Thursday, July 31, 2008

Experience Music Project

The Experience Music Project rocks. I finally got a chance to visit the museum when I was in the Seattle last week.

The Gehry-designed EMP building houses a tribute to Jimi Hendrix and Seattle's music greats. The new "Jimi Hendrix: An Evolution of Sound" exhibition is outstanding. On display are some of Hendrix's most famous axes, including the Woodstock white strat and the one he offered to the gods of fire at Monterey. Along with Jimi Hendrix's life story, there's a look at the history of the guitar itself with unusual incarnations of the instrument I had never seen in person before. Very interesting.

Upstairs there are interactive workstations where you can play and learn music. Pick up a guitar, sit down behind a drum kit or fire up a synth. They're all ready to be played. There's an isolated room where three people can jam together. You can buy a CD or DVD of your performance. Rock on.

I like the stations that break down Hendrix's master tracks. You can put on headphones and remix several songs and isolate each track. Hearing the guitar parts on their own was really cool.

The EMP is like an interactive Hendrix and Seattle-focused Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shazam iPhone Song Recognition

Shazam mobile phone software listens to the music around you, compares it to a database of over 4 million songs and tells you the artist, album and song name.

I downloaded the software for free from the App Store on my iPhone. I tested it last night in the car with a couple songs off the radio. I opened the Shazam app and pressed Tag Now. It captured 12 seconds of the song, sent it to the server and a few seconds later came back with the info.

Artist: The Abyssinians
Title: Declaration Of Rights
Genre: Reggae
Label: Soul Jazz Records
Album: Studio One Story

It actually worked! I couldn't believe it. I tried another song. Another good match. "It's Over" by The Beta Band. 2 for 2.

Shazam lets you preview and buy the song through the iTunes store right on the phone. You can even watch YouTube videos of the artist or email the info. Very cool.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Danny Carey Bartending @ Cha Cha Lounge

Danny Carey didn't play drums last night. He played bartender.

The drummer from Tool poured drinks at the Cha Cha Lounge in Silver Lake.

The picture above is Danny serving up 2 PBR's. I asked him how he ended up bartending for the night: "Just for kicks."

Look out for an August 22nd Volto! concert to be announced soon.

Update: There's a Volto! show at the Baked Potato on Aug. 21 [not the 22nd].

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sound Reactive Boids In A Flowsphere

sound reactive boids in a flowsphere from rui madeira on Vimeo:

audio reative visuals made in c++ using the amazing openframeworks library

Song -> aphex twin - 4

i used a perlin noise class which can be found here :

and some of this is still adapted from a robert hodgin source which can be found here
If you like this, check out Rui Madeira's "a whole lot of balls," a visualization of Four Tet's "A Smile Around The Face."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nine Inch Nails Dress Rehearsal LA Forum

The Nine Inch Nails private dress rehearsal concert at The Forum in LA on Saturday, July 19, 2008, was incredible.

I'd love to write a full review, but I just don't have the time now. I also don't want to spoil it for those who are going to see shows on the Lights In The Sky tour soon. Don't read below if you don't want to see the setlist. Just go to the show!

30 songs. Over 2 hours. 12 songs they had never played live before. Instrumentation never seen or heard previously on a NIN stage. A mesmerizing "next level" interactive stage and lighting show. Quiet songs uninterrupted by yelling from the crowd. Maybe 500 people in the audience.

I left too late to get the free poster. Anyone know where I can find one?

Here's my best guess at the setlist:

letting you
march of the pigs
head down
the frail
the wretched
gave up
the warning
the great destroyer
1 ghosts I
6 ghosts I ?
19 ghosts III ?
25 ghosts III ?
the greater good
terrible lie
the big come down
31 ghosts IV ?
the hand that feeds
head like a hole

the beginning of the end
the good soldier
Killer setlist! I think they played 4 songs from Ghosts instead of 5. Please correct setlist errors in the comments here.

I still can't believe my friends and I found free tickets through the NIN Google Earth treasure hunt! What an adventure!

If you're not planning on going to one of the upcoming NIN shows, get on it! The show is amazing!

Update: Read on... Part 6 in the NIN treasure hunt...

