April 04, 2007

Office Orchestra

Office.jpgUsing found objects as musical instruments isn’t a particularly new or unusual idea. Nonetheless, its hard not to be impressed by the range of mundane sound sources – from rulers and articulated lamps through to dentist’s drills and hair removal strips – that Sweden’s Kunliga Filharmoniska Orkestern employ in this video of an office block rendition of Dolly Parton’s Nine To Five. (via Neatorama)

Posted by Warren at 12:08 AM

December 23, 2005

Toothbrushes of Myanmar

Toothbrush.jpgThe sound of the toothbrush is essentially rhythmic. Opening and closing your mouth produces a wah-wah-like effect… almost melodic… Many bathrooms have excellent reverb. Future toothbrush freaks will notice that the sound is drier with less or no toothpaste at all, while it becomes quite juicy with lots of foam. All is a question of balance...

When you find “production notes” like this in a CD booklet, you know you’re in for a treat... The CD they come from is Toothbrush Fever, a collection of quirky field-recording-based compositions put together by Naing Naing (aka Francois L’Homer), a veteran of the Parisian hardcore scene who currently works as a Red Cross translator in Myanmar, where he spends his spare time obsessively recording anything that excites his ear. In addition to toothbrushes, his sound sources include frogs, birds, crickets, generators and ice cubes; and, as you might guess from the quoted liner notes, there’s a wonderful sense of whimsy to much of his work.

Nowhere is this better exemplified than on Brosse A Danse, a stomping Matmos-goes-clubbing number featuring the aforementioned toothbrushes, a balloon, and some pertinent advice on dental hygiene. Download, lather, rinse and enjoy.

If you want to hear what the rest of the album has to offer, Francois’ website has an extensive collection of track excerpts, along with a complete version of Greensleeves “performed” by birds. And if you want to buy the CD, it can be purchased online from ReR Megacorp.

Posted by Warren at 11:28 PM

May 05, 2005

Ice Cream Van Music Update: A Moment Of Taiwanese Garbage Collection Weirdness

Last week, I posted a link about Music Thing's research into the origins of ice cream van music and in response, I received the following comment from Rummage reader and fellow blogger, Bummpy:

I recently got back from a trip to visit my brother in Taipei.

I figured I'd jump on and fill you in on interesting tid-bit of information.

Taipei is such a densely packed metropolis, there's no easy way to coordinate garbage removal. So the way they got around this was to mount speakers to the garbage trucks to let people know they are coming. Only thing about it is that they play the same music ice cream trucks play back in the states. It's completely bazaar.

He promised a couple of video samples, and here's one of them which comes complete with commentary worth bottling (then later sampling)... Yes, the music your hear... is a freaking garbage truck... Not an ice cream truck... Its a freaking garbage truck... Its the truth, I shit you not...

Freaking great find, Bummpy!

Posted by Warren at 01:16 AM

April 28, 2005

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