music

five-five-FIVE

September 22, 2009
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Today’s post is about music and science. In this video, a lecture from the World Science Festival, singer Bobby McFerrin demonstrates how humans seem to be hardwired to generate a pentatonic scale. The great thing about the presentation is that it’s not passive. I’m sure you found yourself anticipating the next interval just as the […]

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Hello, Baby

September 21, 2009
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Before mix tapes became fraught with emotional baggage (as chronicled in High Fidelity), they were the best way for friends to share musical discoveries and favorites. At one point I was juggling six active tape exchanges, each with its own playlist parameters. But the one thing all the mixes had in common was the use […]

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With the Beatles

September 11, 2009
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That’s how I’ve spent the last three days, with the Beatles. (I didn’t Meet the Beatles, that was a Capitol records construct.) I mentioned back in July that I had pre-ordered The Beatles Rock Band; it finally arrived on Wednesday. Needless to say, I spent five hours playing through all of the songs in solo […]

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Kind of Bloop

August 20, 2009
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Lots of musicians pay with 8-bit music composition programs, reworking pop favorites to sound like they were generated by old video game systems. But few have tried their hand at chiptune jazz, a deficiency that Andy Baio of Waxy.org sought to address with Kind of Bloop, released today: … an 8-bit tribute to Miles Davis’s […]

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Kind of Blue

August 17, 2009
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Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the release of what is widely considered the greatest jazz album ever recorded: Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. Although the record didn’t spring Athena-like out of Miles’ head, there was precious little warning that preceded it. In 1953, composer/arranger George Russell (who passed away just a few weeks […]

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Smells Like Rickrolling

July 31, 2009
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A perfect mashup and Rickrolling in one clip? How could I not re-post this: Only one of the musicians shown in this video still has a career. Who would have figured it to be the drummer?

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Bollywood Swinging

July 3, 2009
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Let’s close out the week of mourning with an unwitting tribute to he whose music infected the entire world: It’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get to Bollywood” by Bollywood Freaks, from their 2003 “Bombay Gangstarr” single. Remarkably, this track is the B side. I don’t know about you, but to me the lyrics sound better […]

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Once you’re gone, you can’t come back

July 2, 2009
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When I heard last week that bassist Hugh Hopper had died, I did what I always do when I musician I admired passes away: I spent the day listening to his music. Eventually I wound up listening to tracks from Soft Heap, the band Hopper formed with fellow Soft Machine alum Elton Dean, along with […]

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Most faithful mirror

June 28, 2009

You may remember the Cocteau Twins, the second best band1 on the 4AD label. What I loved about them — apart from their moody, evocative music — was the voice of their singer, Elizabeth Fraser. She made what were essentially nonsense lyrics sound like outpourings from the depths of her soul. Despite her contributions to […]

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It’s better to burn out than it is to rust

June 26, 2009

Swept up in the spirit of worldwide musical tribute to a dead, crazy, noseless, white-girl wannabe, I offer this, my favorite Michael Jackson track: It’s “Dab,” by composer John Oswald (anagramatically credited to “Alien Chasm Jock”), from his legendary album plunderphonic — the greatest record you’ll never hear. It was never commercially released, but it […]

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