Music

John Carpenter’s First Music Memory.

A couple weeks ago Device pushed out to Vimeo a wonderful little animated short.  The film is narrated by John Carpenter, as he explains his first music memory. The animation is really nice with great transitions between the scenes using the current frame to morph into the next scene as the story unfolds. The limited color palette and subtle textures help to frame the narrative as it unfolds, with all of it drawing you in and holding you captive for a minute and a half. Great stuff, and like all good stories it got me to thinking about my first music memory. I was sitting in my bedroom upstairs with the window open, and my mom was playing Harry Belafonte singing “Midnight Special” on the record player in her studio. The studio window was open and the sound just floated out across the yard

I was sitting in my bedroom upstairs with the window open, and my mom was playing Harry Belafonte singing “Midnight Special” on the record player in her studio. The studio window was open and the sound just floated out across the yard and upstairs. It was summer. It was warm, and I was sitting in the sunlight on the floor playing with Lego. I was 3 or maybe 4. I hadn’t started Kindergarten yet, so I know I was younger than 5. I know I heard music before that, but this is the first time that the total experience stuck with me and permanently burned into my memory.

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Behold The Shape of Sound.

Right now the only stereo system I have in my house is a Polk Audio Woodbourne system and it does a great job filling my smallish house with music streamed from my phone or tablet. I like it because it looks amazing, has a small footprint, good quality audio output, and only one cord. I hate wires. The thing is, I think I’m going to have to start saving for an upgrade because I just saw B&O’s BeoSound Shape, and I’m in love with the design of it. I haven’t heard it, I haven’t seen it in person, but the photos and the video look pretty slick.

 

 

BeoSound Shape is the design-driven solution to the prevailing issue of poor room acoustics in open multifunctional spaces. The damper tiles absorb sound waves rather than reflecting them, which not only improves your music experience but also actively improves the entire acoustic atmosphere in the room even when the system is switched off.

At the heart of the system are BeoSound Core, a connectivity hub hidden in one of the tiles that have the hardware for AirPlay, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, and Bluetooth 4.1, and support for Bang & Olufsen’s very own BeoLink system. The BeoSound Core also has wired inputs for Ethernet or line-in functionality, although the primary focus is on wireless streaming. A base kit starts at roughly $4,266 and includes eight tiles which include four speakers, two sound-absorbing acoustic dampeners, one amplifier, and one housing for the Core. The system is expandable up to 11 amplifier units each of which can support four speaker tiles, for a total of 44 if you need to fill a larger space.

Is it a good value for the money? Probably not. I know for a fact that for 4500 bucks you could pit together a sound system that blows this away, but that isn’t why I am interested. I want this because it doesn’t look like a stereo. Because there are endless custom configurations. And because my old broken down ears aren’t going to be able to hear that much of a perceivable difference. I really love the concept, and execution of this.

 

 

Selling Genesis Cars With Deep Purple.

I really like this video telling the story of how Deep Purple came to write their epic hit “Smoke on the Water”. Maybe it’s because it is one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar. The video has a great look to it and the story is compelling enough to draw you in and keep you engaged until the end. What I don’t get is why the marketing team for Genesis cars thought this would be solid advertising for them. There is no connection between the band, the song, the story or the car. There isn’t even a car in the story, so who thought this was a good way to sell cars? At the end of the video there is the tag line “Inspired by Genesis”. Are they trying to say our cars are so great they are like a casino burning to the ground at the end of a Frank Zappa concert? It just seems like it is the wrong message. This kind of reminds me of Disney using Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life” to advertise family cruises, or Lee Jeans using Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Senator’s Son” to sell jeans without actually listening to the lyrics in the songs.

Perhaps the marketing department was looking for a long shot and thought if enough people talk about the fact that this makes no sense we will actually move some automobiles. Maybe someone at Genesis is a huge Deep Purple fan.  Great video though. Solid story, great animation, nice look from rom Great Big Story.

 

Ross Garfield – Drum Doctor.

Music really is a collaborative process. Even a solo artist, playing a song they wrote is collaborating with the person that built the instrument they are playing in a way. The video below is a five minute mini documentary from Media Bird is about “The Drum Doctor”Ross Garfield. This is a compelling little short that shows how this man has helped shape the sound of more recordings then you can imagine. You might not think of drum kits having a specific sound, but they do, and Garfield tells you why. If you want to see just how many people this guy has worked with, go to his Facebook page. It’s pretty damn amazing.

 

CARE

Just under a week ago, Paris was rocked for the second time in less than year by senseless terrorist attacks. Over the last 6 days the news has been filled with more information about the attacks, and the possibility of more. In times like these it is often hard to imagine how much good is going on in the world, but occasionally we get reminded of it. Today I was looking around for visual inspiration for a new project I am starting when I came across this animated short by Hue&Cry for CARE. The animation is fantastic, the script and narration filled with hope, as it tells the story of how CARE started and evolved over the last 70 years.

It’s always tough to tell a brand’s story. It’s even tougher when the story spans 70 years of evolution and progress. But the toughest part about telling this story was truly honoring one of the oldest and greatest humanitarian foundations on the globe.’Power of a Box’ touches on the history, the evolution and the sheer scope of the work that the CARE Foundation has been delivering since the first half of last century, an effort that has improved the lives of a billion people in 90 countries around the world.

Then we took it another step. The core message and visuals of ’Power of a Box’ have been translated to an additional :30 and :15, as well as print, digital and social medias to create a new campaign for CARE. Our hope is that an organization that was at one point the ‘go to’ for humanitarian contribution will again become a house hold name that people know and trust, and we look forward to continuing to push their message and help them deliver lasting change.

Written and Directed by Hue&Cry
Original Music and Sound Design by Antfood
Narrated by Matt Dillon

Lead Belly.

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Boston based design firm Visual Dialogue has designed the art for the new Lead Belly box set. Similar to their work for the Woody Guthrie box set “Woody at 100” the design work here captures the enigma that epitomizes Huddie Ledbetter – better known as Lead Belly. There is a wonderful blend of typography and vintage photos of the artist, along with letters written by the artist and images of the original releases. Working closely with the Smithsonian Institutes Folkways label, Visual Dialogue has created a definitive box set featuring 108 songs on five discs. While digital music has made a huge dent in the sale of records and CD’s, it is this kind of design work that keeps me coming back to buy physical products.

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“California Inspires Me”.

Here is a nice way to start your post holiday week. An animated short by  featuring Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. The piece is called “California Inspires Me” and has some really solid animation and illustration work going on. The piece is deceptively simple with black line art over flat colored backgrounds, but the flow and rhythm is so solid. What a really nice little short.