Tag Archives | Music

Baby Got Bach: Sir Mix-A-Lot Performs With The Seattle Symphony Orchestra

“Now in its third year, Seattle Symphony’s critically acclaimed Sonic Evolution project creates a bridge between the Symphony and Seattle’s storied reputation as launching pad for some of the most creative musicians on the popular music scene. Each year, in celebration of the past, present and future of our city’s musical legacy, Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony commission world-class composers to write orchestral world premieres inspired by bands and artists that launched from, or are related to, Seattle.

In addition to writing a brand new composition inspired by Seattle’s own Sir Mix-A-Lot, composer Gabriel Prokofiev also orchestrated two of the legendary rapper’s most famous hits for this year’s concert, including “Baby Got Back,” for which Sir Mix-A-Lot joined Ludovic Morlot and the Orchestra on stage at Benaroya Hall.”

Hat tip: Neatorama

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A Disconcerting Concert: Animus and Anima in Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto

BeethovenMusicologists maintain that, in the history of classical music, the symphony and the sonata are the more ambitious form of composition. In effect, the concerto for one or more instruments and orchestra is inevitably more theatrical, often promoting, rather than music per se, vacuous virtuosity. But Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto for piano and orchestra elevates the generally facile juxtaposition between soloist and orchestra to an accomplished integration of Animus and Anima, sun and moon, the two opposing elements of the universe in a triumphantly réussi instance of coniunctio oppositorum.

The following — whose style is intended as a tribute to Hector Berlioz’s A Critical Study of Beethoven’s Symphonies — should encourage the reader to go back to the source, i.e., the concerto itself, whether it be the first time you listen to it, or the umpteenth.

Beethoven’s Klavierkonzert No. 5 [Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major Op. 73 (“Emperor”)] is the prototype of concerting perfection.… Read the rest

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The Wendy Carlos Multiphonic Keyboard And The Museum Of Imaginary Instruments

The altogether delightful Museum of Imaginary Instruments features not-quite-yet-real musical devices that hover at the boundaries of physical law and the human senses. Take, for instance, electronica pioneer Wendy Carlos’s dream keyboard of the new era:

Wendy Carlos is best known as a pioneer of the synthesizer who reached mass audiences with soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971). While never-before-heard timbres were a stunning feature of these works, Carlos also pursued another avenue opened up by synthesizers: the development of new tunings. Based on a design by R. H. M. Bosanquet from 1875, her proposed generalized keyboard divided the octave into 53 equal steps, strategically arranged so as to make all regular divisions of the octave playable. Carlos wrote. Alas, like the shift to meantone Carlos expected to see as digital synthesizing equipment became more common, the keyboard was not to be.

multiphonic keyboard

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Why Wu-Tang Will Release Just One Copy Of Its Secret Album

wu tangYou have to admit, the latest idea from RZA and the Wu Tang Clan is going to start a debate that’s well worth having: should an album of recorded music be prized as a unique work of art in the same way as a painting? From Forbes:

Somewhere on the outskirts of Marrakech, Morocco, inside a vault housed beneath the shadow of the Atlas Mountains, there sits an engraved silver-and-nickel box with the potential to spawn a shift in the way music is consumed and monetized.

The lustrous container was handcrafted over the course of three months by British-Moroccan artist Yahya, whose works have been commissioned by royal families and business leaders around the world. Soon, it will contain a different sort of art piece: the Wu-Tang Clan’s double-album The Wu – Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, recorded in secret over the past few years.

Like the work of a master Impressionist, it will truly be one-of-a-kind—in lieu of a traditional major label or independent launch, the iconic hip-hop collective will make and sell just one copy of the album.

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A 1969 Visit To The Shoreditch Experimental Music School

Welcome to the Shoreditch Experimental Music School – I would give anything to have had an elementary school experience along these lines. This amazing Peter Fletcher-hosted BBC program from 1969 reveals the cutting edge of experimental art education. Highlights include kids learning about tape loops, a music piece about the concept of heat, and a deeply disturbing masked group performance about cholera death:
Children from infant, secondary modern & comprehensive schools apply methods of contemporary music, including demonstrations of simple tape & electronic techniques. The children discuss with teacher how different sounds may be produced and experiment with electric circuits and loops on the tape recorder.
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Victorian Phenakistoscope Animations Repurposed For Music Video

Filmmakers Keith and David Lynch used images from vintage Victorian phenakistoscope discs in this music video for “The Hope of a Favourable Outcome” a song by Canadian composer Carly Paradis. If you’re into film scores, then you may know her already for her piano work on the soundtrack to Duncan Jones’ excellent science fiction film Moon.

