November 21, 2010
Jaron Lanier on How a 8,000 Year Old Laos Instrument is Connected to TechnologyJaron Lanier starts his TEDxSF talk in San Francisco this past week by playing an instrument from Laos which originated 8,000 years ago and still has close to its original design. It's the first human made thing that has rows of keys with an on and off. The instrument has a remarkable history across cultures and the Romans apparently stole the design as have others who have adapted its design to create other instruments around the world. He talks about how the connection between "it" and technology."
November 11, 2010
Tunepresto's Video Music Maker
I met with Tunepresto's marketing guru Owen Cooney in Dublin and our briefing was a bit scattered, but in a good way: partly over food and partly under an umbrella on a walk through Dublin. The guy knows more about the history and myths of Ireland than the last country tour guide I encountered. And, more importantly, is passionate about it. (graffiti, art, legends, and murals too).
Currently, Tunepresto, a video 'music maker,' is a Mac download only, although it is slated to be a web-based solution later this month. Essentially, Tunepresto uses the colors in your video to create royalty free music, perfectly timed to your video or slideshow. I can think of tons of places where you could use a solution like this, so the value-add for me was immediate.While I haven't tried it yet (waiting for the web version), it's so damn easy to understand the benefits. Additionally, their website walks you through every possible scenario where adding music via Tunepresto would give you a 'win' to a creation you're working on. Refreshing.
How many times do you go to a website and know immediately what the company is about and how to use their product? Tunepresto's site makes it incredibly easy to figure out: left is a download, right is a learn more video. Also, they have this fabulous screenshot which walks you through different ways to use their product.
November 11, 2010 in America The Free, Entertainment/Media, Europe, Music, On Australia, On Blogging, On Education, On Technology, On Video, Social Gigs & Parties, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 22, 2010
San Francisco Jazz Fest: The Godfather of World Music's Ravi Shankar
The San Francisco Jazz Festival is in motion and Ravi Shankar comes to the stage next week. George Harrison called Ravi the Godfather of World Music.
Perhaps the most famous person from India and the world’s most important sitar player, Ravi Shankar has been a legend since the ‘60s — and his prominence has only continued to grow.
He was the first Indian musician to have a profound impact on the West, and his influence on music history cannot be overstated. Bringing a nearly superhuman level of musical sophistication and joyous expressiveness to each recording and performance, he was a defining presence at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock and the famed Concert For Bangladesh.Currently celebrating his 90th birthday, Shankar has continued to be India’s chief musical ambassador, performing worldwide with his still-wondrous technique.
Sharing the stage with the maestro is his daughter, Anoushka Shankar, an artist widely considered to represent the future of Indian music.
After much critical acclaim, several Grammy nominations, and many collaborations with artists such as Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Norah Jones, Karsh Kale and Thievery Corporation, Anoushka brings the Shankar legacy to new horizons.
He'll be playing at Davies Symphony Hall on October 27, 2010 in San Francisco.
October 11, 2010
F-K The School Districts: Get Your Kids Connected To Music Quickly & OftenOften, I hear my neighbor's kids (2 gorgeous little girls) practice piano - piano teachers & parents make you do that. Every time I hear them practice (daily), I think back to the umpteen years my piano teacher and parents made me do that. Yes, forced it on me. If I didn't practice, I couldn't go out and play, weekend play was limited, friend-time was limited, phone time eliminated and well, the list goes on.
It's not as if I came from a upper class wealthy family with tons of rules and regulations. (NOT). But, I did come from a family with standards on what 'makes a life' and music was high on the list.
The sound of a piano playing in the background, a voice accompanying it, a guitar when we could find one, a flute or a sax or a trombone (which my grandfather played) a welcome addition.
For anyone who has gone through the process in the states or elsewhere, you know the drill. They paid for those damn lessons and you better deliver. I remember how much I resented it at the time and it had nothing to do with the fact that I didn't love to play nor the fact that I didn't love music. It was the thought of failure and not delivering et al.
Yet yet yet, I think about this often and am reminded of it when I hear my neighbors kids banging away. If you have kids who are not playing an instrument, for crying out loud, WHY NOT? Don't wait for the schools (who clearly don't get the value). Just do it. They're your kids, not the government's kids. I posted this on Facebook and someone responded right away with this:
"This is a big issue in our school district, where the administration axed 4th-5th grade music entirely, and it was restored through private donations; the high school music teacher (one for a HS of c. 1,000 kids) was despairing he'd see the beginning of his pipeline dismantled."
Okay, then? F-K the schools. Sorry, but seriously, move on. Get your kids close to music and do it quickly and early. Don't wait for the 'school district' who is focused on too many of the wrong things. Just get your kids close to music AND connected to it. It's not expensive to make this choice if you're creative and you most certainly won't regret it.