Or go back to the beginning... Part 1...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

NIN Google Earth Treasure Hunt Part 4

Friday was a crazy day in the hunt for Nine Inch Nails tickets. After finding tickets for my friends at the drive-through of a KFC, I enjoyed reading the stories of others who had also found passes.

Tickets to the private NIN show were discovered in all sorts of bizarre places: in a Home Depot by the ten inch nails [T.I.N.], in a Barnes & Noble inside "The Recording Engineer's Handbook" (a book I've used as a reference for years), in the bathroom at the Seventh Veil strip club on Sunset Blvd., in the cracks of another bathroom stall, behind a yard sale sign, at the base of a tree, under lights in the sky in Irvine, at a grave marked "Boner" in another cemetery... Hilarious!

This was the day before the private dress rehearsal concert. That Friday evening I picked up the NIN concert tickets being held for me at a hotel in Marina del Rey. It appeared that the hunt was over after the markers for the 21 pairs of tickets that popped up at the same time that morning disappeared one by one from the NIN Google Earth map. Apparently two more sets of tickets popped up after that.

The following Saturday morning, before we were going to leave for the show, I checked the Google Earth map again and found another ? that read "Incredibly ugly hat. Last pair of tickets." It was close enough to me that I could have gone, but I called a friend [and big-time NIN fan!] who lives downtown instead, and they took off after it.

I explained where to go over the phone while they were driving. The ? was at a gas station at the corner of Los Feliz and Vermont. I told them to look for an ugly hat. Maybe it was in the parking lot, behind a bush or in the store. Once they arrived, they looked for several minutes but couldn't find it. Before giving up, they went back in the store and picked up the ugliest hat the gas station had for sale. Sure enough... They scored the last pair of NIN concert tickets!

The entire two weeks of the NIN Google Earth treasure hunt was totally ridiculous and a lot of fun... but the best was yet to come... the rehearsal concert itself... I'll write about that soon...

Read on... Part 5: the private rehearsal concert...

Or go back to the beginning... Part 1...

NIN Google Earth Treasure Hunt Part 3

Before unsuccessfully guiding friends over the phone through a Nine Inch Nails ticket finding mission in a cemetery on Thursday night, I received an email from NIN telling me that physical concert tickets were waiting for me at a hotel in Marina del Rey. I woke up early Friday morning to pick them up on my way to the South Bay for business. Before I left, I checked the Google Earth NIN map and found that all hell had broken loose...

There were 21 pairs of tickets scattered all over the LA area!

I called a bunch of friends, starting with the one who spent over an hour in the cemetery with no luck. He went after the tickets in Studio City with the clue "Check the payphones." I decided to go after the one in Los Feliz in case he was too late. The clue: "You'll know it when you see it." Turns out we were both too late. All I found was a dead Christmas tree knocked over on a vacant plot of land in a residential neighborhood. My friend found a note from the person who beat them to it at the payphones.

I got a call from a guy I met at the NIN resistance meeting concert last year. He was in front of the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park. He also thought he was too late. His clue: "Right under the Triceratops' nose." He looked all around the statue of the dinosaur... the mouth, the nose, the ground... and finally found the tickets under a rock at the base of the statue right under the Triceratops's nose!

I jumped back in the car and started heading toward the hotel to pick up my tickets. I broke out my laptop and noticed another ? location was on the way. The clue: "Drive-through menu." Without internet access, I couldn't zoom in, but I had a general idea of where it was. I got some better directions over the phone. I made a right off of Beverly Blvd. onto Western Ave. There must be a fast food restaurant... KFC!

I pulled into the parking lot, parked my car and ran over to the drive-through menu. Nothing around the front of the sign. Looked around the back the sign...

I found NIN concert tickets in a Kentucky Fried Chicken drive-through! Finger Lickin' Good! Now my friend who came up empty-handed at the cemetery and payphones could go too!

Yes, there's more... Here's Part 4...

Or go back to the beginning... Part 1...

