Feeling Sound, Physically: ‘Touch the Sound’ Documents Deaf Percussionist

What is sound? What does it mean, and why does it matter? It’s never too fundamental, too basic a question to ask ourselves again when we make music. So, I’ll leave this trailer otherwise largely without comment, except to say, it’s well worth watching (or re-watching). Touch the Sound, produced by German director Thomas Riedelsheimer in 2004, focuses on the work and world of nearly-deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie. See a trailer, below, and excerpt, above. Thanks to Morgan Hendry for the tip. IMDB link On this topic, and the inspiration for this link: For a Deaf Artist, The Process of …

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A New Documentary Examines the Electro Scene in the Age of the Internet

The Electro Wars Final Trailer from Stephen Alex Vasquez on Vimeo. The Electro Wars Final Trailer from Stephen Alex Vasquez on Vimeo. Can a documentary finally tell the story of the electronic music scene? Primus Luta has become a scholar of electronic sounds himself, and joins us in a guest post to examine a film that, like the music itself, is a work in progress. Electro Wars premieres in its current form in New York Friday, but you can get a first glimpse at the movie and the state of music in the Internet – whether wishful thinking might imagine …

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Gestural Music Sequencer: Video, Processing, and Ableton Live

Gestural Music Sequencer from Unearthed Music on Vimeo. Something as simple as remapping a single knob can give you new musical ideas. So expand that to entire gestures and live video input, and you can help push your performance in new directions and out of old habits. That’s why it’s always great to see projects like the Gestural Music Sequencer. Built entirely in free tools – tools fairly friendly even to non-coders – the GMS lets composer and musician John Keston explore new ideas through gestures captured in a video stream. It’s easier to see than to talk about, so …

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Reformat the Planet, 8-bit Music Documentary, Free for a Week

The appeal of newer music apps for phones, current-generation mobile game systems, and PDAs is portability first. But for the Game Boy music scene, it’s as much about a distinctive sound, and acquiring Game Boys as a kind of unique synthesizer. Our friend and mobile game musician Peter Swimm points us to the new documentary Reformat the Planet. It’s available for a week free on pitchfork.tv, with screenings to follow. It’s a pretty nice survey of the New York corner of the scene, at least. I’m personally getting increasingly interested in tools like PSPSEQ, which have a distinctive sound all …

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A Brief History of the MPC in Video, by Current TV

Sometimes in technology, the design of a product can have an impact beyond just the tool itself, and that’s easily the case with the Akai MPC. Even if you aren’t part of the device’s cult-like following, you’ve likely worked with software influenced by its approach to musical interaction. While we await the coming of creator Roger Linn’s new collaboration with Dave Smith, the LinnDrum II, it’s great to look back at the MPC itself, and the artists who stretched it to its musical limits, from hip-hop to classical. Current TV has a short documentary they’ve just sent us. Current’s Parisa …

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Music Tech History Day: “What The Future Sounded Like”, Tristram Cary, and a Forgotten Chapter of History

While Moog is a household name, the UK’s Electronic Music Studio is a kind of "forgotten chapter" of electronic music history, as the documentary above suggests. EMS is significant not just for technological innovation, but musical experimentation — not to mention their cheeky British sense of humor and topless nude women crawling toward synths in their ads. (That and the best synth slogan of all time, "Every Nun Needs a Synthi.") For whatever reason, there’s likewise very little online documentation regarding the late Tristram Cary — even though the likes of Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues, and King Crimson made …

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Radiohead’s Scotch Mist: An Hour of In Rainbows Goodness

Current TV has the full hour of Scotch Mist, an hour-long taping of Radiohead performing In Rainbows. I have to say, while I enjoyed the album, I think this top-to-bottom performance has even more soul in it; you really get a sense of the focus and craft of the songs as they’re played live. Oh, and you get some poetry and art, too — bonus. As this is not the Beatles, you don’t get to watch Thom and Jonny arguing about the arrangements. Sorry. This certainly gives more insight into the music. Sure, In Rainbows’ pay-what-you-will pricing may have overshadowed …

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Embracing Simplicity: Bjork Hangs with Legendary Minimalists, Timbaland

Every time Bjork drifts in a musical direction you don’t love, just wait. Her latest collaboration, Earth Intruders, with Timbaland producing, sounds utterly fantastic. Listen closely, and it’s also deeply disturbing, a bit like the violent lyrics of the early-century Italian Futurists (check them out if you don’t know them), but set in a terrifying, real now. Timbaland aside (and the crisp combinations of synths and drums might redeem him if you’re still mad about that chiptune thing), Bjork’s vocal performance is center-stage. All of this bodes well for the new album coming this summer. More press coverage and links …

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