Music

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Music

The Enchanting Echoes of the Cristal Baschet, a Rare Organ Made of Glass Rods, Metal, and Wood

March 14, 2020

Andrew LaSane

Invented in 1952 by Bernard and François Baschet, the Cristal Baschet (also called a Crystal Organ) is a unique instrument that outputs an even more unique and artful sound. In the video above, multi-instrumentalist and film composer Marc Chouarain explains how it works and demonstrates techniques for turning finger rubs and drags into deep melodic echoes.

According to musician and rare instrument performer Thomas Bloch, models of the crystal organs range from 3.5 to 6 octaves and are made of 56 chromatically tuned glass rods. To play it, musicians rub the rods with wet fingertips. “The vibration of the glass is passed on to the heavy block of metal by a metal stem whose variable length determines the frequency,” Bloch explains. “Amplification is obtained by fiberglass cones fixed on wood and by a tall cut out metal part, in the shape of a flame. ‘Whiskers’ (moustaches), placed under the instrument, to the right, increase the sound power of high-pitched sounds in vibrating by sympathy.”

Ravi Shankar, Damon Albarn (Gorillaz), Daft Punk, Radiohead, Tom Waits, and Manu Dibango are among the musical acts who have used the Cristal Baschet, according to an official Baschet Sound Structures Association brochure. For more from Chouarain, check out his Facebook page. (via Twisted Sifter)

 

 



Design Music

Barcodes Function as Techno Instrument That’s Played with Reused Scanners

February 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

Designed to recycle outdated electronics, multiple musical projects by Electronicos Fantasticos utilize a version of the barcode system found on every package on store shelves. When scanned, each pattern sends a signal to its audio component, emitting the corresponding sound wave. The black and white stripes produce a variety of rhythmic and tonal noises in two instrumental projects: the Barcoder, shown above, and Barcodress, a pattern-covered gown that’s played when the wearer moves in front of the scanner. Artist and musician Ei Wada (previously) leads the design group, which said in a statement that its goal is to create an entire orchestra of similar instruments. To watch more of the barcode projects in use, head to Instagram and YouTube.

 

 



Animation Music

A New Film in Pastel Animates the Viral Tragicomedy Tune ‘Dinosaurs in Love’

February 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

Made in an impressive time span of 24 hours, “Dinosaurs In Love” is the official video for a 3-year-old London girl’s song of the same name. Directed by Hannah Jacobs, Katy Wang, and Anna Ginsburg, the pastel work features two dinosaurs snacking on a cucumber and enjoying a party, before it takes a sad turn and shows the pair blown to bits by the Big Bang. The trio created the surprisingly tragic film using 2D frame-by-frame animation.

In late January, Tom Rosenthal posted a video on Twitter of his daughter Fenn singing the short tune that speaks frankly about life and death. Since then, it has garnered viral attention, although according to Tom, Fenn hasn’t recognized her newfound fame. “She literally did this song, we listened back to it five or six times, and then she’s on with the rest of her life,” he told BuzzFeed.

For more animated projects from Jacobs, Wang, and Ginsburg, head to Instagram.

 

 



Illustration Music

Become a Piano Savant with This Clever Guide to Classic Tunes by Christoph Niemann

January 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

“How to Please Elise” (2020), 16.5 x 11.8 inches, letterpress print on Gmund Colors Matt 21, 200g/m2. All images © Christoph Niemann

Your days of expensive piano lessons are over. Master the foreboding notes in Jaws, a nursery rhyme often repeated by kids, and of course,”Für Elise,” with this straightforward diagram from Christoph Niemann (previously). In his riff on Beethoven’s classic,  “How to Please Elise” provides simple instructions on how to play the first 51 notes of the German composer’s masterpiece with ease through a diagrammed sequence similar to an old-school instructional dance chart. Niemann even said on Instagram that the notes are fact-checked and accurate, so anyone attempting to follow his directions should produce the widely recognized tunes. If you want to add one these signed prints to your collection, though, you should hurry: Niemann only printed 100.

