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20 May 2010 01:06


Music: (Sine) Wave of the future: Multitouch musical instruments

  • what roger linn can do Linn has created a cool new musical instrument that plays music on a touchscreen in a pretty innovative way. The organization (in chromatic scale) is key to this setup being fairly easy to play. The downside: Amazon bought the technology Linn used to make the device.

  • What Bebot can do It’s actually kind of reminiscent of an iPhone app called Bebot, which allows you to play a touch-sensitive synth in a similar fashion. It doesn’t use a scale in the way Linn’s awesome instrument does, but it does have a cool robot who sings your tunes. Hooray!

27 Feb 2010 23:23


Music: Saturday Mixtape: We’re punishing you with experimental music

  • Experimental music is in its gravy days. With bands from Animal Collective to Grizzly Bear taking on-its-face odd music to the Billboard charts, we figured we were due to look back at some of the roots of weird tuneage. Most of this stuff isn’t as listenable as, say, Lady Gaga, but there’s something to be said about the challenge they offer.
  • 1. This is kinda accessible. Steve Reich is perhaps the most famous name of minimalist music. From magnetic-tape-looped early works such as “It’s Gonna Rain” to later instrumental and sampled works, he’s a huge influence on what indie rock has become. You can hear, for example, some of Sufjan Stevens’ musical left fields in “Pulses.”
  • 2. Talk about acquired taste. The Residents may perhaps be the most acquired taste in the history of rock music, but not one without a great history. A bunch of experimental raiders, the band has managed to keep its public profile secret for about 40 years now – or about four times longer than KISS did. And in 1979, they even got nominated for a Grammy for “Eskimo,” an album of made-up Inuit folk tales. The comparisons to Animal Collective are myriad.
  • 3. Also acquired taste. The Red Crayola/Krayola is a band that famously knew little about playing their instruments at first (but lots about freaking out), and now is a musical front for psych-rock survivor Mayo Thompson, who later worked with members of Tortoise. Fun fact: The guy playing keys on “Hurricane Fighter Plane” is Roky Erickson, a garage-rock icon who has a pretty interesting history of his own.
  • 4. By this point, also acquired. Scott Walker’s early career – which leaned heavily on orchestral pop – was hugely influential on dudes such as Beck (“Scott 4” is one of the most underrated albums ever). But by the early ’80s, he started going off the grid, to the point that by 1995’s “Tilt,” his music was completely unrecognizable. “Farmer in the City” is a beautiful, cinematic tune, but it’s also a complete mind-screw.
  • 5. This is acquired, too. Captain Beefheart‘s weird, off-key masterpiece, “Trout Mask Replica,” still isn’t very easy to find legally online, but debut album “Safe as Milk” still has a lot of the cluster-screwing elements that his later works did. If you had Howlin’ Wolf drop a lot of acid, you might get kinda close.

12 Dec 2009 16:36


Tech: Our spidey-sense just detected the phrase “Google Phone”

  • ZOMG we had fireworks and we all got the new Google phone. It’s beautiful.
  • Google employee Leslie Hawthorn • Revealing to the world that she got a “Google phone” – a product that was given out to Google employees yesterday. Google responded to the Twitter message, referring to it as “dogfooding” (as in “eating your own dogfood”) and noting that it was an experimental product not for general consumption. Still has us really curious. source

17 Oct 2009 19:47


Tech: Canabalt is the biggest dead-simple time-sucking game ever

  • Canabalt makes us want to stop everything we’re doing and just play it for six hours. But we couldn’t do that to you guys. The game, originally designed for the Experimental Gameplay Project, somehow turns a one-button game into the most-exciting duck-and-jump adventure this side of “Die Hard.” Best part? There’s an iPhone version that’s just as exciting (and simply-designed) as the Flash game. source

24 Sep 2009 08:24


U.S., World: More on the HIV vaccine: What’s next and what’s possible?

  • Tests will have been done to verify that the difference is unlikely to have occurred by chance and I have no trouble believing the figures.
  • Dr. Adriano Boasso • An HIV expert at Imperial College London, on whether or not the findings mean something. According to Boasso and others, they mean a lot. While it’s possible the results come down to chance, the release of the full trial data will go a long way in confirming exactly how successful the drugs really were. The BBC has an informative Q&A which should answer some of the big questions on how it was done (a cocktail mix of a primer vaccine and a booster vaccine) and whether or not it’s ready for prime time (at 31.2%, no, but it’s a start). • source

24 Sep 2009 08:12


U.S., World: Well, that’s something; an AIDS vaccine that might just work

  • 31.2% cut in HIV infections with the new drug, compared to a placebo
  • zero cut in HIV infections with previous HIV drugs; that’s a big deal source

15 Sep 2009 11:11



17 May 2009 14:51


Culture: “The Lemon Tree” is a spiffy little experimental film

  • The visuals: Exciting. The narrative: Experimental and all over the place. The voiceover: Spooky. All in all, it makes for a neat little three minutes of your time.

28 Apr 2009 21:44


Music: This is like an indie kid’s dream tour … almost

  • one Dan Deacon: King of Wham City, Baltimore hipster freak, Casiotone supergenius, holding the Raymond Scott baton for a new generation of hipsters. Awesome.
  • two Deerhunter: Atlanta’s shoegazing innovators, creators of our favorite album of last year, complete with iconoclast lead singer Bradford Cox. Also pretty awesome.
  • three No Age: Pretty much the band responsible for bringing noise back to the forefront of indie rock. Leaders of the scene at L.A.’s Smell hipster dwelling. Overrated.
  • four The format: Round robin. All three bands set up at once. One band plays a song. The audience moves. Another band plays. The audience moves again. And so on. AWESOME! source

11 Apr 2009 09:19


Music: ShortFormBlog’s Saturday mixtape: Five songs we recommend

  • one The L.A. band noise-rock HEALTH has managed to slowly expand its experimental roots into something palatable, as on stellar new single “Die Slow.”
  • two Jay Reatard stinks live – he doesn’t really have stage presence – but he has solid individual songs, such as “See Saw” from last year’s “Matador Singles ’08.”
  • three We really dig the noisy lo-fi electronica of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, especially when he covers Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia.”
  • four Rough-’round-the-edges Psych-folkie Rodriguez, a Detroit native, became big without knowing it in South Africa thanks to “Sugar Man” and his 1970 album “Cold Fact.”
  • five We’re big Dan Deacon fans here, and “Bromst” has yet to go off our musical radar. With songs like “Padding Ghost,” with its euphoric melodies, why would it?