Below is a shot I took of an old piano in La Basilica in Quito Ecuador in late August.
October 07, 2010
CandyMan Tells His Story at 140ConfStreet performer CandyMan addresses the 140 Conference crowd in Los Angeles this past week. He starts off with a poem he says he lives his life by, making 'love' his greatest weapon. Homeless not up until long ago, he talks about how he uses social media and engagement on and offline and when he performs 'on the streets.'
October 01, 2010
Noise Kills 200,000 People a Year in Europe: Sound Design is the FutureJulian Treasure has an interesting talk to get to sound health in 8 steps. He says our increasingly noisy world is gnawing away at our mental health -- even costing lives. His 8-step plan includes advice on softening sonic assault (starting with those cheap earbuds) to restore our relationship with sound.
He notes that women listen expansively compared to men and jokes that if men could take one thing away from his talk, it's to listen more expansively and you'll transform your relationship.
Noise is killing 200,000 people a year in Europe. He says that there's a price we pay from music compression; we have to work harder to get the sound and using bad headsets are part of the problem or using them incorrectly. 61% of students have hearing issues related to poor headphones. Quality 'listening' means you don't have to turn the music up so loud.
The last two things I took from his talk and my favorites: Silence is beautiful. He says the Elizabethans described language as Decorated Silence - how great is that? And secondly: Sound Design is the Future. Julian encourages us to design everything around us with sound in mind.
September 17, 2010
Engaging In The Digital Wilderness
Earlier this month, the Arcade Fire released the video for their new single ‘We Used To Walk’. But they completley blew the roof off the concept of a ‘traditional’ music video. In a collaboration with Google, they’ve created a video experiment using HTML-5 to take users on a digital ‘walk’ through their childhood neighborhood.
It’s brilliant – intended to both challenge the ‘quo and, most importantly, engage users. And not just users as in ‘fans of the band’ but users of the web. It’s become a viral hit, making it’s rounds in inboxes and social feeds across the web, meaning the band is reaching an entirely new and globally further-reaching audience than they ever could had they released a ‘standard’ video single. Certainly, there is room to grow from the video and their are a few bugs in the delivery (ie: you can only run it on a Chrome browser) but it’s a good start.
Really, it’s a great example of getting creative with customer engagement which is what good digital should do. If you haven't already, you can give it a go for yourself at www.thewildnernessdowntown.com.
September 06, 2010
Playing the Hydraulophone: Organ Meets Flute Meets Water
Canadian Ryan Janzen is part researcher, part scientist, part engineer and part composer. Below, he shows us how to use the Hydraulophone, a tonal acoustic musical instrument played by direct physical contact with water. As he plays, you'll note that he gets one note per water jet as he plays the instrument. A cross between a piano and a wind instrument, he says that the people who learn how to play it quickly are those with both a flute and a piano background. (mixes how you play the notes with expression of how you play them).
The hydraulophone in the first sense was invented and named by Steve Mann, who gave a presentation on-stage the same day. Funtain.ca has more information on them and how to purchase one - apparently they come in different shapes and sizes and colors. Think tens of thousands for starters. As for where you can find them around the country? There's very few, but museums in Houston and Chicago have one and there's a permanent one housed in Toronto that is on display 24/7.
The instrument is addictive to play (I tried it and didn't want to stop) and very hypnotic. hydraulophone or poseidophone combines the simplicity of the piano with the interface of the tin flute or recorder. You play the hydraulophone by stopping the jets of water with your fingers or hands. As Ryan demonstrates, by blocking multiple jets you can even play chords. It appears that the more expression you put into it, the wetter you get. Click play for more.
September 03, 2010
Steve Mann on Virtual Reality and Cyborg Living
University of Toronto professor Steve Mann talks about surveillance and corruption and virtual reality on stage at the Singularity Summit in San Francisco recently. Steve is a pioneer in the study and practice of virtual reality and has been dubbed the world's first cyborg. His book on cyborg living dives into his work in more depth: Cyborg: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer.
After his presentation, Mann shows a blind woman how to use the Hydraulophone below - an instrument that merges the organ with water with string instruments with really great design. He also plays House of the Rising Sun for her on the Hydraulophone. Listen for the trickling water which is now part of the song.
August 24, 2010
More Than an MP3......
A bit of horn-tooting for one of Omobono's (former) own, Andy, who has used his digital mastery for an exciting new project of his own, called 3DiCD.
It is a digital experience for online music, providing interactive packaging along with the music files. As they have said: “With a 3DiCD, listeners get the whole packaging experience; engagement and immersion all within the online environment.
Last week, Andy and the 3DiCD team launched with a digital version of Imogen Heap’s Grammy award winning album, Ellipse. You can check it out here.
We wish Andy and the team the best of luck.