Kicking off a new project: Beats per Week (BpW). Each week I’ll release a new original track I’ve been working on. Here’s BpW #01:
. . . that it never dawned on me that the dwarves in Snow White, etc., are Jews—especially because I was already familiar with this and this and a slew of earlier print sources (see e.g., the “Lead” section of Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table, Richard Wagner’s descriptions of Jews, etc.) as well as stuff like this, and so on.
Anyway, just no idea where my game was at for this one to have given me the slip for four decades.
Annoyed that they glossed over spring reverb, a very portable mechanical reverb solution, but this is otherwise a great intro to the history and significance of reverb in music.
Sorry it’s taken me so long to post an update from our man in
Brussels, Arthur Lacomme. As you’ll recall he and his pals built some frikkin’ awesome! costumes/instruments/noisetoys for the Carnaval Sauvage de Bruxelles. You can see more pics and vid on Arthur’s website.
I love a lot of things about both this Carnaval Sauvage de Bruxelles thang and Arthur’s contribution to it, bot most of all I love their costumes. When I was very little my mother was a docent at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and so my earliest memories are of that museum, and especially their collections of Native American and African ritual art and “material culture.” I’ve always loved the dance costumes they have in their collection (similar to those shown below, which are in the AIC), and the dances that went with them, which were exuberant and otherworldly to me (much like the sounds that I like to dig out of unsuspecting electronics).
Arthur also pointed me to a few of his fellow Brusselers (Brusselman? Brusselsprouts?) similarly pushing out into the fringes of the Good Noise. I’m loving this!
Here’s Why the Eye:
and this is Hoquets:
PRO-TIP: Get both of these vids playing simultaneously in separate windows on your computer; the sounds layer-up in a fun way.
- Tunde Olaniran: OMFG, Tunde Olaniran! From the sadly infamous Flint, MI, Tunde Olaniran is superfantastically trans-everything. Go listen to Transgressor and then buy it and then listen to it again and again and again. I seriously absolutely equally love every single track on that album.
- iRAWniq: Another Michigander, she has a fun mixtape, but I’m sorta preferring her more polished EP Black Girls on Skateboards, and the single “Cunt”
- Passalacqua: I’m still exploring these guys, both from Detroit; been loving everything I’ve tried by them. This mixtape is a low-risk place to start, but I’m leaning more toward their albums CHURCH and Passalacqua, and the Banglatown EP.
- Noname: This poet/rapper from Chicago is awesome, the natural inheritor of the crown Lauren Hill dropped after releasing The Miseducation of Lauren Hill. Noname’s Telefono mixtape is absolutely mandatory listening. Go grab it now! Hell, at the very least go right now and listen to track number one (“Yesterday“) and tell me you don’t absolutely love Noname without reservation. GO!
Here’s some poppy Tunde to play us out:
A reader recently asked for audio samples of a few projects from my first book, so I made this quick lil video:
(Daaaaamn does that fuzz tone wail—and it’s literally ~$5 in parts!)
You might need headphones to hear the detail on the straight tremolo, but the throb becomes really pronounced at the end when I chain the two effects together.
In the process of uploading that demo video, I stumbled across this guy’s build of the Single-Chip Space Invader synth from my most recent book. Oh, man, do I love that Star Wars lunchbox he used as a case! So rad!
Any of this look rad? You can download a “jam pack” of complete projects drawn from both books. Click here now to get your free Junkyard Jam Pack PDF!
I love, love, love(!!!) seeing and hearing the projects my readers build, and sharing them with folks thinking about how they want to tackle these same projects. First up is Jason Jaknunas’s take on the Bleepbox 8-Step Analog Sequencer (Project 16 in Junkyard Jam Band)—which is easily the best version of this I’ve ever seen (it totally leaves mine in the dust, and I designed the damn thing!)
Everything is just so sweet and just-right here: the knobs, the brushed aluminum label, the wood cheeks, the grommets padding out the LEDs, the labels—but also the little things, the visual balance among the elements, the use of different sizes of knob on different functions. Give it a look, then give it a listen. So rad!
Arthur Lacomme in Brussels, who I’ve linked before, sent me a link to a rad lil Single-Chip Space Invader (Project 15 in Junkyard Jam Band) he built. Click thru to hear this bad boy; such chiptune joy! Arthur and his pals have plans to hit an upcoming “wild carnival” with some noise-enhanced clothing. I look forward to seeing and sharing video!
Keep seeking out the Good Noise! Keep sharing what you find!
A robot plays a pop hit (I love the rhythmic element that the robot’s motors and gears bring to the song):
This one is pretty interesting if you stick with it; what you no doubt initially take to be a precursor to the 8-track is playing cartridges loaded with ribbon-based analog records(!!!). The macro-lens bit at around 5:20 gives you an example of both the sound (pretty damn solid) and the mechanism (OMFG! Wünderbar!) Hilarious remote control, too.
And then there’s this guy:
(FYI, that caption was Wordpress’s suggested—and I love it!!!)
o_O The thing that makes this one, for me, is how the strings are anchored in the eye sockets(!!!) The Met has several of these—from different generous donors and almost certainly different artisans—and they all use the eye sockets and brow ridge as a saddle and bridge. Humans, amiright?
N.B. that, according to current expert opinion, this thing—which is indeed from Central Africa, where it was crafted in the 19th C by a native artisan—was produced for no other purpose than to sell something fantastically “primitive” and “savage” to European tourists/anthropologists (and thus inform European opinions of these nations and, in all likelihood, form the foundation of the moral justifications for brutal colonialism). I invite the reader to meditate on their own how this might mirror our current situation with imported polarizing/fake news, and who the greater savage might be: The supplier who makes the ersatz evidence, or the customer who furnishes the demand and shells out the cash?
(NOTE: If you’re feeling deja vu, don’t sweat it; I post this every year, because I love you)
I’m a mixed Jew who’s lived in the American Midwest for his entire life. I think these songs, more than anything else I’ve ever written, are honest about that experience.
- Another Dark Xmastime (FUN FACT: I wrote this during my first year as a fundamentally unemployable stay-at-home dad; my son believes it is an accepted part of the general Xmas Music Canon.)
- Dreidel Bells (FUN FACT: The beat here is an original GameBoy running an early German Nanoloop cartridge. Both voices are obviously me, but the filters for the robot voice badly overburdened my iBook, causing significant lag–which is why Mr. Roboto struggles so badly to hit his marks.)
- DreidelDreidelDreidel (FUN FACT: The beat here is a vintage analog Boss DR-55 once owned by POE, crammed through a heavy-metal distortion stompbox.)