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Tag Archives: Music

Follow Up: Presenting Philips’ New Talent Competition Winner

By David Ponce

Some of you may remember that Philips brought us to Amsterdam last year to witness the production of a musical piece titled “I’m No Prototype”. It was part of their Obsessed With Sound campaign and was meant to highlight the company’s commitment to excellence in audio products. As part of the campaign, they were also sponsoring a musical talent discovery competition. This effort led to the submission of over 1,400 entries and the selection of a winner. They got the chance to have their winning piece mastered by U2′s producer, Steve Lillywhite and the Metropole Orchestra from Amsterdam. The result is the video above, and the winning band is a group from Brazil called Inky. The piece is called “No One’s Town” and we happen to think it’s pretty darn awesome.

We’re doing a follow up on this not just to help spread the word on the company’s efforts, but also to make a short statement about the way music is being discovered these days. It’s a slow shift away from the traditional record label orchestrated path that artists have taken over the decades. With shows like American Idol, YouTube and now multinational-sponsored competitions, artists can be discovered in more ways than ever before. It doesn’t necessarily mean that being selected as a winner will sad to commercial success, as we don’t know if there’s a distribution arrangement in place for Inky. Still, exposure is something, and we applaud Philips’ efforts in this area.

Hit the jump to read an interview with Inky.

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Jack White Releases 3RPM Record To Celebrate Label’s 3 Year Anniversary

By David Ponce

Jack White, you’re one quirky sumbitch. But that’s alright, because at least there’s some talent to go along with the quirk. See, to celebrate Third Man Record’s 3rd year anniversary, there was a party. And at this party a very limited edition LP was given to all in attendance. It contained all 29 Blue Series singles, but happened to be recorded at 3RPM. Yeah. 3. Of course, there’s an obsession with the number 3 here, and after the break you can read the official statement on this most strange of records.

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Tabber Guitar Sleeve Promises To Help You Learn

By David Ponce

It seems to be a good time to try and pick up the guitar. After games like Guitar Hero eventually died down, we’re seeing a new wave of applications meant to get you to play an actual instrument, as opposed to a plastic controller. First Rocksmith came out and quite frankly did a pretty awesome job. But you’re limited to playing on your console, with the amps and pedals as virtual on-screen options. The Tabber system being developed here is pretty different. It’s a sleeve with 13 LED light strips (wedged in between the first 12 frets and open notes), which “are all connected to an Arduino Uno processor. Power is supplied through a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The kit will utilize Bluetooth technology to control all of the lights from your mobile device. You will have an application that you can download to select through songs, chords, scales, light patterns, and lessons, and that’s just the start.” Sure, it won’t teach you proper finger positioning technique, but it’s a start. (This is were you might want to find a tutor to help you learn to play guitar.) It’s supposedly very low profile and does not affect sound performance at all.

It looks like a potentially promising system, but it’s a Kickstarter project at the moment. This means that if it doesn’t reach its $45k goal, it’s a no-go for the Tabber. It’s $150 on pre-order, so get yours now if this rocks your boat.

Get it? Rocks… No?


[ Kickstarter Tabber Project ]

Democratize Party Music With Anthm

By David Ponce

Vowels. They’re so uncool. Let’s nvr use thm agn.

Screw that, we ain’t no hipsters. But we do like the idea behind the cool-in-2006 vowel-less Anthm. It’s a music serving application for the iPhone and you need to be subscribed to Rdio for it to be of any use. Assuming you are, you can now liven up your parties with music that everyone present sort of agree on. Users can add tracks to a playlist and vote on the order the songs play. It’s a lot like iTunes’ own DJ feature, except it’s not limited to your own collection but to Rdio’s several million tracks.

It’s free.

[ Product Page (Link may launch iTunes) ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

Video: QuadRotor Swarm Now Able To Play James Bond Theme

By David Ponce

Remember that article from a month ago featuring a swarm of nano quadrotor bots flying around in tight formations? Yeah, as freaky as that was, it looks like they were just getting warmed up. The above video shows what the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception labs have been up to, and it doesn’t bode well for our robotic-apocalypse-free future. They’ve rigged their flying bots to play the James Bonds theme song using instruments. We’re talking keyboard, drums, cymbals, guitar, and maracas here.

Of course, there’s a good likelihood that this all took the team, led by Deputy Dean for Education and GRASP Lab member Vijay Kumar, along with Lab members Daniel Melligner and Alex Kushleyev, an ungodly number of hours to program. So it’s not like you’re likely to wake up to a swarm of bots jamming on your band gear anytime soon. But their goal is to “help scientists and engineers create smarter, faster, and more flexible robots by mimicking the swarming behaviors of birds, fish and insects. Figuring out how to move in unison without crashing into obstacles, or one another, is a critical skill for robot teams to develop, especially since they may one day be used to survey landscapes, build structures… or even play music.” And that, they’ve done.

[ UPenn Article ] VIA [ HackADay ]

[CES 2012] Evertune Bridge Keeps Your Guitar In Tune At All Times

By David Ponce

This is not a new product by any means, but I got to hear a demonstration of the Evertune guitar bridge at The Startup Debut and was really impressed. It’s a specially designed guitar bridge that keeps it in tune at all times. The way it works is as follows. The frequency of a string is determined by three factors: its length, weight and tension. Two of these, length and weight, are pretty constant. But changes in tension will cause changes in pitch. So the bridge features springs that pull on the string with a constant force. It you turn the tuning peg one way or the other, the spring in the bridge adjusts to keep the tension the same, thus staying in tune. And it works. Really, really well.

Now, you have to understand the system’s limitations. There’s an effective range outside of which turning the pegs will change the frequency, so you have to stay within that. But there might be times when you actually want to get to the upper edge of that range and play there; if you want to bend your strings for example. And this is somewhat of a weakness in the system, in my opinion. Most guitar playing involves bending of some kind, so you’d want to stay at the edge of the effective range most of the time anyway. But if you’re spending time finding that edge, you might as well spend it tuning the guitar in the first place. It’s a fundamental flaw, but not one that dimishes the Evertune’s effectiveness. If you want to play chords for example, this is perfect. It’s for more bluesy stuff that you’re going to run into trouble.

In any case, the device itsellf is around $330 but you will need to spend more money on having someone install it for you, and this typically costs an extra $200-$300. The company is working to have guitars with Evertune pre-installed.

[ Product Page ]

‘Tis A Pac Man Ukulele

By David Ponce

Lovely hand made tribute to the classic game, the Pac Man ukulele is $600. It’s made to order so you have to contact Celentano Woodworks on Etsy for an ETA.

The Pac Man ukulele is 12″ wide and 28″ long. The scale length is 19″ with 18 frets. Made out of maple with an ipa fretboard.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ LikeCool ]

ThinkGeek Has A Drum Machine T-Shirt

By David Ponce

It’s a fully functional drum set in a T-Shirt, which comes with its own powered mini amplifier that clips to your belt and “goes up to 11.” Better yet, there’s a looping functionality with unlimited tracks and loops that can last up to 3 minutes. With 9 synthesized sounds like “Rock drums”, “Discotek” and “Scratchy”, you’ll be tapping your chest like a lunatic while laying down some rhymes in no time. Don’t believe us, check out the below video.

The shirt is washable as the electronics are removable and the best part is the price: $29. It’s currently out of stock but will be ready to ship on the 10th. That’s tomorrow, folks.

[ Product Page ]

House Of The Rising Sun Performed On Old Electronic Equipment

By David Ponce

Not the first such video where someone takes a bunch of old timey electronics and hacks it into an improbable orchestra. But not all are good. This rendition of The Animals’ House of The Rising Sun is decent and was made using the following:

a. HP Scanjet 3P, Adaptec SCSI card and a computer powered by Ubuntu v9.10 OS as the Vocals.
b. Atari 800XL with an EiCO Oscilloscope as the Organ
c. Texas instrument Ti-99/4A with a Tektronix Oscilloscope as the Guitar
d. Hard-drive powered by a PiC16F84A microcontroller as the bass drum and cymbal

VIA [ Geekosystem ]