NIN Google Earth Treasure Hunt Part 2

The Nine Inch Nails treasure hunt adventure continued this week with more ?'s popping up on the NIN Google Earth tour map. After my brother and I found the second pass hidden in the drain pipe in Griffith Park a couple weeks ago, I wondered if the band would keep the hunt going for more tickets to the private dress rehearsal concert on July 19.

They did. The following Saturday, a third ? led fans to a parking lot at the Campsite of Anza for another pass. Then a few days went by with no new action.

Thursday night I checked the Google Earth map and found another ? hidden in a cemetery. WTF?! Two tickets to a NIN concert were hidden in a graveyard in Inglewood after dark?! Luckily I already had tickets so I didn't really have to put any thought into going there myself, but I knew my friends would have done just about anything to get into this private show.

The first friend I called couldn't believe what I was telling him. The idea of climbing over a gate and trespassing in a cemetery in the hood at night is not what anyone would call safe. He said he'd call me back. A couple minutes later: "Tell me where I need to go."

He and his friend (maybe the most courageous girl ever!) left the bar in Hollywood and raced down to the Inglewood Park Cemetery at 11 PM. Reading the message boards, I saw that two or three other groups of fans were already there checking the entrances, but nobody reported actually getting inside yet. When my friends got close, I told them to park at the corner of Grace and Prairie. It looked like a straight shot to the prize.

Armed with a laptop and speakerphone, I guided them to the south sidewalk of Grace Ave. and east across Prairie to the cemetery. After a few cars drove by, they climbed over the gates and landed among tombstones. Crazy! I told them to run straight ahead (from left to right on my map) until they reached the first road. A few graves past that, they started looking for the ? envelope. No dice. They passed it and reached the second wider road (on the right). Hmmm... The only clue on the NIN map was one word: "Enter."

Could it be at an entrance to the cemetery? In a mausoleum? We sent a text message with a picture of the map to their cell phone. They looked everywhere around the spot on the map. Nothing. They kept searching regardless of seeing red and blue flashing lights and hearing ambulence and police sirens outside the gates. Even with the full moon, it was hard for them to see anything without a flashlight. They ventured off and "entered" several memorial gardens. Still nothing.

They went back to the ? spot and got on the ground, rummaging through the grass, leaves and debris, looking everywhere for the prize. Nothing. After an hour of searching, they left and figured someone else must have beaten them to it. Utter disappointment.

The prize was still there! Someone else got to the ? location after they left. They went to the exact spot on the map, discovered a large tombstone with the name "Enter" and found a wet ? envelope covered in dirt and grass.

Read on... Part 3...

Or go back to the beginning... Part 1...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Iner Souster

Iner Souster builds experimental music instruments and fauxbots from trash and salvaged materials in Toronto.

The Sound of the MV1 from iner on Vimeo.

Some of Iner Souster's creations:

Five Stringed Chicken Cooker
Electric Chicken Cooker Thumb Piano
Clock Bass
Chime Wheel
Some Kind of Wooden Clakity Clack Thing
Percussive Droid 108

one minute bamboo from iner on Vimeo.

Check out Iner Souster's blogspot and vimeo videos.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Natasha Shneider RIP

Natasha Shneider passed away from cancer on July 2, 2008, at the age of 52.

The Russian-born artist formed the band Eleven with her husband Alain Johannes and RHCP Jack Irons in 1990 and hit the Top 40 with the single "Reach Out." She played keyboards and sang with Queens of the Stone Age on the Lullabies to Paralyze album and tour.

On Saturday August 16 at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood, Queens of the Stone Age will perform a concert in celebration of the life of Natasha Shneider.

A Benefit in Celebration of

Natasha Shneider

Queens of the Stone Age

Performing songs from the limits of the QOTSA catalog and beyond
with help of friends:

PJ Harvey
Jack Black + Kyle Gass
Matt Cameron
Brody Dalle
Jesse Hughes
Billy F. Gibbons
Chris Goss
Alain Johnannes

Proceeds from the event will go to defray the costs associated with Natasha’s battle with cancer. Tickets are $100 and go on sale this Saturday, July 19th through Ticketmaster.

If you cannot attend but would like to donate to help relieve the burden of Natasha's fight with cancer please visit

UPDATE 8/17/08: Concert review.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ear Wax Cleaning

Warning: This is nasty.

