Finding the intersections between music, technology, and design are often challenging but when it’s done well it can certainly open up new worlds. A perfect example of this is the partnership between James Murphy, of LCD Soundsystem fame, and technologies company IBM who together creating “music” from tennis data supplied by the US Open. The video below does a good job of explaining how they code works and how they created an interface that was familiar to Murphy.
The outcome is quite unique, especially something on this scale. You can visit IBM’s Soundcloud page to get a taste of all the music that’s been created so far based on the data and it’s pretty staggering. It’s like an endless mix of chiptune tracks endlessly looping into one another. This Round of 16 collection is a perfect example as it runs almost 7 hours in total length, non-stop, back-to-back.
Adding to the experience is the fantastic artworks created for round by New York based artist and illustrator Karan Singh. I had been thinking about featuring Singh on the site recently though this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. His work is this mish-mash of hyper-saturated, flat colors which create the illusion of 3D shapes. I imagine this had to be a pretty fun yet exhausting project to work on. I’ve selected some of my favorite images below to give you a sense of the variety he’s created.
You can also see more of Karan’s pieces over on his Behance page.
Though it was a short week for many of us, I’m quite glad it’s already Friday and that the weekend is here. Easing me into the weekend is this incredible DJ set from Tycho, which he recorded while at the Burning Man festival last week. The set, which started at 5:40am, contains many of my favorite artists like Boards of Canada, White Denim, Atoms for Peace, Manitoba and many more. It runs a little over 2 hours so you’ll have plenty of mellow music to keep you going over the next few days.
I usually listen to music while I work, but I tend to put on albums with limited or no words, it’s easier to write that way. A lot of the time my go-to record is Solo Piano II by Chilly Gonzales. Released in 2012 the album is piano filled masterpiece that feels like an old silent film. There’s one track in particular though that stands out each time I hear and it’s called “Rideaux Lunaires”, the fifth track on the album.
There’s something magical about this piece that makes me think of the films of Miyazaki and the sense of wonder he achieves. At about the 1 minute mark there’s a beautiful refrain which makes you feel like you’re being carried away into the night sky.
If you’ve never heard this album before I highly suggest taking a listen, you definitely won’t be disappointed.
“Put it on as the sun goes down.” That’s the way Deru describes his newest mix which contains a number of unique tracks. Overall the mix is really laid back and mysterious feeling. There’s a lot of ambience to it and you’re never sure where it’s headed. My favorite part is The Acid transitioning into Philip Glass’ “Mishima” score. A mellow way to get the week started out.
00:00 – Random record samples #1
00:48 – Holger Czukay – Floatspace
03:46 – The Haxan Cloak – Excavation, Pt. 2
07:15 – Jacaszek – Dare-gale
12:25 – Kyson – You May Have Limited Time
17:18 – Random record samples #2
18:08 – The Acid – Veda
23:00 – Glass & Nyman: Works for Saxophone Quartet – String Quartet No. 3, “Mishima”
24:13 – Drew Gragg – Refraction
26:36 – Julien Neto – Sketch
29:59 – Random record samples #3
31:15 – Alessandro Cortini – Rovine
38:15 – Deru – The Future Never Comes
42:12 – Downliners Sekt – Soul Débris
50:18 – Random record samples #4
53:15 – Alex Banks – All You Could Do (Alternate Version)
57:00 – Mirroring – Fell Sound
1:02:11 – William Basinski – Dlp 1.1
Back in October of 2011, a small group of filmmakers, photographers and musicians travelled to the remote countryside of Iceland to document their experience, titling the film Outliers, Vol. I: Iceland. The film features photographers Tim Navis and Kim Holtermand, as well the electronic composer Deru – who composed and curated an original score based on field recordings from the trip. Now you can watch their experience in it’s entirety, which they’ve posted on Vimeo, and which I’ve embedded above.
If you enjoyed the film you should also check out the soundtrack that Deru put together, which features his original compositions as well as music from other great artists like John Talbot, Shigeto, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Son Lux, Asura, Heathered Pearls, and lots more. It’s only $9 on Bandcamp
, totally worth the price of two fancy coffees.
Japanese musician Yosi Harikawa caught my ear recently with his exciting style of making music which utilizes the sounds of non-musical objects. The track above titled “Bubbles” starts off with a bouncing ball, followed by a downpour of falling objects, like ping pong balls and perhaps some screws or bolts. He builds up into this lush, bassy sound which washes over your eardrums.
The track is pulled from his Wandering EP, which you can listen to by clicking here.
Italian producer C. Crisci, also known as Clap! Clap!, focuses on researching and sampling of tribes, bands and singers originating from the African continent, made a pretty amazing mixtape for Giles Peterson which I can’t stop listening to. His distinguishing technique is to reproduce classic African rhythms in a contemporary way through the use of drum machines and synths. The way he mixes all of this diverse sounds together is pretty exceptional. It has a perfect flow from beginning to end, and it’s quite hard to tell which parts he’s chopped up and altered. Really nice work.
I had no idea that Michael Cera was of the musical variety, yet here I am listening to an album he just put out titled true that
. If you had to guess what a Michael Cera albums sounds like you would probably stereotype him, imagining his music as twee, slightly emo, or perhaps pop. Instead you’re going to hear a lot of beautiful guitar and piano driven songs, influenced by jazz, classical guitar, and some folk. From what I’ve heard it’s slightly romantic, a little melancholy, and incredibly honest sounding. Kind of reminds me of Devendra Banhart, to be honest, which is a huge compliment in my mind.
I’m a big fan of Derwin Schlecker, also known as Gold Panda, and his worldly take on electronic music. Last week he released a new track titled “Clarke’s Dream”, a track which I’d describe as being straight funk, filled with high hats, deep looping bass lines, and a funky wah-wah guitar lick. I also really love the art for the single by Laura Lewis.
For most of last week I’ve been listening to the debut album from The Acid, made up of trio Adam Freeland, Steve Nalepa, and Ry Cuming, a.k.a. RY X. Together they’ve released Liminal, a minimal yet rich electronic exploration in sound. There are some similarities in sound to bands like James Blake, The xx, Notwist, and vocally perhaps Elliott Smith, yet this is something quite unique. It’s a haunting album punctuated by deep bass notes, hand claps, high hats, and some especially great vocals from Ry X.
I’m thinking this album might be in my top favorites of 2014. Be sure to listen to “Animal”, “Fame”, and “Ghost” to get a good sense of what these guys are doing.