April 28, 2005

How Do Birds Learn To Sing?

While we’re on the subject of eternal questions (cf ice cream van music), here’s an interesting piece of research from the boffins at MIT, who’ve managed to isolate the area of the brain that helps a young bird transform random chirps into trilling melodies. I’m not sure how much relevance these findings have to human minstrelsy, but I have no doubt that someone will a develop a gene therapy that will raise no end of controversy on Australian Idol 2010.

Posted by Warren at 02:24 AM

What Makes Ice Cream Van Music Sound The Way It Does?

A lengthy dissertation on this is just waiting to be written… And Tom over at Music Thing has laid the groundwork. After doing the research, he has uncovered crucial details about the technical history of ice cream van music systems, their favoured loudspeakers, and the chip-based synthesizers used to crank out those sickly versions of Greensleeves. There’s a doco in there somewhere…

Posted by Warren at 01:48 AM

The Feet... Of Rock

Roland Owsnitzk has one of the more fascinating photographic fetishes out there – the feet of musicians. For almost twenty years now, he’s been in the front row of gigs by performers as diverse as Cher, Nick Cave and Ornette Coleman; capturing their tootsies in glorious black and white. And now he’s made them available to us on this melopodophilic website. (via Boing Boing)

Posted by Warren at 01:00 AM

April 14, 2005

Funky Do Morro

Favela.jpgDuring a trip to Brazil in late 2003, Da Mystik Homeboy (that’s his nom de blog) became switched on to the sounds of funky do morro, a cranking fusion of Miami bass, hip hop and dancehall which emanates from the favelas (shantytowns) on the fringes of Sao Paolo and Rio De Janeiro. Since then he has been compiling an online archive of this music; most of it recorded in local garages by unknown (to an international audience) performers and purchased from street vendors. Now, thanks to the release of compilations of the do morro sound and the rapidly rising star of controversial rapper MIA and her funky do morro obsessed partner, Diplo, Homeboy’s musical passion has become one of the hottest things on the block. Go check it out and thrill to the sounds of next week’s global music superstars.

Posted by Warren at 11:17 PM

My Keytar Style Is Unstoppable

Music Thing, that blog-temple of extreme gearhound geekdom, is rapidly becoming the place to find videos of some of the more perplexing performers stomping the boards right now.
The most memorable of their recent finds is this performance by Croatian keytar virtuoso Belinda Bedekovic, who proves that you don’t need to be either male or have a guitar to throw down some serious cock-rock moves. (In her on-site bio, she quite justifiably claims that her keytar style “demolishes everything in front of her”.) In direct contrast to this is Brooklyn LEMUR affiliate, Eric Singer, who invests the fine art of flexing an orange tube with far more gravitas than it probably deserves.

Posted by Warren at 10:30 PM

April 12, 2005

The Most Reclusive Man In Music Becomes Less Reclusive

For more than a quarter of a century, Jandek was the ultimate reclusive artist. He released 40 albums of desolately dissonant abstract blues, but never performed live, rarely gave interviews, and for most of his fans, the only clues to his identity where the out-of-focus snapshots on his album covers…

Then, in October last year, Jandek actually did a gig at the Instal.04 festival in Glasgow. At the time, it was naturally assumed that this would be a one-off, and that Jandek would quickly retire to the shadows – never to return… But now, news has surfaced that there will be a follow-up performance at The Music Lover’s Field Companion festival in Gateshead, England on May 22… Can fully fledged tours supporting Radiohead or Sonic Youth be far behind? Or maybe a What Is Music headline? We await expectantly…

In the meantime, if you are unfamiliar with his work, here’s a track from the live bootleg of the Glasgow show. (You should be able to download the rest of the bootleg from a P2P site somewhere. Try Soulseek.)

Posted by Warren at 01:22 AM