noise, rockin’ noise.”

Naked Girl Falling Down the Stairs is from their self-produced album, Flamejob, released in 1994. It was the first record of theirs I bought. I had the chorus from the song stuck in my head for weeks. At school, in bed at night. Read the rest

Weird Al covers Billy Idol's 'Rebel Yell' live

"Weird Al" Yankovic is currently traveling North American performing for his Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour, one that he promised would not be business as usual. Living up to that promise, he recently performed Billy Idol's 1983 hit "Rebel Yell" live in Carmel, Indiana. No, not a parody of it, the actual song.

(He's also been playing Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird"!)

(The Awesomer) Read the rest

Watch a great interview with Björk and collaborator Jesse Kanda

This promising new series explores artistic collaboration, and the first episode features Björk and collaborator Jesse Kanda. Read the rest

Friday Tunes: Four Men and a Dog

Thanks to lousy weather conditions, I've been forced off the road from Texas to Alberta, Canada in an area near Tongue River State Park in Montana. There's no services here, save what we brought with us. The snow's coming down, hard. We'll have to dig our RV out once the roads clear. My wife was bitten by a dog five days ago. The wound's infected. Our engine has a coolant leak that we can't quite track down. Things are going great this week!

Fortunately, I can always rely on the joy I find in Irish trad to keep me from losing what's left of my mind. Here's Four Men & a Dog doling out a pair of tunes: Martin Wynn's and Touch Me if You Dare, back in 2010 for Smithsonian Folk Life.

The band's one of my favorites: with music that swaggers through Irish trad into American Bluegrass, early rock & roll and jazz, they're a delight to see in concert and, for me at least, deeply easy to listen to over and over again. Read the rest

When birds sound like heavy metal and hardcore vocalists

TIL two things:

1. YouTube is home to the world's only heavy metal-themed talk show. It's called Two Minutes to Late Night.

2. Vocalists of all metal subgenres often shriek and squawk like birds. To prove it, the Two Minutes to Late Night host recently asked ornithologist Tom Stephenson of BirdGenie (an app that identifies birds by their sounds), "What Birds Do Metal Singers Sound Like?" He had no problem matching birds to their metal equivalent.

For instance, the (most-non-metal) bird expert (ever) identified the Northern Potoo as a close match to the screeching vocals of Converge's 2001 metalcore song "Concubine." Ok, sure.

(The Awesomer) Read the rest

Rapper covers Dr. Seuss' "There's a Wocket in My Pocket!" with a Migos beat

Rapper Win Nevaluze (along with Jay Lava aka ScatterBrains News) rhymed Dr. Seuss' There's a Wocket in My Pocket! over the beat of Migos' and Drake's “Walk It, Talk It”.

How fun!

(Neatorama) Read the rest

Listen to Marvin Gaye sing "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" in an isolated vocal track

Most songs aren't as good when the instrumentals are stripped out, but Marvin Gaye's vocals in "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" are so powerful and haunting that they don't need accompaniment.

From Open Culture:

Marvin Gaye’s mega-hit, "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," turns 50 this year.

Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight got the first cracks at the now iconic Barrett Strong-Norman Whitfield tune, but Gaye’s 1968 rendition is the famous one, the bestselling Motown single of the decade.

Gaye’s former brother-in-law, Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, is perhaps the only one who wasn’t impressed, refusing to believe it could be a viable single until its enthusiastic reception by radio DJs and the listening public convinced him otherwise. In short order, In The Groove, the 1968 album on which it first appeared, was retitled with the name of its monster hit.

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Electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani explains synthesizers on kids TV show (1980)

On this 1980 episode of 3-2-1 Contact -- the excellent PBS kids TV show about science -- legendary experimental electronic musician Suzanne Ciani explains the basics of synthesizer technology. If you aren't hip to Ciani's music that spans avant-garde, classical, cinematic, and new age genres, I highly recommend you check out the fine anthologies and reissues of her work from the good people at Finders Keepers Records. Below, her stunning track "Paris 1971" from the compilation "Lixiviation 1968-1985." And you can check out Ciani live at this May's Moogfest in Durham, North Carolina.

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