Jumpgate Resolved: Van Halen Guitar Sorta Absolved, Keyboard Detuned

Ah, YouTubers. While the rest of us pontificate endlessly, the unfairly-maligned YouTube community painstakingly assembles evidence to prove their point. Lonely girls need outing? YouTube is there. Can’t tell what’s wildly out of tune in a botched Van Halen “Jump” performance? Let’s just listen, shall we? (Too bad, as I had just worked out a really great theory about sun spots, Greensboro’s atmospheric pressure and relative humidity, and a freak wormhole.) Thanks, Wilfred Fumbly. (video’s gone now … more in a moment) So, the original theory holds: most likely a sample rate issue. Well, unless Van Halen is really old …

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MIDI-Powered Robotic Ballet Mechanique Raises Ruckus at National Gallery of Art

What’s that racket? 16 player pianos, three xylophones, four bass drums, a tam-tam, a siren, and three “airplane propellors,” all MIDI-controllers, are playing what may have been the most modern piece of music in the 20th Century. It’s “bad boy” composer George Antheil’s 1924 composition Ballet Mechanique. And it’s take 21st-Century technology to realize his fully robotic vision. Eric Singer and the the League of Urban Robots (LEMUR, not to be confused with the unrelated other Lemur) provided the robotics, while the mad musical scientist automated instruments of Gulbransen gave them the player pianos.

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