a ‘visible music interface’, or a digital music instrument featuring a 16×16 matrix of LED lights, allowing even non-musicians to play sounds & improvise intuitively. each LED light also functions as a touch-sensitive switch that is capable of emulating related sounds when touched. when users push a switch a short time, a ripple of light & sound spreads out. when a switch is held longer, the light dot & sound will be played repeatedly (looped). several tenori-ons can be wirelessly connected & synchronized.

(via information aesthetics)

I got to play with one of these alongside one of its developers at SIGGRAPH, and of all the emerging technologies on exhibit, it was definitely the most commercial-ready. He asked me how much I thought it should cost, and I said $150 – he nodded and remarked in what seemed liked agreement, but it could have simply been tactful PR. It’s similar to the map feature in a lot of MIDI software like Logic, though obviously geared around live performance instead of straight composition. Their website has a lot more info, and plays sample music in the background to give you an idea of what it can sound like.


Joanna Newsom

From what I’ve read, people either love or hate Joanna Newsom. She just started singing a few years ago (you’ll understand once you hear), but how she accepts and uses her fragile voice is part of her charm. Each time I listen I appreciate her more – and she’s a classicaly trained harpist, what more is there to say?

Her newest album, The Milk-Eyed Mender has some great tracks: I especially like This Side of the Blue; “En Gallop”; and Peach, Plum, Pear.

She also performs with other groups: The Pleased, and recently, a pairing with Hella drummer Zach Hill and Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier in a self-titled album: Nervous Cop.


Singin’ In The Rain

I know this is [sarcasm]so early-2005[/sarcasm], but it showed up on del.icio.us again this week, and I just want to make sure it’s been seen. By Marshall Street Editors in London, it’s an advertisement for the new VW Golf featuring Gene Kelly (or at least his face via a little computer animation).

Update: Paul Irish from aurgasm fills us in on the the music behind this video: credit goes to DJs Chris Baker and Neil Claxton of Mint Royale. As of my writing, “Singin’ In The Rain”, from their album See You In The Morning, sits at #32 on the UK top 40. Check out their work and watch the promo to the original track with even more wicked dancing:


I dig DJ Raeo’s style and taste in music – and I especially dig that he offers recordings of some of his favorite mixes on his website, for free, and even has tracklists for the more recent ones. I’ve never seen him in person, but apparently he puts on a good show, as seen from the crowd in the pictures here. These shots are from the Candela Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico; but he does a weekly set (with guests) in NYC every Friday night at a place called Shebeen. Check out his website for hours of music – I’ve linked to a couple of my favorites:

Update: DJ Raeo let me know of his upcoming album, among other things. Keep your ears peeled.

iTunes + Podcasting

iTunes 4.9 was released today [download], with added support for Podcasting. What does this mean? Thousands of hours of free public radio and public-radio-esque white noise are now available for subscription and automatic synchronization to your iPod, with paid content coming soon. Not that podcasting hasn’t already been around for some time, but now that it’s gotten the thumbs-up from our silhouetted neon-dwelling friends, its sure to receive a lot more attention. But how will we break dance to NPR? Clearly Apple didn’t think this one through…

That said, I did some poking around at del.icio.us, and found some (apparently) good content. You can drag or copy the RSS links straight to your Podcasts playlist in iTunes. For starters:

Jaga Jazzist: What We Must


“Like some hydra-headed Scandinavian juggernaut, Jaga have now completed a ten-year mission to seek out new musical life and new musical civilizations. (…) How many combine styles so effortlessly and still leave you humming melodies that are as warmly remembered as long-lost friends?”

(Chris Jones, BBC.CO.UK)

“The opening track of the album proper, All I Know Is Tonight, sets the tone – layered guitars, a big filmic theme and pulsing Mellotron all orchestrated in a dramatic everything-but-the-kitchen-sink production. From then on they deploy their vast arsenal – rock band plus brass and vibes – with taste and imagination over seven tracks.”

(John Bungey, MOJO)

“After heavily touring, the time came for the next chapter in the Jaga Jazzist history, What We Must. After months spent on writing new material, the band ripped it all up, went into an isolated studio out in the Norwegian woods and recorded the demo now known as the Spydeberg Session. Put down in one take in one day, it was a breakthrough moment for the group. A sound that was closer to their live sound than ever before. (…)

After testing the new material on the road, they returned to the studio and used the Spydeberg Session as the basis of the record which became What We Must, perhaps the most radical development so far in their career. At heart of this collective is a restless soul, going in many directions at the same time, but always going forward. Fast. The band always pushing their boundaries, both personal and musical. That is why they are impossible to categorize. And that’s why they’re special. Jaga is something natural and beautiful. A necessity. For both them and us.”

(press release)

I don’t know about necessary, but suffice it to say, this dectet has created something unique with their latest album, What We Must. Enough of the foreplay though – lets get right to the hot and sweaty linkage:


Update: Here’s a tune from their previous album, Day: