Music

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Music Photography

In ‘Architecture in Music,’ Striking Photos Reveal the Hidden Structures of Instruments

January 26, 2022

Grace Ebert

1780 Lockey Hill Cello. All images © Charles Brooks, shared with permission

A cellist since childhood, Auckland-based photographer Charles Brooks spent twenty years performing with orchestras around the world, an experience that incited curiosity about the inner workings of the instruments surrounding him. “I never really knew what was going on inside. That was a realm reserved for the luthier. Occasionally, when an instrument was being repaired, you’d get a rare glimpse inside, which was always a thrilling experience,” he shares with Colossal.

This interest culminates in Brooks’s ongoing Architecture in Music series, which peers inside pianos, winds, brass, and strings to unveil their hidden anatomies. Structural and often flanked by repeating elements, the composite images frame the shadows cast by a cello’s F holes, the seemingly endless rungs of a flute’s sound chamber, and a piano’s row of hammers, all of which appear more like buildings or public infrastructure than musical components. “I was always interested in the psychology of how our mind interprets scale in a two-dimensional image. I’d been fascinated by the tilt-shift effect, which made big things look small by blurring part of the image, and I wanted to know if I could make small things look big by keeping everything sharp,” he says.

 

Fazioli Grand Piano

In order to preserve each instrument while photographing, Brooks used a probe lens with a “minimum aperture of just f/14, which means you need a tremendous amount of light. It also has a very shallow depth of field at that aperture, less than a centimeter when you’re focusing close to the lens.” Each foray into an instruments’ body revealed a similarity between brands—the Steinway and Fazioli grand pianos were nearly identical—and many contained markings and residue from repairs that dated back centuries. “Some instruments really surprised me,” he shares. “I’d never thought to look inside a Didgeridoo before and was astonished to find out that it was carved by termites, rather than by hand!”

Prints of Architecture in Music are available in Brooks’s shop, and you can find much more of his work on Instagram. (via swissmiss)

 

Steinway Model D Grand Piano

14K Gold Flute

Fazioli Grand Piano

Steinway Model D Grand Piano

Steinway Model D Grand Piano

Didgeridoo by Trevor Gillespie Peckham (Bungerroo) Australia

2021 Selmer Saxophone

 

 



Animation Music

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year: A Stop-Motion Music Video Tells the Warm and Fuzzy Story of Woodland Friends

December 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

Illustrator Phoebe Wahl and animator Andrea Love teamed up to gift us with a delightful stop-motion short full of cozy felted sweaters, wooly swirls of steam puffing from teacups, and (too much) snow just in time for the holidays. The whimsical animation is the music video for “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year,” a duet between Ingrid Michaelson and Zooey Deschanel, that tells the sweet story of Bunny, Rabbit, and their needle-felted friends as they prepare for the holidays. Watch the heartfelt film above, and go behind-the-scenes with Wahl and Love, who also collaborated on an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s Thumbelina, on Hello Hornet. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Animation Music

Abstract Shapes Respond to a Relaxing Melody in a New Animated Music Video for Janek Murd

November 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

Colorful shapeshifting animations dance across the screen in an experimental music video for a newly released single by Estonian musician and composer Janek Murd. Created by the design studio Tolm, a collection of floating orbs, speckled discs, and a mishmash of flexible rings follow the melody of “AVA,” a mellow tune dominated by a trumpet and xylophone. The lively, abstract shapes are transposed to primarily correspond to the brass track, with spheres bursting into the air with a crescendo and bubbles growing in dense clusters as a run builds in intensity. “‘Ava’ explores the constant cycle of life—be it a breath of air, passing of a day, (a) full turn of the year, or journey from one’s birth to death,” Murd says about the piece.

Watch the full music video above, and go behind the scenes with Tolm on Behance.

 

 

 



Animation Music

Ten Degrees of Strange: Moving Clay Scenes Animate a Music Video About Escaping Anxiety

November 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

In the music video for Robert Macfarlane and Johnny Flynn’s new song “Ten Degrees of Strange,” director Lynn Tomlinson (previously) captures the endless transformations of human emotion through moving clay. The Baltimore-based animator uses her singular technique, which involves painting the pliable material onto a glass backdrop and photographing each frame, to create a stunning visual companion to the indie track about “trying to outrun anxiety, seeking joy and strength in landscape and movement.”

Seamlessly shifting from wide aerial shots to underwater close-ups, the animation opens with an inscribed ancient tablet before following the antagonistic relationship between a central character and a dog. “As a medium, clay holds a lot of power—its malleability allows me to transition fluidly from scene to scene, much as the natural world shifts and evolves over time,” Tomlinson explains in a statement. “In many ways, my clay on glass animation is naturally suited for telling stories about the passage of time, evolving perspectives, and cycles in nature.”

In addition to collaborative projects like “Ten Degrees of Strange,” Tomlinson creates a variety of personal projects focused on the human impact on the environment. You can watch those animations on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 



Design Music

Repurposed Barcode Scanners Roll Across a Miniature Skate Park to Produce Glitchy Electronic Beats

September 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

Using random objects to build homemade hand drums or maraca-style instruments isn’t new, but the team behind the ongoing Electronicos Fantasticos project takes the idea of repurposing unwanted materials to an imaginative level. Led by Ei Wada (previously), the Japanese musicians have spent the last few years recycling retail scanners and their barcode counterparts into synthesizer-like instruments, capitalizing on the product’s original function to produce rhythmic tracks and samples. Their recent design adds a playful twist to the concept by attaching the plastic devices to miniature skateboards that roll across ramps and down flat surfaces printed with black-and-white stripes. In addition to the musical component that’s similar to scratching an LP, it’s worth watching the group’s performances as they slide and riff on different barcodes, which you can find on Instagram and YouTube.

 

 

 

 



Animation Music

A Mesmerizing Animation Spins Through Banknotes From 23 Countries in a Hypnotic Look at What Cultures Value

September 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

An endless loop of lines, ornate motifs, emblems, and historical figures converge in a hypnotic animation by Los Angeles-based director Lachlan Turczan. Paired with Blake Mills’s subdued track “Money Is The One True God,” the music video is comprised of high-resolution scans spliced together in a mesmerizing rotation. The compilation reveals colorful snippets of currency from 23 countries dating from the 1800s to the present day—these include a portrait of rebellion leader Samuel Sharpe on the Jamaican 50 dollar bill, an engraving of Tenochtitlan on a 100 peso, and a kaleidoscopic sunset on China’s 5 yuan—that show how notions of value have evolved over time.

Turczan writes that he used replacement animation techniques to highlight the guilloché patterns embedded within the bills. While much of the animation focuses on the abstract, it’s also indicative of cultural trends and shifts. “The age of exploration leads to industrialization, wonders of the world are replaced by office buildings, and icons of freedom stand in stark contrast to images of slavery,” he says. “The project culminates with the collective eyes of all world leaders staring back at the audience.”

Having worked with talents like Phoebe Bridgers, Sam von Horn, and Flock of Dimes, Mills’s “Money Is The One True God” is just one of Turczan’s music videos, which you can watch on Vimeo and Instagram. You also might enjoy this stop-motion short at the intersection of culture and economics. (via Booooooom)