Never thought Lady Gaga would make it onto this blog, but well, the day has come. Gaga must be the most original and provocative pop artist that’s ever been out there. She’s climbed on top of the pop industry with plenty of creativity, rich videos and a sense of style that can’t be seen anywhere else. More on the respect that Gaga deserves on Asi’s blog.
Drawdio is a really clever project coming from MIT media labs that allows you to transform everyday objects into brave new musical instruments.
Imagine you could draw musical instruments on normal paper with any pencil (cheap circuit thumb-tacked on) and then play them with your finger. The Drawdio circuit-craft lets you MacGuyver your everyday objects into musical instruments: paintbrushes, macaroni, trees, grandpa, even the kitchen sink…
Drawdio brings to life the everyday interconnections between people and environment, encouraging you to use your sense of touch, and letting you hear otherwise invisible electrical connections by creating, remixing, and playing.
The music industry has been changing for years, but the last couple of years have brought an even more accelerated rate of change for it. The way music lives online has changed beyond everything not to mention the way people interact with it. A few years ago unless a band had a site, all you could do was purchase or steal its music, or become the band’s friend on MySpace. Fortunately these days are over and we can gradually see more and more ways of meaningful ways of interacting with artists and fellow fans online. From LastFm to SoundCloud, things are getting more and more interesting.
To start from the consuming part of the society, or fans, as some like to call them, Spotify has become a major player on the scene. In the countries where it is available, Spotify has probably eradicated the need for buying or stealing music. Unless you’re chasing a niche artist, you can pretty much bet on finding what you’re looking for on Spotify and listening to it for free so long as you’re online and in one of the countries where it is available in its non-premium mode. If you want to get rid of the radio-like advertising and have it offline, you can just give them some money every month and live happily ever after.
My recent two favourites in the music scene are 8tracks and SoundCloud, 2 quite different online services. 8tracks is one of the simplest and least marketed and yet one of the most rewarding music services online you can find. 8tracks is all about man-made mixes – you can create mixes and listen to those made by other users. Once you’re finished with one, the site will swiftly redirect you to another mix that is compatible with what you were listening to before. You can create your own mixes with your own music or the music already in the 8tracks system via the ‘network’ option. You can search through genres, songs, artists or specific users, who they follow or who is following them. Yes, the following is very Twitter-like capability, except that instead of people’s blurbs you get music mixes that you can favourite or star the songs you like best. All in a really simple and elegant way that doesn’t nag you to pay or click on things. So far my definite favourite for discovering new music!
SoundCloud is probably the most innovative and versatile beast out there though. They’re not for the most part preoccupied with serving to the consumers, but are more focused on providing solutions for the creators of music. SoundCloud allows you to upload music and share it with everyone or those you want to share it with, but that’s just a part of it. SoundCloud has created a super-easy and embeddable way of putting music on your blog, on Twitter, just about anywhere you’d like it in fact through an audio widget that allows others to leave comments on particular bits of the tune. All this is trackable by those who upload it, whether it’s you or an artist managing a newly released track.
So yeah, sorry MySpace, but the friending and events sections just aren’t that hot these days.
[Image courtesy of .neha]
I’ve come across many a strange things in the music world, but die Antwoord has definitely pushed some of the limits on my music weirdness shelf. The band comes from Cape Town and describes itself as:
Die Antwoord is a lovable, mongrel-like entity made in Zuid Afrika, the love-child of many diverse cultures, black, white, coloured and alien, all pumped into one wild and crazy journey down the crooked path to enlightenment.
The music is someplace between rap and god knows what else, while the people running the show are even harder to put your finger on. I can’t even decide if this is entertaining, great, or scary, but one thing it definitely is, is original. Die Antwoord consist of people who greatly remind me of Gummo, have a Progeria survivor on the team, the rest showered in very unique styling. The band is supported by Jeagermeister and Puma, have a very good site and have been blown all over the web with the publicity that came via the post on them over at BoingBoing.
I’ve been seeing more jazz lately and it still only makes me want to increase the doses. I don’t know how it works exactly, but somehow good jazz seems to be the best happiness fix for me when compared to all other music genres. I’ve just bought Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks, a book that will hopefully tell me more about the music-brain-emotion-culture connections.
Apart from the music they create, I’ve been enjoying watching the musicians’ faces as they play. I can’t think of any other human activities that bring out so much focus, expression and joy in public on a consistent basis.
Official music video for ‘Ljósið’ taken from Ólafur Arnalds – ‘Found Songs’ (2009). Lovely video directed by Esteban Diácono. Enjoy…