February 2015 Web stuff

Peace, love, unity and the Science Centre: a brief history of the Toronto rave scene

• Over at Cuepoint, Frank Owen does a long tell about the punk scene in bloody Manchester, the “1970s scene that birthed Joy Division, Morrissey and Buzzcocks”, complete with Perry Boys, Teddy Boys and soccer hooligans.

Even by the lax standards of the time, they were terrible musicians (hence the name) and only had two songs, “Pass The Vaseline” and “Fast Breeder.”

Stay True Poland is a 15-minute look at the history of electronic music in Poland. Meet the pioneers from the Soviet era, as well as modern faces.
If that glimpse only whets your whistle, you can visit MOMA’s collection of music, essays and interviews about the Polish Radio Experimental Studio established in Warsaw in 1957. [via createdigitalmusic.com]

How I taught my computer to write its own music. (Nautilus; John Supko, Duke University music professor)

Bill and I always planned to refine the system’s compositions ourselves. At present, bearings_traits simply can’t observe what it’s doing and make value judgments. It can’t listen and say, “That’s amazing! I want to do more with that!” We reserved that role for ourselves because our ultimate goal was to make striking, original music for humans to listen to. Besides, adapting our human creativity to the computer’s strange musical material was an education in itself.

Wow, lookit this 25-year-old SNES console. The sound chip only has 64KB of RAM – so does the video circuit. I wonder what kind of sound and video tricks it could do.
These guys know. 1 MB 2014 DEMO.

Dr. Dre’s Secret (Sequined) history [via Mefi]

The Ghost in the MP3 is a (somewhat technical) listen to and reflection on the sounds thrown away by MP3 encoding – and their use in compositions. (Tom’s Diner is a Susanne Vega song.)

RIP Lesley Gore (Lesley Sue Goldstein); among the hits she recorded as a teenager is 1964 US#2 “You Don’t Own Me”.

• The UK’s Telegraph gets historical with pictures and stories of Top 65 happy songs starting way back in 1928. (Click the pix to move forward.) Not too shabby!

• MIT researchers conclude that the finest violins came about because of evolutionary accidents. Maybe … or maybe it was skilled tinkering.

• A history of London’s pirate dance-music radio stations, 1980-89. Published by someone who’d like to put a book together.
The AM/FM.org website’s home page offers links to a lot more material on this rarely-reported scene. Fantastic!

• Weird Al’s latest, 14th album, Mandatory Fun – the first comedy album to top the US charts in 50 years – just won him a Grammy Award.

The huge irony of my life; […] it was difficult for me to get signed to a record deal back in early 80s because all the executives were saying “Oh, you do that … novelty music. You’re gonna have maybe one hit if you’re lucky and then […] you’ll go right to oblivion. You know, nobody’ll ever hear from you again.”

An Oral History of Laurel Canyon.

The Necessity of Musical Hallucinations is a peek under the hood from Stanford’s Jonathan Berger.

In a 1981 essay, “Music, Mind, and Meaning,” cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky told us that “ideas come from processes obscured from us and with which our surface thoughts are almost uninvolved.” Paul McCartney, for instance, was so convinced that “Yesterday” came to him in a dream that he felt that it had to have been written by another composer. And Robert Schumann was convinced that Franz Schubert dictated a theme from his Violin Concerto to him.

Highway to Hell: My life on the road with the Dead Kennedys

• Moog has re-released a line of original-design modular analog synths, and recently invited a number of synth pioneers to demo them. Among others the 18-minute video includes Suzanne Ciani, Malcolm Cecil, David Borden, Dick Hyman and Moog co-creator Herb Deutsch. Ciana improv (4m).
Update: This 6-minute demo of the Moog Model 15 is very well done – the sound (and build) quality is obvious.

• Interview with filmmaker (Dark Star, Assault On Precinct 13, Halloween) and composer John Carpenter.

• Fans of Terry Riley’s 1964 minimalist classic In C may want to check out this lively Africa Express youtube version. (40 min) For details see this MeFi post.

———— (January 2015 Web Stuff)