March 02, 2005

Hamster MIDI... Orca Reggae... Animals Are Muslim Too

Ellroy.jpgLast Sunday, Daz became the proud adoptive parent of a cuter-than-porcelain-figurine West Highland Terrier puppy who she christened Ellroy. (Yes, there is a secret hope that he will soon be churning out doggy crime novels that get optioned for moviesÖ Itís a big untapped market, you know.) So, to belatedly commemorate his arrival, hereís a series of animal-related posts.

Hamster.jpgThe kinetic energy of small rodents is a vastly under-utilised resource. Engineering student, Levy Lorenzo, is keenly aware of this, so when his course called for a creative application of MIDI, he enlisted the talents of scampering hamsters. He set up 3 MIDI voices so that their rhythms and note sequences were controlled by 6 hamsters caged in the perspex rodent high-rise pictured on the left. Hamsterwerk can be seen in action in this video, and the resulting music can be heard in this mp3. (via Music Thing)

Killer_Whale.jpgJim Nollman, who was featured on Music Thing a couple of weeks ago, also understands the musical capacities of animals, but prefers to let them find their own voices. To this end, he pursues killer whales off the coast of Russia with an electric guitar, and plays a nose flute for flocks of turkeys Ė in the hope of kicking off human-animal duets. Heís had quite a bit of success with orcas and his site, Interspecies Inc, has a minute long audio sample of one of them soloing over his languid reggae-esque guitar lines. Elsewhere on the site are some natty little loops by dolphins, seal and other whales.

Muslim_Scouts.jpgFinally, a track from Muslim Scouts in Africa. This is an Islamic kids' cartoon series that I bought a video of from a shopping mall concourse vendor (the sort who flog pirate-copy VHSís from a table at the top of escalators) a couple of years ago. The series follows a group of Muslim Scouts (the Islamic equivalent of the Boy Scouts) as they tour East Africa; meeting locals, foiling the exploits of villainous Western rogues, and learning about the Islamic history of the region. Overall, itís a fairly pedestrian piece of kiddie animation thatís peppered with some truly woeful musical numbers. Animals Are Muslim Too is an exception; an almost dirge-like earworm that extols the virtues of caring for animals from an Islamic perspective. Yours to download here.

Posted by Warren at March 2, 2005 11:28 PM | Animals