music

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger cover

This is a brilliant cover of a classic Daft Punk song.

“Neo Magazin Royale is a German satirical late night talk show hosted by Jan Böhmermann, and has one of the biggest bands in late night TV. The 15-piece orchestra is headed by rapper Dendemann, and features a rotating cast of musicians. This amazing cover of Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” wasn’t even for the live TV show — it was a band warm up in front of the live audience.”

[via Uncrate]

The Art of Listening

This is a documentary about making music, from instrument making to playing to mixing, mastering, and listening. It was sponsored by Sony although there are only a few plugs in it for Sony gear, the rest is a variety of musicians and music producers talking about how they make and share music. It’s about an hour and 14 minutes long.

The comparison to photography is interesting:

Music: one needs a great song, well played on a decent instrument, well recorded and mastered and played on a decent audio player to channel what the musician laid down.

Photography: one needs a great image, well recorded with decent equipment, well processed and seen on a decent screen or a decent print to channel what the photographer saw and recorded.

In the photography world I like to think of Ansel Adams: he chose great subject matter (Yosemite), used a view camera (big negative, high definition), stopped down to small apertures (more detail), used filters (to get the dramatic look he wanted), and he took great care in developing his negatives and making his prints. If you’ve ever seen a large Ansel Adams print, in person, it’s a thing of wonder and you can feel that care in the print, very much like these musicians and producers talking about the care they take in making and sharing music.

[via Uncrate]

Stroll

Apple’s full length ad for their new wireless earbuds: AirPods that work with all Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac). Apple’s advertising is on a roll recently, some great stuff.

I wish these things (and all Apple stock earbuds) fit in my ears. Alas, they don’t. I’ve been using Bose noise cancelling headphones for many years and recently upgraded to the Bose QC 35 wireless model. Excellent product and works well for me (music, phone, movies). Still, I wish I could use the AirPods, they certainly are more portable.

Prince playing George

Prince Rogers Nelson died today.

Prince, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and others perform “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by George Harrison at the 2004 Hall of Fame Inductions. Dhani Harrison (son) is standing next to Petty.

Prince was amazing and while his own music was out of this world, he was a world class musician who could play anything.

This group plus more got together (minus Prince) at the Concert for George organized by Eric Clapton at Royal Albert Hall. If you like this music and these musicians and haven’t seen that, its a must.

Update: This is a piece the New York Times just posted on this particular performance and its worth a read: The Day Prince’s Guitar Wept the Loudest.

[via Devour]

Press Pause Play

PressPausePlay from House of Radon on Vimeo.

This was originally posted on my old site in 2012. It’s a terrific piece, well worth taking the time to watch.

The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent in an unprecedented way, with unlimited opportunities. But does democratized culture mean better art or is true talent instead drowned out? This is the question addressed by PressPausePlay, a documentary film containing interviews with some of the world’s most influential creators of the digital era.

This is an amazing film, really worth making the time (an hour and 21 minutes) to watch. It’s well thought out, well shot, well edited, and the message is nuanced, not a slam dunk for digital or against it.

[via PetaPixel]

Joey Alexander

This is a spectacular studio performance of “Giant Steps” by Joey Alexander (piano), Larry Grenadier (bass), and Ulysses Owens Jr. (drums). I highly recommend zooming it out, and connecting your computer to a set of speakers that allow you to really hear these guys.

The amazing thing is, Joey Alexander is 12 years old. He plays so incredibly well, gets deeply into the zone, but also is totally with the other two musicians (who are outstanding) it’s mind-boggling.

The NPR piece on Joey is worth listening to, it provides some background on him: A (Very) Young Jazz Pianist Takes Giant Steps Towards Musical Mastery.

Wikipedia has a nice entry on him too: Joey Alexander.

How playing an instrument benefits your brain

When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.

Lesson by Anita Collins, animation by Sharon Colman Graham, narration by Addison Anderson, music by Peter Gosling.

[via wimp.com]