perseids

Welcome the Perseid meteor shower with songs about space

The Perseid meteor shower arrives on the 13th of August – this Thursday. So, let’s celebrate with some music and sound. First, a quick refresher: what is a meteor shower? It’s what happens when the Earth passes through the debris trail left by a comet. (Ah ha! See, just now you were sitting at your desk, and may have forgotten that you’re traveling at hyper-fast speeds on a rock hurtling through the vastness of the cosmos. Oh, yes.) We hit the Perseids every August, but this year is special in that you’ll only have to contend with urban light pollution …

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siliconvalley

Apple Reality Imitates HBO’s Silicon Valley: ‘Radio on the Internet’

Silicon Valley, yet again, fails to be less weird than reality. Actual quote from the show: “So then it hits me – we could take this thing called The Radio and put it on this new thing called The Internet. And no one was doing it – no one.” In the show, to give this context, though, the character is talking about 20 years ago. Apple has actually claimed that running a radio station on the Internet “24/7” – that’s one radio station, broadcasting from the US and UK – is something groundbreaking. To compare: BBC Radio 1, broadcasting from …

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Remember when?

Apple Music Deja Vu: The Same Stuff, But a Single Package

It’s not just deja vu. You’ve seen this stuff before. The basic ingredients of Apple Music are all repackaged, refined, or integrated from existing ideas. It’s Beats Music meets BBC Radio 1 meets Apple Ping, in an iOS and Android app. What you haven’t seen is all of those ingredients in one place, working together. And that’s not a trivial matter – it might change nothing, but it could change everything. So, one by one, here what’s feeling like a trip down memory lane:

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radiothing

Put a Radio in Your Modular: Music Thing Radio Music

Once upon a time, musicians made music from the sound content pouring invisibly, inaudibly from the air. The likes of John Cage and Kalrheinz Stockhausen turned the radio into stochastic source and instrument, a means of making music in the now. And now, you can, too, in the latest Eurorack module. Whether you want a modular or not, this is one module you definitely don’t need. You don’t need to act out Cage-ian fantasies and turn your local hit FM station greatest tracks of the 80s and 90s into an experimental noise performance. Nor do you really need to understand …

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A Digital Label and Online Radio With True Depth – Talking Shop With Dewtone

Turn your radio on. In an age saturated with a tyrannical quantity of choice, tuning into something consistently inspiring matters more than ever. Our resident sound seeker Matt Earp looks into one channel that’s providing just that. Dewtone is a fantastic place to go for a range of music, so much so that it’s worth investigating the person behind it. Matt talks to Dewtone’s Dustin Morris about how he’s making this work. -Ed. Dewtone has been a complete joy to my ears ever since I found it – and the more I explore it the more I love it. I …

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Do Not Adjust Your Radio: Surreal Sound Collage Interventions on BBC Radio 4

Before any explanation, perhaps you should listen. This is what some British listeners will hear as they tune into what they think will just be everyday national radio programming. Suffice to say, something will sound a bit off: Artist Christian Marclay is the person responsible for the work, the first of five such commissions in sound art for the widely-heard UK broadcaster BBC Radio 4. (He joins Ruth Ewan, Mark Wallinger, Susan Hiller, and Peter Strickland. More information on Radio 4’s blog.) This is the sort of commission that invites bold experimentation: working with London-based art platform Artangel, a GBP …

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11-green-skube-laptop

Radio in an Online Age, Made Tangible: Skube Are Smart, Last.fm + Spotify Speakers

Computers give you sophisticated ways of connecting to online music. But do you ever miss that physical object of the radio? Or wish that a speaker could be just as smart when, with a sigh of relief, you’ve pressed the laptop lid shut? Skube is a design experiment from Copenhagen focused on making portable devices more connected and communal sharing easier. They’re speakers that you might consider members of the Internet of Things, using Arduino and Xbee wireless networking to make the device mobile while piping sounds from Spotify and Last.fm. Here’s some demo footage of the speakers in action: …

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Thrift is Knowledge: A Radio from a Tube Map, Navigating Sound and Design with Yuri Suzuki

Designers in Residence 2012: Yuri Suzuki from Design Museum on Vimeo. Amidst an onslaught of disposable, impossible-to-repair electronics and waste, the best weapon to fight back can be know-how. That’s the message in a beautiful short film that paints a portrait of sound artist and designer Yuri Suzuki, a resident of London’s Design Museum. (Via our friends at Engadget DE) In this case, Yuri navigates the maze of an electronics PCB quite literally, mapping out a functioning radio on the schematic of the London Underground. But he also speaks poetically about why understanding the inner function of electronics is so …

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Tom's FM radio-sequencing module project, in all its glory.

Music Thing: A Radio Sequencer, How to Get Into DIY Synth Modules, How to Have Fun

Lured by the siren song of modular synthesis and DIY electronics, but not sure how to navigate the piles of requisite knowledge – or uncertain what the trip down this rabbit hole might have in store? For years, Tom Whitwell’s Music Thing was a beloved daily read, as that site and this one were among the early blog-format destinations for music tech. Tom moved on – something about a major day-gig at a paper called The Times, perhaps named after the font? – but that makes us all the more delighted to get a dispatch from him. In this guest …

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Choppertone, Wooden Ableton Jazz Controller, and Folk Music of the 21st Century: Video

“Folk music of the 21st Century” – radio broadcaster, jazz aficionado, and jazz-based Ableton Live instrumentalist / remix artist Nick Francis really sums up what this whole site is about. As he chops up jazz greats in Ableton, his mash-up music chops are as much musical analysis as they are performance. He walks through his controller moves in a pedagogical way, highlighting the meat of the jazz legends he puts into play. It’s a kind of digital transcription, transcribing re-imagined for Ableton’s colored blocks in place of. Of course, you’ll only be able to reflect on this once you can …

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