Sound Builders

The Sound Builders series on motherboard.tv highlights musicians who develop their own musical instruments. The first episode followed Peaking Lights as they prepared for their live tour. Subsequent episodes have included interviews with Diego Stocco, Eric Singer, Steve Mann, Liz Phillips, Reed Ghazla, Felix Thorn, Ranjit Bhatnagar and Ken Butler.

John Cage and Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Sound?? (1966)

An amazing video combining the talents of Rahsaan Roland Kirk and John Cage. The video questions the definition of sound…

Snowball the Cockatoo Dance

Snowball the Cockatoo loves to get down!

The Bird Lovers Only Rescue says that no one taught him how to dance, ‘he just heard this song and suddenly felt like dancing. When he’s really in the mood, he dances and sings.’

Does this mean that Humans are not alone in enjoying listening to music, or is this just a learned habit?

Magnetic Levitation Haptic Interfaces

An interesting project by Peter Berkelman and Ralph Hollis from 1998. The project is no longer active, you can check out the current projects from Microdynamic Systems Laboratory. The Psychophysics of Haptic Interaction studies the way in which users interact with real and virtual haptic worlds.

Here is a simple overview of the Magnetic Levitation Haptic Interface and a more detailed video.

The Vegetable Orchestra

The Vegetable Orchestra performs music solely on instruments made of vegetables. Using carrot flutes, pumpkin basses, leek violins, leek-zucchini-vibrators, cucumberophones and celery bongos, the orchestra creates its own extraordinary and vegetabile sound universe. The ensemble overcomes preserved and marinated sound conceptions or tirelessly re-stewed listening habits, putting its focus on expanding the variety of vegetable instruments, developing novel musical ideas and exploring fresh vegetable sound gardens.

Mesak – Popkumm

Taken from the Museum Of Future Sound compilation, a collection of Skweee tracks on the Flogsta Danshall label. Buy it here or here. Find more Skweee artists and links at the nationofskweee website

Augmenting the Mouse with Pressure Sensitive Input

With a uni-pressure and dual-pressure augmented mouse, users have additional functional control. Two or more pressure sensors can be used in tandem. As always I’d like to see this principle applied in a music environment, current/future applications or perhaps even hardware instruments.

John Cage Performance On TV Game Show

Found via the excellent wfmu blog, John Cage performs ‘Water Walks’ on a panel game show called I’ve Got a Secret in January 1960.

I’ll Be Your Dog

I watched a night in with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on TV last night where they showed the Kia-Ora advert.

I hadn’t realised the song came after the advert! In fact I never realised the song exsisted until years after the advert. Thought I would dig out my copy and share. It was released by Caramba called Fedora (I’ll Be Your Dog)

Radiophonic Workshop

Some goodies from the Radiophonic Workshop, firstly the link to Alchemists of Sound documentary posted in the forums back in Novemeber 2005.

A documentary called Electric Music Machine I found on youtube. I found some information on it a while ago (when I first started this post) but I can’t find the source anymore…

This fly-on-the-wall documentary about five days in the life of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop has a slightly odd history. It was conceived not as a broadcast programme, but as a straight-to-video release, and was originally titled “Opus 10259” (because the Workshop had worked on 10,259 projects by that point).

Filming took place in early 1985, but then the idea of releasing it as a sell-through video was dropped. Everything went quiet for three years, and then, after some extra filming in late 1987 (the Richard Attree segments), the programme finally saw the light of day on BBC-2 at 3.05pm on Tuesday 29th March 1988 to celebrate the Workshop’s 30th anniversary. To date, that is its one and only transmission.

It’s a nice little narration-free doco that does an excellent job of presenting a snapshot of the work that was going on in the Workshop at a time when the “traditional” methods of manipulating sounds using reels of tape were beginning to be supplanted by new technologies like MIDI.

Just so that the Who fans aren’t unduly disappointed, I should point out that this documentary about the Workshop is possibly unique in that it doesn’t make any mention of Doctor Who whatsoever, although the piece that Peter Howell is seen to be working on – for a Newsnight special called “D-Day To Berlin” – sounds an awful lot like mid-80s Doctor Who incidental music, at least in its early stages.

It’s been split into five parts on youtube:


[Part 2]
[Part 3]
[Part 4]
[Part 5]

Finally a radio documentary from 1979 called Wee Have Also Sound Horses, the title a reference to Francis Bacon’s 1626 novel ‘The New Atlantis’

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