Tag Archives: music

Ahh Hipsters

Vinyl

“For many of us, and certainly for many of our artists, the vinyl is the true version of the release,” said Matador’s Patrick Amory. “The size and presence of the artwork, the division into sides, the better sound quality, above all the involvement and work the listener has to put in, all make it the format of choice for people who really care about music.”

Cassettes

Children of the 80s, too, are affectionately revisiting the format on which they first discovered music. “What you grew up with just sounds right,” says 22-year-old Brad Barry, a student at the University of Texas who hosts a weekly cassette-only radio show called C60 Radio. Meanwhile, people who sport cassette-themed Urban Outfitters’ T-shirts or iPhone cases are just using it as a retro prop in the never-ending 80s revival.

VHS

“I enjoy the aesthetics of VHS,” said Josh Schafer, the founder of the horror magazine Lunchmeat. “I like putting it in the VCR and rewinding and pausing and fast-forwarding. It’s an experience nobody gets to do anymore because they consider VHS dead.”

“I was not around during the main VHS boom, but I’ve never liked DVDs,” said [Louis Justin, the 21-year-old owner of the one-man company Massacre Video, in Michigan], who has a VHS tape tattooed on his arm. “When I was younger and I went to the record store, my parents would push me to get the CD, but I wanted the cassette. I’m an analog nerd.”

Real musicians release on 8-track.

Otomata

Created by Batuhan Bozkurt, Otomata is a cellular automata music sequencer.
The sequencer consists of a two dimensional grid. Each row and column correspond to a musical note, with the first row and first column representing the same note, the and so forth. By clicking on cell, the user places a cursor at that location which travels in one of the four directions. When the cursor hits the end of the row or column, the associated musical note plays, and the cursor reverses direction. Cursors can also change direction if they collide with each other.

I made two songs Otomata. The above pictured song is boring but symmetric. I like a later song I made more because it features a reoccurring motif while the cellular automata “improvises” over the top.

Otomata reminds me two other projects. The grid of moving squares reminds me of a Monome. I love the abstractness of the Monome interface, but I have no way to really justify purchasing one of these, but they look awesome.

The other thing Otomata recalls is Stephan Wolfram’s A New Kind of Music. (This “new kind of music” is apparently crappy 1980s MIDI, but I digress.) As you might have guessed, Stevie set his cellular automata rules up trigger MIDI events, giving equally predictable atrocious results.

Sony’s PS-F9 (1983)

Sony announced the discontinuation of the Walkman. Like Christopher Hickey of Salon, I was surprised that they were still making them. Of course the world is not developed economies, so there is/was a market for them.

Throughout Hickey’s article, he linked to Walkman Central to highlight different models. It’s a site cultivated with the love and obsession that makes the Internet proud. Poking around I came a cross the PS-F9, portable phonograph. Ultimately impractical, it was only made in 1983. It featured next and previous song controls, and of course the exposed record and vertical orientation.

I’d love to have one of these, and put it next to a Teac X-2000R, but the only vinyl records I own are a possibly scratched “Ghostbusters” soundtrack and a sealed copy of R.E.M.’s “Monster”. Borrowing albums from my parents isn’t really an option, because with the notable exceptions of James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James,”, and “The Johnny Cash Show“, I’d be left with Englebert Humperdinck, the symphonic Beatles, and a “Teach Yourself Polish” album sans workbook. Well that’s not entirely true, there is “Tom Jones Sings She’s a Lady”, but it is quite a sad collection.

Blind Date Swingers Club

Blind Date Swingers Club is a rotating club event in Berlin, that sounds very cool, and very reproducible. Everyone brings a mix tape (well, CD) of music, along with a note and contact information inside the jewel case. The music is left with the DJ. At the end of the night, everyone takes a CD that someone else made.

I love how this is a really simple idea that encourages the discovery of new people and new music. I’d love for a Bay Area version of this.

Makerfaire

Just a reminder, Maker Faire is this weekend at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. 10 am to 8 pm, Saturday. 10 am to 6 pm Sunday. $20 adult, $10 student (with valid id), $5 kids.

Schedule is packed. I’d recommend Trisian Shone, and the Raygun Gothic Spaceship, which just looks amazing.

I doubt I’m going to make it this year. Instead, I’ll be attending the SF Fine Art Fair.