Music

Section



Dance Music

A Trio of Dancers Brave Icelandic Temperatures in a Stunning New Music Video for Pianist Hania Rani

April 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

Set against a snow-sprinkled mountain range in Iceland, composer and pianist Hania Rani plays meditative sostenutos on a lone piano in an enthralling new project. Directed by Paris-based filmmaker Neels Castillon, F Major begins with Rani and a figure in the distance before turning its focus to three dancers shot in succession. Their bodies swell and dip across the wind-blown landscape, similar to the musical dynamics.

In a note on the piece, Castillion said Rani’s prolonged runs, the dancers’ hypnotic moves, and the serene landscape proved an unparalleled combination.

Listening to Hania’s music over and over, I began to dream of a single sequence shot that would follow her music floating in the wind of an unreal Icelandic landscape. I asked each dancer to give a personal interpretation of Hania’s song. We were very lucky to succeed in this insane artistic performance despite the great cold (minus 7 Celsius). It was such a moment of truth.

“F Major” is part of Rani’s anticipated album Home, which is scheduled for release in May. More work from the pianist, who splits her time between Warsaw and Berlin, can be found on Instagram and Spotify. To keep up with Castillion’s dreamy pieces, check out his Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 



Design Music

Cut Your Own Vinyl with this DIY Record Engraver and Player Designed by Yuri Suzuki

April 1, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Yuri Suzuki

Making mixtapes and burning CDs might be a forgotten pastime, but the days of simple, homemade vinyl are just arriving thanks to Yuri Suzuki. The London-based designer, who is also a partner at Pentagram, has created the Easy Record Maker, a small device that makes audio recording straightforward and accessible to the general public.

By plugging in an auxiliary cable or USB and playing audio through a phone or other digital device, the cutting arm receives the sound vibrations and engraves the blank plastic three to four times within a single millimeter. Each side of the 5-inch record takes about four minutes to complete. When ready to play, the machine’s cutting piece should be swapped for the tone arm, which is large enough to accommodate traditional 7-inch EPs.

In an interview with It’s Nice That, Suzuki said that creating a DIY-record engraver has been one of his goals since his teenage days as part of a ska-punk band when he didn’t have the financial resources to use professional recording equipment. While that difficulty persists today, the designer said he also hoped this audio project would encourage users to focus and have fun. “Sound has a strong impact on our emotions and the way we behave, and I always try to create an experience with sound that as many people as possible can relate to,” he said.

The Easy Record Maker is currently available from Gakken in Japan and will be released to U.S. and U.K. audiences in the coming months. For a live demo, head to Suzuki’s Instagram this Friday to check out what he shares on IGTV.

 

 



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)