 

 



Art Music

Brass Horns Mounted in Interactive Sculptures by Steve Parker Emit Sound By Touch

January 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Ghost Box” (2018). All images © Steve Parker

Artist and musician Steve Parker’s latest interactive projects invite viewers to feel the music⁠—literally. Activated by touch, “Ghost Box” plays randomized audio segments on a loop, including the ticks of Morse Code, the chorus of spirituals, and the blows of the shofar and Iron Age Celtic carnyx. Each time someone makes contact with a part of the wall sculpture, a new noise emits. Inspired by WWII era short wave radio, the mounted piece is constructed from a mix of salvaged brass, tactical maps, paper musical scores, wires, map pins, electronics, audio components, and an instrument case. The name even references the paranormal tool sometimes employed when people try to communicate with those who have died.

In line with “Ghost Box,” Parker created “Ghost Scores,” which is an ink on paper, pins, and electrical wire combination that mimics a music staff and markings, or visual language. In a statement about the project, the artist links the audio-visual work more explicitly to its history.

The Ghost Army was an Allied Army tactical deception unit during World War II. Their mission was to impersonate other Allied Army units to deceive the enemy. From a few weeks before D-Day, when they landed in France, until the end of the war, they put on a “traveling road show” utilizing inflatable tanks, sound trucks, fake radio transmissions, scripts, and sound projections.

The Austin-based artist’s audio-visual projects often combine real-time interactions with pre-recorded calls and music. His 2018 project, “Sirens,” which plays intermittent distress signals and recorded voices based on traditional defense noises, features multiple brass bells connected to a central conduit, allowing the alarms to be amplified in several places.

“Ghost Box” (2018)

“Sirens” (2018)

ASMR Étude #1” depends on the viewer having an auto sensory meridian response, a phenomenon during which a tone causes a tingling sensation in the listener’s body. Using a pair of headphones with two brass bells attached to each side, the wearer moves near small speakers mounted on a wall, generating the sounds, and hopefully, the prickly feeling.

A group of Parker’s projects are on view at CUE Art Foundation in New York City through February 12, and you stay up to date with his work on Twitter. (via Design Milk)

“Ghost Scores” (2018)

“Ghost Scores” (2018)

“Ghost Scores” (2018)

“ASMR Étude #1” (2018)

“Ghost Box” (2018)

 

 

 



Animation Music

A Monochrome Dystopian World Holds an Eerie Beauty in New Animated Music Video for Thom Yorke

November 6, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Saad Moosajee (previously) shows the richness and emotional power that can be found in grey-scale animation with his new music video for Thom Yorke. “Last I heard (…He Was Circling the Drain)” brings Yorke’s single to life in a hazy dystopian world populated by crowds of anonymous figures. Moosajee tells Colossal that the animation is comprised of more than 3,000 individual frames. Using 3-D and 2-D animation techniques, Moosajee and the team layered over the frames, integrating crowd simulation, charcoal washing, fire simulation, and stop motion powder texturing. He partnered with Art Camp, an experimental studio based in Brooklyn, on the project and was the co-director, co-designer, and 3-D animator alongside Zuheng Yin and Jenny Mascia. See more of Moosajee’s recent work on Instagram and tune in to other music videos by Art Camp on Vimeo.

 

 



Animation Music

Forest Creatures Gather Together to Perform a Moonlit Rendition of an Opera

October 31, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A songbird soloist accompanied by choruses of toads, turtles, and hedgehogs are conducted by  a squirrel in Maestro, a delightful new animated short by Illogic. Set in a moonlit forest, the wild symphony performs a war anthem from Vincenzo Bellini’s opera Norma. In an interview with Vimeo, the team explained that they sought to balance imaginativeness with believability within the confines of  their realistic universe. Illogic is based in Montpellier, France, where they recently opened an animation studio called Bloom Pictures. Take a behind-the-scenes look at how Maestro was made in the video below, and see more from Illogic, including the Oscar-nominated Garden Party, on Vimeo.