[youtube: pushpushpush46 via presstube]

Monday, July 14, 2008

Matmos Echoplex LA

Matmos played a good concert at the Echoplex in LA last night. I had previously seen the experimental act with Björk at the Civic Opera House in Chicago and at the Jensen Rec Center in Echo Park. I was curious to see what the new show would be like since their new album is made up entirely of synths.

The venue had rows of seats set up, which is somewhat rare at the Echoplex. The Matmos set began with all the lights in the house turned off except for one: the blue flashing light at the end of the tentacle [LEDacle] protruding from the head of a Thingamagoop. Yes! I love my Thingamagoop. It was cool to see another band use the light-controlled synth live. With its LEDacle pointing straight up, the mini synth robot made no sound at first because no light was hitting the sensor on its nose. Then Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt of Matmos appeared, roaming through the aisles in the audience, shining flashlights in our faces. M.C. took a seat next to us for a minute. The reflected light began to produce sound from the Thingamagoop. The blips and bleeps came full force once they started hitting it with red laser pointers. Cool stuff.

The second song in the setlist was Rainbow Flag, the opening track off the new album, Supreme Balloon. I could have done without the video backdrop during the third song. They said it was about VHS tape and apologized, "Sorry, Mom and Dad." Then an 80s-looking porno video played behind them of a man undressing and masterbating in a hot tub. Not cool.

Matmos played some great guitar stuff to celebrate the rerelease of The West. The duo was joined by another guitar player on an electric with wah and Wobbly on electronics. Drew jumped off the stage and into the crowd, climbing on top of chairs toward the back, carrying a pair of rhythm boxes with built-in speakers. All in all it was a good show.

Partial equipment list:

Roland SH-101
Roland V-Synth
Gong with brushes, mallets and ?
Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail
DSI Evolver
Peavey PC1600x
Novation SL
Behringer BCR2000
2 laptops - Ableton Live on 1
E-mu e6400
Rubber fish?
Line 6 POD X3 Live

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Disney Audio Animatronics

Walt Disney & Co. were the pioneers of audio-animatronics. Disney "Imagineer" Lee Adams created the first animatronics, the giant squid from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the birds in the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.

What's your favorite animatronic of all time? What is the latest and greatest use of animatronics today?

[youtube: freedogshampoo]

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Matmos Synth Porn

Matmos synth porn and a track-by-track tour of their new album, Supreme Balloon, are up on Brainwashed here. I'll be at show at the Echoplex on Sunday night.

Matmos tour dates:

Sat Jul 12 - San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
Sun Jul 13 - Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex
Tue Jul 15 - Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theatre
Fri Jul 18 - New York, NY @ (le) poisson rouge
Sat Jul 19 - New York, NY @ (le) poisson rouge
Mon Jul 21 - Toronto, ONT @ The Music Gallery
Wed Jul 23 - Columbus, OH @ Wexner Center
Thu Jul 24 - Detroit, MI @ Detroit Institute of Arts
Fri Jul 25 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Andy Warhol Museum
Sun Jul 27 - Chicago, IL @ Lakeshore Theater
Drew Daniel + Terry Riley at Moonshine Ranch

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

NIN Google Earth: In The Drain Pipe

What a night! Last night I read about some crazy NIN Google Earth geocache adventure where a lucky fan found a pass to a private dress rehearsal NIN concert scheduled for next week before the upcoming Lights In The Sky tour.

The Nine Inch Nails Google Earth map shows all the announced tour dates and updates them automatically. Download it at It updated on the 4th of July with a "?" in Burbank and the words "Under the rock."

After I got home tonight, I pulled up the NIN KML on Google Earth to see if there was another question mark. Nothing. An hour or two later, I refreshed Google Earth and found a new "?" and "In the drain pipe."

Holy shit! I told my brother Mark to grab his laptop and some shoes. I found the two intersecting streets nearest to the prize on the map, and he wrote them down. I couldn't find a flashlight fast enough. We took off.

