Skrillex Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites on Acoustic Guitar

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Like attracts like. My good friend Dan Rosen (who is not merely very interesting to talk to) hit me with a link to this the other day and I have been debating whether to tip the Strong Like Water ship one more notch towards Skrillex’ direction and relay it to you my subscribers.

As you can see by this cute acoustic version of Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, I have won the debate and so have you:

You can download that from the artist’s facebook page (for the grand price of one like) here:

Palindrom – Northbound (Dub Version)

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Awesome stripped back minimal techno dub has always been a style I love. Monolake, Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound are stand outs.

If you like that, check out this one from Palindrom. Monster production. Enough said.

Aphex Twin Girl Boy on Guitar

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Andrew Flanders appears to be practicing Aphex Twin covers on acoustic guitar. An ex-rock guitarist, he’s challenging himself by playing technical music like this, practicing his finger work. A self-confessed lover of Aphex Twin’s music, this time he capably delivers an incredible take on Girl/Boy from the gorgeous Richard D. James Album.

Skrillex Sample Yes Oh My Gosh

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Skrillex dubstep has featured fairly heavily on this site in the past week. In fact our server nearly melted when Skrillex retweeted us. 390,000 followers will do that. So I thought it might be a good time to share a cool sample discovery that had me laughing out loud. The sample has really strange origins that you would never guess.

Readers will know Skrillex’s Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites – if not, get it 🙂

The track features a really high energy sample right before the drop. This is characteristic of this kind of dubstep – a style some people love and others hate. The sample is of a girl screaming “YES! OH MY GOSH!”. Then the drop goes wild with bitcrushed, modulated bass wobbles.

I always wondered what was going on in that sample, what was the story behind it? Was everyone OK? Some of these samples turn me off this kind of dubstep – they’re frequently apocalyptic emergency sounding exclamations. I don’t like the thought of reliving someone’s life-threatening experience – even if it’s only a sample from a movie.

In this case the girl is real, Rachael Nedrow from the USA and she is a world champion Cup Stacker. Yes. That’s right. It’s a sport. You stack cups really fast. Yes you read that right.

I know.

There’s no denying she is fast, and she’s enthusiastic. The apocalypse in this case is her reaction to beating her own best record for a set cup stacking routine (called a “cycle”). Absolutely sound sample worthy.

Here she is, “united at last” with Skrillex in full sync.

How to Perform Dubstep Wobbles on a Live Bass Guitar

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OK so after my post on the excellent version of Skrillex’s Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites, I discovered the method the bass player uses to achieve the characteristic dubstep wub wub wub bass wobbles on an electric bass guitar.

Thanks all those people who emailed me to tell me what it was – many of you were even correct!

But before I give away the technique, here’s a closer look at the dubstep action live:

That’s Nathan Navarro performing there and he’s using the Source Audio Hot Hand.

I’m sure it won’t come as a complete surprise that just buying the Hot Hand will not alone make you play as well as Nathan. But it looks like a lot of wub wubbing fun to me.

Live Skrillex Dubstep Performed by Pin Panelle

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This band has performs Skrillex’s dubstep hit Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites
 so faithfully it’s freaky.



You have to admire their attention to detail. If anything though, I think it’s too close to the original but it’s an excellent yet simple video showing how they achieve this with live instruments. The bass wobble control is an interesting piece of tech I’ll have to look into. The filters seem to be modulated by the little blue thing on the bass player’s thumb. Is that a bluetooth theremin midi control or what? If anyone knows speak up.


Update: I found out how they did it: How to Perform Dubstep Bass Wobbles

Bending Space and Time with Portal Mashups

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So you know Portal, the little game that in everybody’s eyes single handedly created the genre “first person physics puzzler”. The much anticipated Portal 2 was released in 2011 and ever since, the portal gun meme has infected many games and popular culture.

We’ve blogged about the Super Mario Portal Mashup previously. And because portal guns are the bacon of video games – making everything better – why not start with the portal concept and mash it up with time dilation and discontinuity effects such as those that form the game mechanics in “Snapshot”?
Why not indeed?

Here’s Super Fun Dungeon Run:

You take photos which can be placed and then become portals that you can walk through, teleporting you like portals, to the position they were taken but with the crucial addition that they also hold time still until you enter them. Or until things exit from them! Ready to freak out?

And here’s 2d platformer Snapshot:

Which uses the snapshot mechanic in a way that brings to mind the incredible time-direction-reversing, lush, painterly Braid :

Is there no end to Portal Mashups? Not yet. There’s even a Minecraft Portal Mashup:

Those indie kids!

Aphex Twin – Alberto Balsalm on Guitar

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Long time readers will know we’ve covered the steel drum version, now hear a very capable and quite nicely played steel string acoustic version of electronic wunderkind Aphex Twin’s beautiful melodic array that is Alberto Balsalm

The harmonics are ingenious. Boy can play!

Games are good for kids – Excursion to Valve

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Evergreen highschool in the US sent their kids on a field trip to Valve, kids made their own levels, understood the value of working in teams and made some really cool stuff using physics, creative thinking and the latest technology… Better than the zoo?

C/O Valve and video games in eduction here


Beatbox Beardyman and Nathan Flutebox Lee at Google

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Another incredible set, dipping into two of the UK’s top er.. x-boxers? No that’s not right.

Well a “flute boxer” and a beat boxer walk into a bar and .. nah. maybe not.

I hope this sounds alright. We got here with an hour and a half to spare to sound check… and then someone… touched the dial. crowd groans

This is a pale shadow of a fragment of a mere slither of a hint of what you can expect:

  • The Night Rider theme song (OMG!)
  • James Brown! Oww!
  • Hip hop beatboxing
  • Bird flying high (you know how I feel) – amazing
  • Drum and bass (duh) “I think it made it as far as New Zealand”
  • You were always on my mind (listen for the fart noise (really))
  • 1927’s 80s pop classic “Take on Me”, the Beardyman Break mix (yo)
  • Marlon Brando as the Godfather and flute
  • David Attenborough commentary (with incredible bird noises)
  • Bangra style duet
  • Classic R&B with beautifully rendered vocal vinyl scratching
  • Walking double bass
  • Oh my got they had to do Beasty Boys “Flute Loop”

And all that is great and everything. But shouldn’t all those programmers get back to typing in zeroes and ones? </jealous>

Timelapse Girl Takes a Photo Every Day for 4.5 Years

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Look at how her eyes stay fixed. She cuts her hair, she gets ready for parties, her mood changes but she always takes the photo. Every day for 4.5 years.

Minecraft Piston Powered Monorail

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Minecraft redstone creation videos are always trying to one-up each other. The nerdcore amongst us compete to take the crown for fastest or most compact implementation of some kind of machine – or to build something everyone before had assumed was impossible.

With this in mind, I introduce you to toasttify’s Piston Powered Monorail. Give it up for toasttify!! woo!

So obviously there are much smaller ways to do this… but this looks FREAKIN AWESOME

I concur.

Kiva Microfinance Visualisation

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Kiva is a microfinance platform. What’s that?

It’s a way to lend small amounts of money to people in poor countries who are trying to earn a crust. Small time entrepreneurs, you know, fishmongers and the like.

This video shows the flow of money loans across the globe over the past five years. It’s interesting to see how Kiva has grown in popularity and reach.

Intercontinental Ballistic Microfinance from Kiva on Vimeo.

Bruce Lee: “Be Like Water”

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Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.

— Bruce Lee

How to Dance to Dubstep by Small Child

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Small Child demonstrates Correct Technique.