Monthly Archives: June 2012

Music is love in search of a word.

— Sidney Lanier from wikipedia

Musical interface that just begs to be played with

The PocoPoco is a musical interface/controller that is almost a minimalistic work of art. You control the sounds by manipulating the custom-designed solenoids with embedded sensors and lights. You can push on the solenoid to enable that sequencer step, hold the cylinder to hold a note, and turn the cylinder to affect the tone (filter/fx/pitch/etc)

I get a sense of enjoyment from just watching the tactile-ness of people playing it – I can see how it would be a great performance device.

Madrona Labs Soundplane A


Madrona Labs has put together a controller called the “Soundplane A”, made out of beautiful solid walnut. The idea is that it’s supposed to offer an organic feel, and high sensitivity that you might get out of an organic instrument.

The wooden surface is touch-sensitive, so can detect how hard you are pressing on the surface, and can act as a 150-note controller, or a fully continuous surface.

The video above shows it being used in a bit of an experimental piece. Very, very cool.

Dictaphone parcel

Lauri Warsta graduated from London’s prestigious Royal College of Art in 2010, and before that, he graduated from UCCA, Maidstone with a BA Animation degree.

Lauri has put all of this talent together to create this concept, and the resulting video and animation. “Dictaphone Parcel” is an animation based on the real sound recorded with a dictaphone travelling secretly inside a parcel.

As the hidden recorder travels through the global mail system, from London to Helsinki, it captures the unexpected. We hear a mixture of abstract sounds, various types of transport and even discussions between the mail workers. The animation visualizes this journey by creating an imaginary documentary.

The sounds, combined with the animation really get the imagination going. That being said, I’m calling shenanigans on the fact that it really was a reel-to-reel in that box. I can’t imagine it making the trip intact, not to mention I’ve never seen a tape that lasts for 3 days! Nevertheless, I think this video is truly remarkable – it’s a beautiful work that dances between abstraction and representation.

“Dictaphone Parcel” was awarded the Passion Pictures Prize in London, in February 2010.

Watch it here:

Podcast mic Ikea lamp

Here’s a great hack for an Ikea Forsa lamp. For about $20, Alex F (not to be confused with Axel F), from the UK put together this great podcasting boom mic stand on the cheap.

He says:

I picked Black Forså work lamp up for a modest £16.99, went home and cut the existing power cables out and removed the light fixing to the end, then attached the anti-shock mount, using a couple of bits of plastic and some washers to pad it out, as the gap was quite large. The cables were cabled-tied to the arms to keep everything neat and tidy. There you have a completely adjustable and compact podcast setup that you can take with you on travels, or just to use at home and still keep all your desk space.

I love it.

Foley artistry

Foley is the art of recording sound effects for movies. What many people don’t know, is that almost every sound in a movie, from every footstep, to doors closing, to the sound of the movement of jackets, etc is all re-created. It requires a sense of timing, and a huge amount of creativity. This video gives you a glimpse of foley artist Gary Hecker.

From “The Empire Strikes Back” to “Robin Hood”, award-winning Foley artist Gary Hecker of Todd-AO says it takes “timing and a huge creative mind” to be the man behind the sound. Here, he shares tips and tricks he’s learned during a career that has spanned more than 200 films.

Frequency chart

Here’s a great chart that shows the frequency ranges of a ton of instruments, the qualitative sound of each frequency range (ie “rumble”, “tinny”), all with an overlayed piano keyboard:

You can find an interactive version of the chart right here.

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