Jumped in the car. Mark programmed the intersection in the car's GPS. It was less than 15 minutes away in Griffith Park. We raced down there, each of us with a laptop on our lap. Mark scanned the map to see if there was a closer place to park, and there was. We followed the GPS to the spot and parked. There was already a car there with a NIN sticker. Shit!

We parked, jumped out of the car and ran. We squeezed in next to the park's closed gate and ran down the path up the hill. We saw a couple people walking toward us. We asked, "Did you find it? Did you find it?" They said, "Yeah."

We kept running. We had to find the drain pipe even if we were too late. I found a fire hydrant. No drain pipe. I lost Mark for a minute while he kept running. I got to a point where I could either turn right or keep going straight up the hill. I took the right.

Kept running. Getting tired. I called out for my brother, not knowing which way he went. He heard me and came down to where I was, and we found a pipe. No drain. Keep running!

We took off again. Mark flew past me with a crazy burst of energy. Soon after, he slowed down at a turn in the path. There was a ditch. Was this the spot?

I jumped down in the ditch, not knowing how far I'd fall or what I'd be landing in. Twigs and dirt. I couldn't see a thing, so I asked Mark to face the MacBook Pro toward me for light.

There was a drain! The drain pipe!

I broke out my cell phone to use as a flashlight to see inside. There were two rocks in there... and a white envelope with a "?" written on it! I reached in past the rocks, grabbed the prize and pulled it out.

I couldn't believe it. We found it!

This was just the beginning... Read Part 2 here...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Diabolical Circuit Bent Kurzweil K2000

Kurzweil K2000 circuit bent by Diabolical on ebay here:

Up at Auction or Buy It Now Is One of the Mightiest Meanest Over The Top Prototype Circuit Bent Atrocities I have come across: A One Of A Kind Heavily Modified KURZWEIL K2000 V.A.S.T. ( Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology ) Keyboard Synthesizer Workstation ! Ray Kurzweil Of Man-Machine Cyber-Science & Synthesizer Technology Fame has Created several successful generations of refined & expansive synthesizers culminating in the K-Series instruments that are still widely used by Studio Pros & Live Performers for their Incredible Flexibility, Deep Precision Programing And Control ( Parameters are in REAL Values: True Intonation Tables, Adjustments In: Hertz, Milliseconds, Ticks, not "1 to 13" or "4', 6', 8', " as per some Other Synths ... ), & Lush Dynamic Sound. Kurzweil K Series Instruments have one of the widest ranging and diverse sample libraries available on Any Synth Platform. Now; To Take It Further... This Prototype K-2000 has been Extensively Modifed. Not Only can All of the usual synth parameters be accessed and utilized; but now interactive glitch switches and a Phat Circuit Bent Cyber-Patch has been implanted to achieve all sorts of combinations of Extra Outrageous Sound Manipulation. One of the Kings Of The Modern Synth World Conquered By the Insane Technicians OF DIABOLICAL DEVICES Down In Florida At the Infamous CLASS A ELECTRONICS Synthesizer Rehabilitation Center.

The floppy disc drive has been replaced with a Backlit Panel Featuring a DIABOLICAL DEVICES Circuit Board Art Logo & the space where the drive sat internally is now taken up the New Electronics & the Patch Bay. Samples can still be loaded & extracted by SCSI or by MIDI. You can load up and Damage all those Kurzweil & Third Party Sounds; or masticate Your Own. All Bends are Super Stable & Repeatable; choose a Patch & Set Your Bends: -It Will Be A True Restore Every Time ! ! ! The Blue Button & The Red & Blue Banana Points Next To It Are Assignable From The Red & Black Audible Data Outs As A Momentary Bend Switch System. The rca Are Data/Bend Points That have Different Effects Dependent Upon What Is Cross- Patched To Them. Four Of The Switches Produce Ring-Mod Or Cross-Mod Type Effects. Three Switches Produce Delay Type Effects. The Other Seven Are harder To Describe, But Were Extreme Or Cool Enough To Make Them Hard Switch Points -So These Are Worthy Effects. It's Easy To Engage Or Patch Multiple Points & Effects & End Up In Difficult To Describe Territory... The Two 1/4 Inch Ports Are Designed To Put Audible Data To Mixer To Add To The Analog Out SIgnal For Further Hard To Describe Effects... The Switch in Back Turns The LED's Behind The "Diabolical" Display On Or Off. It Is A Behemoth Amongst Circuit Bent Synths; Full Arp, Seq, Extreme Synthesis Before The Bends Are Mixed In. I DO NOT Really Want To Sell This Monster, But I Have An Opportunity I Wish To Take -& Need An Awful Lot Of $$$ To Do So. I'm Offering Several Items For Sale That I DO NOT Wish to Part With; & I'm Actively Seeking Alternatives To These Sales At The Same Time. This Is A Limited Time Offer Of Sale That May Be Withdrawn If Circumstances Permit. It Is Probably the Most Ridiculously Extensive Circuit Bent Synth Monster I've Seen To Date. A Super Digital Synth Workstation With Extreme One Of A Kind Destructive & Reconstructive Powers. Ships with a tight fitting Black Faux Leather Handled Carry Case, Standard EIC AC Cord, CLASS A Info Sheet & Some Cables To Get You Started With Patching Various Bends.

