If you asked me when the history of bootleg music began, I would have assumed it arrived with the invention of the cassette tape, something small, inexpensive and portable that was easily duplicated in any garage from deck A to deck B. In reality, widespread bootlegging dates back even further, to the 1950s in the Soviet Union where music lovers, desperate for banned Western tunes, devised an ingenious way to print their own records. The only problem was the scarcity of vinyl.
Desperate times called for desperate measures. With the aid of a special device, people started pressing banned jazz and rock n’ roll music on thick radiographs scavenged from the dumpsters of hospitals. X-rays were plentiful (not to mention cheap), and while the records could only be pressed on a single side, the music they produced using a standard turntable was passable. The recordings even had a catchy name: bone music. From an interview with author Anya von Bremzen via NPR:
“They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole. You’d have Elvis on the lungs, Duke Ellington on Aunt Masha’s brain scan—forbidden Western music captured on the interiors of Soviet citizens.”
By 1958 the authorities caught on and the act of making x-ray records was made illegal. It wasn’t long before the largest distribution networks of illicit bone music were discovered and shut down. You can see more scans of bone music over on this page created by Jozsef Hajdu, and FastCo has a great article about the entire phenomenon. (via Junk Culture, NPR, FastCo)
It’s one thing to record audio of a drummer and then digitally synthesize the reverberation to mimic various environments, but it’s another thing entirely to film a drummer actually playing in all of those environments and then stitch it together into a single track. That’s exactly what Audio Zero and Wikidrummers did with drummer Julien Audigier who played the same drum pattern in a variety of indoor and outdoor locations to show the effects of natural reverb, sometimes even blending multiple tracks into a single shot. Amazing. (via The Awesomer)
Designed through a unique collaboration between sculptor Anish Kapoor, architect Arata Isozaki, and the Lucerne Festival, Ark Nova is the first large-scale infalatable concert hall ever constructed. Conceived over a year ago, the mobile structure will open to the public on October 14th and will be host to concerts, events, and workshops in tsunami-damaged areas around the country.
Made from a translucent purple membrane reminiscent of a parachute, the organic structure can inflate in roughly two hours and seats up to 500 people, and will be easily transported around the region. Additionally, wood from tsunami-damaged cedar trees at the Zuiganji Temple in Matsushima was repurposed to build seating and acoustic reflectors in the hall’s interior. You can read more about it over on Spoon & Tamago and see more photos on Lucerne Festival Ark Nova’s Facebook page.
As part of his ongoing effort to transform weapons into musical instruments, artist Pedro Reyes (previously) constructed a fully mechanized orchestra. Titled Disarm, the collection of eight new instruments were built through a collaboration with several musicians and Cocolab, a media studio in Mexico City.
The team acquired a variety of rifles, pistols, and shotguns seized from drug cartels by the Mexican army and used them to build the musical devices that are controlled by computers and can be pre-programmed to play music. In the video above the Creator’s Project recently sat down with Reyes to learn more about how he “transforms negative instincts into creative instincts.” It’s well worth a watch to see the instruments in use.
You can see more photos of Disarm over at Lisson Gallery in London where it debuted earlier this year. Additionally, many of the Disarm instruments will be at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh starting October 5, 2013 and the artist is also giving a talk on October 1st.
Sit back, turn up the volume and set this video to full-screen. Behold the lastest stop motion music video from animation duo Katarzyna Kijek and Przemysław Adamski (previously here and here) for Japanese singer-songwriter Shugo Tokumaru. The video was launched just this morning courtesy of Pitchfork and features a brilliant, continuous parade of what must be thousands of cut paper and foam core silhouettes set to Tokumaru’s quirky track Katachi.
I love the visual of this small GoPro camera attached to this man’s trombone. The music becomes perfectly synchronized with the actions, which while totally predictable is still unexpectedly awesome to watch. (via kottke)