Genre-bending, Brilliant Music Videos: Dive In

Among the many “best of” lists spontaneously appearing on the CDM forums, contributors and readers have compiled a fantastic list of inspirational music videos from a variety of acts. One thing that strikes me is the breadth of aesthetics; whereas once electronica had very strong connotations (and the videos with it), these are really high-art experimental filmmaking with a range of styles. And they’re a pleasure to watch, too, like the fanciful Sigur Rós video pictured here. (Thanks, Jaymis!)

READ MORE →

Look Around You: Mock BBC Educational Program on Music

This dead-on send-up of British educational programming takes a look at the world of music and music-making, from that music you young people like so much (“the Bensons, or the Ombudsman”) to the “Harrington 1200” music synth shown here, which you’ve probably never seen “because it costs almost a thousand pounds.” (Boy, would that you could get a Harrington for so little. Circuit benders and vintage synth collectors recently drove up the price to almost $50,000 on eBay.) Enjoy! Look Around You: Music [QuickTime video, DevilyDucky.com]

READ MORE →

Witness the Birth of Synced Sound and Image

Over a hundred years ago, Thomas Edison first attempted to record sound and moving image in synchronization (a task that still challenges undergrad film students). The results were believed lost for many years, until the sound was recovered on a broken cylinder. Edison’s original experiment actually failed, but in the hands of legendary film and sound editor Walter Murch, these 17 seconds of film history are now restored realized more perfectly than even Edison could: 1895 Edison “Kinetophone” Test, shot by William Dickson [Internet Archive]

READ MORE →

Watch Guitarists Die Horrible Deaths; Guitar Rig 2 Shipping

How would you sell guitar amp and effects software? In the fall, we watched IK Multimedia resort to the usual, sexist approach: hire a supermodel and make some pun on amp “modeling.” Native Instruments is taking a different approach, showing different ways conventional amps can kill you. Not since the Spinal Tap drummers has on-screen rocker mortality been this high. I suppose that’s one way to deal with people’s fear of computers for music: remind them why they should be scared of everything else. Oh, in other news, Guitar Rig 2 is hitting stores right now. (See past coverage. Rival …

READ MORE →

Giant DJs Continue to Play God with Universe; Scratching Reality Itself

. . . well, at least they do thanks to the magical powers of special effects in online videos. Last summer, we saw Spin, a short film in which a DJ had to weigh the power of life and death. Now, in a film that’s less ambitious metaphysically but more so visually, a DJ appears to scratch vehicles traveling through a roundabout: Scratch n Spin [Profade ad, via Cory at Boing Boing] To all of this, I say: where are the digital DJs playing with the fabric of space and time? Where’s the Ms. Pinky setup used to vibrate and …

READ MORE →

Darth Vader DJs Imperial March in Video

From Adrian Anders comes a video by a DJ Keltech — or, should I say, Sith Lord Darth Vader: Vader, Scratch Lord [Google Video] To quote Chris Rock’s character in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back: “I think George Lucas is gonna sue somebody.” Thanks, Adrian. Can’t fault the concept, though I’d like to see the bit where he employs his death grip. (Granted, that’s usually what I’d like to do to certain DJs . . .) More videos and info at DJ Keltech’s site (warning: embedded music).

READ MORE →

Analog Synth Porn with Butt Probe

Sorry, couldn’t resist running that headline. Michael sends us (via Eric at Metasonix) a shot of Robert Rich’s incredible modular synth setup. That’s one eclectic rig, complete with a Butt Probe TX-1 stomp box squeezed in among other gear. And yes, that’s an M-Audio Ozonic keyboard and a PowerBook running Ableton Live, proving that in his studio — as here at CDM — analog and digital coexist in happy harmony. Head to Robert Rich’s website for “Organic Electronics and Sonic Surrealism” and more photos like this. That’s Robert Rich, folks, not to be confused with former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert …

READ MORE →

History of Electronic Music: Download the 1971 Film Strip

Ever thought you’d be downloading a film strip, as a QuickTime MPEG4, no less? Here’s a good excuse: the superb bending and DIY blog GetLoFi has posted a two-part history of electronic music film strip from 1971, authored by Nick Rossi. When they say “history,” they ain’t kiddin’: the strip starts 2600 years ago. As a GetLoFi reader observes, they miss out on Italian Futurist Russo, inventor and composer Raymond Scott, and others. Then again, it’s great to see a history of electronic music that’s itself a part of history. Now, go watch — just be easy on GetLoFi’s bandwidth, …

READ MORE →

VJ Book, VJ Party, VJ Movie, Music Player Live, Game Boy Music

An incredible amount of stuff coming up here in NYC: VJ Book: Paul Spinrad’s new The VJ Book is packed with interviews and how-to information and ships with a DVD full of VJ samples, mixable content, and demo software. (Paul and I got to work together on an upcoming issue of Make Magazine, which you’ll be hearing more about soon.) VJ party Wednesday: It’s a book launch party edition of Eyewash, the live video series. I’ll be VJing with Korg hardware and Quartz Composer-generated visuals, along with the book’s DVD creator Melissa “Miixxy” Ulto (previously on CDM). Jay Smith from …

READ MORE →

Music as Activism: iTunes Videos Could Help Sudan + Indie Film

Indie film and iTunes? Maybe hard to believe a day after the announcement when you can only watch a few ABC TV shows or Pixar shorts, but Dave Ahl of Modiba Productions writes us in with an optimistic take: I just wanted to let you know how revolutionary Apple’s announcement regarding paid downloadable video segements is for independent film-makers. Modiba Productions (an African music and film company raising money and awareness for African social and political causes thru the arts) has been waiting for precisely this business model. For the first time ever, small companies without retail distribution or a …

READ MORE →