I was recently reminded, while listening to an interesting business podcast called Think Act Get, of a fantastic book I read last year, one that sat in my mental reading queue for at least a decade. The book is called The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind spending a little while thinking about big questions.
If you’re wondering whether you will like it, just read the following quote slowly and properly, you will probably feel the same way about the whole book:
That was after some of us were discussing the Great Masters of Wisdom, and someone was saying how all of them came from the East, and I was saying that some of them didn’t, but he was going on and on, just like this sentence, not paying any attention, when I decided to read a quotation of Wisdom from the West, to prove that there was more to the world than one half, and I read:
“When you wake up in the morning. Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say. Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing,” he said.
“What’s that?” the Unbeliever asked.
“Wisdom from a Western Taoist,” I said.
“It sounds like something from Winnie-the-Pooh,” he said.
“It is,” I said.
“That’s not about Taoism,” he said.
“Oh, yes it is,” I said.
“No, it’s not,” he said.
“What do you think it’s about?” I said.
“It’s about this dumpy little bear that wander; around asking silly questions, making up songs, and going through all kinds of adventures, without ever accumulating any amount of intellectual knowledge or losing his simpleminded sort of happiness. That’s what it’s about,” he said.
A while ago we blogged about masterful bassist Nathan Navarro producing some pretty dope dubstep wobbles live on a bass guitar. At the time, Nathan was using the Source Audio Hot Hand which a lot of our visitors have been particularly interested in.
In case you don’t know, the Hot Hand is just like a guitar pedal, except that you can activate it by moving your hand. But it’s better than that. If you want to continuously change an effect, like a Wah Pedal, you can use it to modulate the sound. Of course the sound doesn’t just have to be a Wah Wah, and it works great for a lead guitar as well.
Better than that, you can actually control two parameters at once, so, really it’s more like a 2D control surface like a laptop trackpad. Being a modern control, you can choose what parameters you control, so it’s no surprise that Nathan manages to pump out some serious wub wubs and wow wows.
Great news for anyone who has been holding out before getting one of these babies, since our previous post there is a new version, the Hot Hand 3. It’s compatible with everything, has a huge wireless range and gives more options and more control than the earlier versions.
Check it now:
As Nathan demonstrates, you can have the Hot Hand on the headstock of the guitar or bass and move the whole guitar to generate an effect, or you can have the Hot Hand ring on which allows hand movements to do the same… or, if you’re Nathan Navarro, both at once!
Since working on Racer and launching it a few people have said, ‘oh it’s like such and such a game’ but I’m yet to find something that is truely as unique as this AND is in a browser. Racer is a multi-player, multi-device Chrome Experiment. A retro-style slot car game played across screens. On phones or tablets, Android or iOS. Anyone can join. No apps. No downloads. Just the mobile web. It’s now up for The FWA Cutting Edge Project of the Year. If you think it deserves it please cast a vote!
Here’s Racer being demo’d at Google I/O 2013 – live demos are always nerve wracking, thankfully this one went smoothly.
Also awesome and cutting edge is that there’s also an installation version that runs on the same code base as the mobile game. The table was at Google I/O 2013 and another Google event ‘Zeitgeist’. Here’s a couple of pics of the table:
In addition to the table version, there are two flight case boxes containing a line up of mobile devices ready to play. This version also runs on the same code base. Here’s a pic of the cases and me demo’ing it at Cannes 2013 in the Google tent :
This is my first exposure to Estas Tonne. Maybe he is Hugh Jackman’s long lost twin or what.
Watch his face. Now watch the crowd’s faces. He is transporting them to another place.
Classical purists might not be totally on board but this is exactly the sort of impassioned, accessible creativity that inspires me. It’s been a long time but that look of total absorption reminds me of the feeling I always followed when practicing guitar: being lost in the vibe improvisation.
The incense wedged in the guitar headstock is an interesting touch.
Jim Pavloff knows his way around Ableton Live, and, apart from being an accomplished creative producer in his own right, he has put together a couple of remakes which show just what goes into creating a classic electronic dance track… from the 90s.
Prodigy’s Liam Howlett famously composed most of Prodigy’s music single-handedly. He’s the genius behind the atomic riffs and explosive sample-laden dance floor rippers. It’s worth saying that when this music was new, all this production had to be done on physical devices… dozens of them.
These days digital electronic music production can all be done in software. Of course, it still requires talent to assemble. Jim Pavloff has that talent.
Jim, perhaps you could indulge us with some rock god poses of yourself during the intro? Thanks that would be great.
What we have here is a mix by Orson Throb of what I have always known as Ambient Dub. It’s a healthy dose of fresh minimal tech dub and misty high-altitude ambient electronica for your ears and your soul. He calls it “Some Everyday Things”. Well it’s not every day you hear something this good.
Walking down George Street, listening to this in my luscious noise cancelling headphones (Bose QC-15′s, not cheap but absolutely the best noise cancelling money can buy), I felt fully transported to another place.
It was a peaceful, compelling place. Calm yet insistent. Soothing yet stimulating. Focused, yet open wide. Like a week in a cottage on a deserted beach with your favourite people. Just enough time to forget yourself so you can remember who you really are. Clear blue skies, warm sun and cool afternoon breeze. Bleached driftwood. Salt spray. Sitting in the white sand eating hamburgers for lunch.