Guaranteed NO DOA. Someone Is Going To Be VERY Happy. I'm Only Parting With It As I Am Reaching For A Big Ticket Item. Stay Tuned & Check Out My Other Upcoming Auctions: For A Very Limited Time I Am Offering Up Quite A Few Rare & Boutique Synthesizers & Drum Machines, Extreme Circuit Bent Instruments, Serious Prototype Devices; -& God Knows What -As I Reach For My Next Audacious Goal ! ! ! FREE Fully Insured Shipment Within the Lower 48 US States Is Included ONLY With Buy-It-Now ! ! ! International Transactions Welcome ! Please be sure of any customs or importation issues that may apply before bidding if they are of concern. I Accept Pay-Pal -& prefer eCheck for Payments. Buy-It-Now From a Trusted eBay Power Seller for Complete Confidence & Full Satisfaction. Happy Bidding & may the Best eBayer WIN & Give This Prototype Kurzwel K2000-B a New Home ! Cheers! John Ralston - ThroxxOfVron, NYC ....Sorry For The Relist Everyone; I Thought I Had A Local Buyer....
This is awesome.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Anechoic Chambers

An anechoic chamber is a room designed to minimize sound reflections and unwanted outside noise. It's a floating room within a room. As the quietest places on the planet, they are used for sound experiments and the testing of microphones and speakers among other things.

True silence is something most people never experience. It's freaky. I've been in anechoic chambers three different times. The experience is other-worldly. The first time I visited one was during a tour of the US headquarters of a pro audio gear manufacturer. The chamber was a bit uncomfortable, but I didn't get the full effect because the tiniest noises the other people made sounded like they were amplified a hundred times.

I went back again last summer and asked to spend some time in the chamber by myself. It was nuts. I stepped into the room and onto the mesh floor, which is suspended above the real floor of the chamber. The large double doors were shut from the outside, and then there was silence. I closed my eyes. The only sounds I heard were those coming from my own body. I heard the air as I breathed in through my nose. Then I focused on the beating of my heart. Then a strange high-pitched frequency. Then the sound of the blood rushing through my veins. That was wild!

I listened to all kinds of strange noises I never knew were in me. I felt disoriented. My body started leaning from side to side. Sound reflections are necessary for human balance. I was in the reflection-free anechoic chamber for about 10 minutes, and I don't know how much more I could have taken. They opened the door, and I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I was breathing deeply as if I had to catch my breath. I was sweating. It was crazy. I highly recommend trying it. Once.

There's a cool roundup of a dozen anechoic chambers on oobject. Great photos.

Check out the somewhat fetishistic NSFW movies of fashion model Zora Star dressing and undressing in PVC pants, jacquard skirt, sequin dress, cock feather jacket and rubber top in the semi-anechoic chamber at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington on the outskirts of London. The SHOWstudio Anechoic project explores the sounds of clothes. I've recorded zippers and articles of clothing before, but they have taken it to another level here. This collection could be a great addition to my sample library.

Russian Stylophone Clones + Raconteurs

ЭЛЕКТРОНИКА Russian Stylophone clones on flickr.

