Ted Feighan, better known as Monster Rally, is an unstoppable musician and artist who’s creativity knows no end. Last month he released yet another EP titled Sunflower which I’ve been listening to a lot lately.
The Sunflower EP was inspired by an old vinyl audio travel guide to visiting Japan. Various physical spaces during inhabit each of the four tracks, intending to evoke wandering on the street, listening to musicians, having some drinks at a hidden jazz club, walking in a beautiful garden, and drifting into a blissful dream.
Can creativity change the world? Advertising agency DDB NY would like to think so, as demonstrated in their new campaign for the Smithsonian National Zoo, the Endangered Song. In an effort to spread awareness of the less than 400 Sumatran Tigers left in the world, the two teamed up with rock band Portugal. The Man to manufacture and record a song. Not just any ol’song, but one created to go extinct, unless digitally reproduced. It’s a wholly clever solution, reminding us of creativity’s importance and influence. I was afforded the opportunity to pick the brains of the two creatives behind it all to find out more. Continue reading
There are few musical acts who actually employ the human voice in a traditional way that I find enjoyable. That is an incredibly ridiculous statement, I am aware, but I’ve never found work in this style to be interesting. I’d rather hear synthetic sonic experiments or human distortions: that’s more fun. But some bands hit a sweet spot usually occupied somewhere between indie rock and drum machine tuning. It’s a spot that acts like Wild Nothing and DIIV and Dog Bite, these sun faded bands making music for dirty beaches. The newest addition to this entry of acts is Hibou, a Seattle act who easily can break into this new genre of post-surf rock quite easily.
Four Tet uploaded a brand new track less then a day ago called “Sext” and it’s damn good. There’s a sincerely hard, driving beat to this track which reminds me of late night driving, the street lights streaming by. He created this track under his alias Percussions, along with 3 other tracks which he’ll be releasing as a pair of 12″ EPs. You can listen to two of the other tracks “Ascii Bot” and “Blatant Water Cannon” below as well.
(Four Tet poster at top by Office vs. Office)
“Estara” originates from the Spanish word for “to be,” a future-tense, third person pronunciation of a persons immediate emotion, location, or status. Essentially, the tense and verb as the most indefinite form of a word about a quickly changing status. E s t a r a, as a record, comes in as a revelation in the current musical environment. Three years after the compilation Collections 01 and four years after his debut Ardour, Mtendere Mandowa, aka Teebs, has returned with a record that already has listeners from Highland Park to Highbury bobbing their heads. A producer and a painter, this record sends a defining sound of atmospherics, improvisation, and articulation of electronic music.
When it comes to streaming music I’m a devout Rdio user, specifically because of it’s clean, organized design. But now the originator of streaming music Spotify has released a fresh new design that almost feels like the dark, swarthy twin of Rdio.
The UI has been significantly cleaned up and simplified, though in my opinion it feels like it’s taken a lot of cues from Rdio, although still awkwardly it looks like a mash-up of iTunes and an old Windows application. Still, it’s too early to be hyper-critical of the effort. Clearly the design team there has been empowered to start making changes to the UI, and hopefully we’ll be seeing incremental changes rolling out from here.
If you need something mellow today take a listen to the brand new album from HTRK, a London based techno duo. The whole thing has a sexy, ambient, breathy vibe to it. If you dig music like Junior Boys or Rhye, you’ll probably be into this.
Of all the themes that run through Psychic 9-5 Club, love is the most central. The word is laced throughout the album in lyrics and titles—love as a distraction, loving yourself, loving others. Standish’s lyrics explore the complexities of sexuality and the body’s reaction to personal loss, though there’s room for wry humour—a constant through much of the best experimental Australian music of the past few decades.
Last week Bobby covered Firewatch, an upcoming indie game backed by a ‘holy trinity’ of game development. It’s sure-to-be-gorgeous-design reminded me of another beautiful up & coming game that I’ve had on my radar: Hyper Light Drifter. Video games are a huge passion of mine, and I’m not quick to gush over a title (especially one that I haven’t had the opportunity to play). Yet, here I am, gushing. In a world of increasingly creative and imaginative indie games, Heart Machine’s Hyper Light Drifter already stands out as one of the shining pillars of gameplay, art direction, and design.
Patatap is a portable animation and sound kit that’s controlled by key commands and touch controls. It combines playful sounds with abstract shapes that aniamte in creative ways, which give visual feedback as you create music. Amazingly enough you can try it out for yourself in the embed below.
What’s interesting is where the motivation to build Patatap came from, which builds off the idea of triggering synesthesia as well as the art of Mondrian and Kandinsky.
The motivation behind Patatap is to introduce the medium of Visual Music to a broad audience. Artists working in this field vary in discipline but many aim to express the broader condition of Synesthesia, in which stimulation of one sensory input leads to automatic experiences in another. Hearing smells or seeing sounds are examples of possible synesthesia. In the case of Patatap, sounds trigger colorful visual animations.
The history behind the aesthetic expression of synesthesia arose from the paintings of Piet Mondrian and Wassily Kandinsky and the early videos of Viking Eggeling and Norman McLaren, to the contemporary animations of Oskar Fischinger and softwares of C.E.B. Reas. Patatap takes elements from all these visionaries and aims to present this concept in a direct way.
The project is a collaboration between Jono Brandel, who has a knack for combining design with computer wizardry, and Lullatone, a musical duo based out of Nagoya, Japan. Together they’ve made abeautiful fusion of technology, design, art, and music that I’ve rarely seen achieved.
I was digging through covers of Radiohead songs on Soundcloud when I came across this gem by Craig McMahon, his version of “Kid A”. It’s all instrumental, a combination of xylophone, oboe, a little bit of drum, and a roaring bit of synths. I like that it maintains the virtue of the original with it’s own unique take. A lovely little late night tune.