Via The Verge.

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A Music Video From Egypt With a Message: ‘Some People Are Dancing And Others Are Dying…’

cairokeevia chycho I came across the following music video from Cairokee on the Egypt subReddit. I don’t speak Arabic so I had no idea what the lyricist was saying, but I found the tone to be extremely powerful and really wanted to know what the message was, so I asked if anyone could provide a translation. I received a personal message with a draft translation which I greatly appreciated. As well, another user was kind enough to post a more detailed translation to the subReddit. Below you will find the translation of the lyrics and the music video. I believe the message will resonate not just with those struggling in the Arab world to dispose of their oligarchs and dictators, but with everyone across the globe struggling for freedom, social justice, equality, dignity, human rights, and with those who oppose the system. كايروكي - ناس بترقص و ناس بتموت Cairokee – “Some people are dancing and others are dying”
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Pete Seeger As Media Maker and Critic

Pete Seeger NYWTS 2Pete Seeger, my American idol, was a great singer, songsmith. Troubadour and progressive voice. His death was celebrated with tributes in leading newspapers the world over.

What’s less well known is that Seeger wanted to be a newspaperman, but thanks to his unique skills, deep talent and incredible artistry, he actually “covered” the world in ways that went above and beyond what appeared in much of the media.

He was ahead of the News with the Times never quite able to catch up. He touched hearts as well as heads.

At the same time, he sang about the media with an edge that didn’t win him many friends in outlets that treated him as an eccentric, not a major cultural voice.
Here’s a song he liked to sing, written by Vern Partlow, and reported on by the Guardian, safely outside the USA.

“Oh, a newspaperman meets such interesting people
He knows the lowdown (now it can be told);

I’ll tell you quite reliably off the record,

About some charming people I have known.

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Psychoactive Soundscapes: The Trippiest Albums of 2013

sacredsigilservitor2A lot of the problem with viewing the universe as being comprised of matter comes with the idea that it’s devoid of conscious experience somehow. More and more, little by little, we’re starting to wake up to the insane limitations of this philosophy. Renders people humorless if you ask me. Nothing adds up, which creates profound existential desperation resonating throughout the collective psi-grid of humanity. There is no explanation for why anything happens, so we instead focus on how things go down in obsessive detail. Not to knock this approach, as it creates order by combining with the mystical chaos of internal infinity. Too much mystic psychic sizzle and you’ll get torn to shreds, but when you look at only shared perceptual experience, you’re editing out the vast majority of reality. It’s all dark matter through those eyes. Endless blacked out pages on a declassified UFO report.

What I’ve found is that by shifting models of reality interpretation just slightly from conceiving the world as being made of matter to one comprised from conscious experience, coherent macro concepts of conjoined narratives learning lessons throughout cycles of shifting lifetimes starts to take shape (which I talk about all the time on Facebook; friend me).… Read the rest

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Scott McCloud’s Four Types of Artists

artquadHere’s a fun scheme of classifying different types of artists. The scheme is Scott McCloud’s, mapped onto Ken Wilber’s quadrants. Can you think of any more examples?

From FC Student Blog:

In his book, Making Comics, Scott McCloud created a chart categorizing artists according to four intentions — what artists are most interested in, in creating art. His categories are:

  • Formalist — The Formalist is interested in examining the boundaries of an art form, stretching them, exploring what the form is capable of. The Formalist is interested in experimenting, turning the form upside-down and inside-out, moving in new, bold, untried directions, inventing and innovating. Formalists are the cutting edge, the avant-garde, the ones willing to break tradition and established ways. Strict narrative or craft is not as important as trying something new and unexpected, playing with and breaking traditional concepts, getting to the heart of understanding what art itself is.
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