[bradburyp + matrixsynth + lukatoyboy + fibra]

Anyone know where I can find one of these without going all the way to Russia?

What's up with the Raconteurs Stylophone on ebay for $250?

[youtube: dinosaursoda]

Friday, July 4, 2008

Ian Curtis Tombstone Stolen

The gravestone of Joy Division's Ian Curtis was stolen earlier this week from his burial spot at the Macclesfield Cemetery in Cheshire.

Not cool.

[rollingstone + bbc]

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Theremug from Kyle McDonald on Vimeo.

Instructions for turning a mug of tea into a Theremin:

1 Prepare some tea
2 Expose the L/R leads on an 1/8" cable
3 Immerse leads in tea
4 Plug cable into audio input
5 Start up max/pd/processing/etc. and average every 735 samples (882 if you're in Europe/running on 50Hz)
6 Scale value and drive oscillator

(The tea should not be neglected, be sure to drink it once you're done making noise.)

My camera's been acting funny, hence the jitter.

See the Max patch for a more in-depth explanation:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Misheard Lyrics - Yellow Ledbetter

youtube: misheardlyricsguy

California Hands-Free Cell Phone Law + iPhone Google Reader

Yesterday the hands-free cell phone law went into effect in California.

Section 23123 of the vehicle code:

a person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is configured to allow hands free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.
I'll admit it. I'm one of those guys. I'm constantly on the phone when I'm driving.

I have a love-hate relationship with cell phones. It seemed like I was one of the last people on the planet to get a cell phone. That was in 2001 or 2002. I resisted for the longest time because I felt a certain sense of freedom not being connected 24/7. My logic: if someone wants to reach me, they can call my house phone and leave a message. How old does that sound?

I finally broke down. I decided to get a cell phone to receive calls but not dial out. Phones are everywhere, right? I would use it just for emergencies. Yeah, right.

The gadget geek in me wanted one. I woke up early on Black Friday and got whatever the newest silver Motorola phone was. Then the RAZR hit. Had to have it. Then the Treo. Then the iPhone. It's a disease.

Somehow I ended up carrying two cell phones. I've got the iPhone for fun and a blackberry for business. It's garbage. I use the blackberry over bluetooth with my car's hands-free speaker system. If I get a call on the iPhone, I have to put the phone to my ear because I don't think you can have two phones connected to the car's speaker system at the same time. Plus speakerphone on the iPhone isn't loud enough. I definitely need to lose the blackberry. When the iPhone works with exchange servers in a usable way for email, the blackberry will be toast.

While I'm driving, I'm not just talking. I'm reading, typing, texting, emailing... I'm bad. It's like my car is my office. LA traffic blows, so I pass the time cranking CDs, surround DVD-A discs or XM radio and reading email and surfing my favorite blog and music news sites.

I use Google Reader to keep track of RSS feeds and the Google Reader iPhone interface to read when I'm on the go. I have it saved as a button on the iphone's home screen. I scan the headlines and click on the interesting articles. I can save good ones for later by choosing Keep Unread or giving it a yellow star. Tapping the Share button puts it on my Califaudio Google Reader page and in the Link Load widget you can find on the lower right-hand column of this blog. Yes, I update my blog while I'm driving!

For now, only putting the phone to your ear is banned while driving. Texting and typing are legal because of the wording of the law, but some local police agencies say they will fine drivers for doing those as well. A newer bill that would include text messaging was introduced last week by the same legislator who wrote the hands-free bill. The current law imposes a fine of $20 for a first-time offense and $50 for each additional offense. Is that really going to stop people from using the phone while on the road?

I've done all kinds of crazy things while driving that are much more dangerous than talking on the phone. I'll spare you all the gory details, but I will say that plugging a circuit bent Speak & Spell into the car's stereo system can be a ton of fun.

The dangers of being distracted while driving are obvious. Don't end up like this on a Friday night... or worse!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gongs + Tibetan Singing Bowls

Emile de Leon of Temple Sounds performs a brief sound meditation with gongs and Tibetan singing bowls using large mallets.

[youtube: templesounds]