I made this today – just a sketch, using my Novation Launchpad Pro (thanks team!) and Ableton Push. It turned out more melancholy than I expected. Please click like on SoundCloud if you like it. It’s available under Creative Commons Share Alike license:
Wasabi is hot! I’m sure I’m not the first to say so. Check this stunning performance on his custom MIDI Fighter 64. Watch for the 90º rotation.
For all the harp hating I intimated previously, now my protestations are a flimsy, hollow impossibility. But can I please still retain my harp-misgivings if I explain how this Senegalese man, Seckou Keita, brings a warm, cyclic effusion to this duet and how this Welsh woman, Catrin Finch, plays so delightfully into and around the rhythm which, yes, does contain the very grime I have said this instrument lacks.
Before the flames befall me, strictly, Seckou Keita plays the kora which I am assured is more like a lute and it achieves its bottom end thanks to a resonating body. Nevertheless the kora’s harp-like auditory quality is clear and I feel the need to get this off my chest.
Can I further draw your attention to the way this piece contains sound – not just composition? It contains rhythm – if not funk – and harmony with the husky textures of wood and strings. I’m usually pretty happy to forego melody for all that but to also find that here, calling me closer in refrain, yet living within the texture – that sort of thing makes me listen again. It makes me fret I’ll repeat it too often and wear out my wonder, deny my future self this same abandon.
As they reach the middle of the performance, I see how they are getting into it. Look at them grinning like they just shared a joke. When I watch, I see them taken away from their fingers and technique, forgetting everything but the moment and being surprised and delighted by what they find in that moment, even as they themselves create it for us all.
Towards the conclusion of the piece, things embolden in an anthematic and ever rising cycle that warms me more than the sun. This is not what I had come to expect from the harp.
After the last harp video I posted it’s a statement I find increasingly hard to defend, but I don’t necessarily like the harp, per se. It lacks grime. But this … this it transcendent. This performance of one of my all time favourite pieces of sublime music literally brings tears to the eye.
Music is what feelings sound like indeed. I love it when music does this. You take one of the worlds most avant garde electronic production duos, English pioneers Autechre, and you do a live cover with a rock lineup. Breathtaking performance and tasteful, even-handed effects processing by smirking Belgian fusion three piece, Altertape (file under drummer-maestro-secret-sauce).
Check this rendition of Johann’s monster tune Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. To my admittedly amateur ear Amy Turk smashes this. I sometimes find the soft yet nasal harp a little too knitted-vest-and-sensible-socks, slightly too white roses and not quite enough motorcycle leather but this one has me quite entranced.
Sweet little floaty space track.
Closer Musik – one two three (no gravity)
Artist: Closer Musik
Album: Spielt 20 Jahre Kompakt
via Simon Caldwell (sunset FBI, 94.5 Sydney, Australia)
I must admit I am city sick
One of the best female folk duos ever, this recording from about 1993.
I only wish I could post a video of them singing and playing it.
Brooklyn instrumental duo Ratatat have something interesting going on. The music is electronic dance but they dirty the lower tempo house beats with sophisticated choppy rhythm layers, 70s-style guitar riffs and fuzzy synth chords. There’s a little bit of the LA sound, like Flying Lotus, but then the square punch also reminds me of Daft Punk. There’s definitely a strain of psychedelia.
So that’s the music, but why I’m really blogging this is the video clips.
I’m not sure if somebody has slipped something into the video producer’s milkshake but the results are surprisingly stunning. Stunning in the sense that my first reaction was bewilderment. They look like intentionally failed attempts to utterly underwhelm. That stunned feeling quickly gave way to a rising mirth and wonder, like I get when experiencing a zen koan. Perhaps one isn’t expected to arrive with satisfaction at rational comprehension.
Here’s “Cream on Chrome” which may have been test footage from a budget Beijing karaoke joint that had been found in the trash folder of a backpacker’s SD card.
In “Neckbrace” I want to believe they have a highly trained battery of incredibly disciplined birds. Add a drummer with a bare snare, and that’s almost all they need on-screen.
In this one it seems like they’ve repurposed footage from a stock photography shoot, because, what could be cooler than a fake sequence of normal people acting normal?
Check out this incredible display of prodigious drum skill by Jojo Mayer. Now that’s what I call drum and bass. Well, technically, I think you might call this genre Jungle but it’s all good. I’m not too sure I’m on board with the genre of camera work employed however!
An incredible demonstration of precision and a jaw-dropping creative rendition of Bach’s seminal Prelude No. 1 in C Major (BWV 846) by French group Les Objets Volants…
… using only Boomwhackers
Brian Fitzy starts this jam out with a straight-up acoustic guitar song but by half way has built up half a dozen layers including electric violin and decent beatboxing. Don’t quit out before you get to the good stuff. Nice breakdown too.
Created as part of the soundtrack for The Bitcoin Doco, here’s the original Bitcoin Mix.
The documentary is quite interesting:
This is exactly what it needs to be!!
Everything also needs two exclamation marks!! And bunnies!!
John Cage was a genius. Her he is in his own words on sound and silence – stunning in a brilliant and complete encapsulation of my own feelings about sound and silence.
To learn more about John Cage: http://johncage.org/