Music is getting worse, unless of course it isn’t

Complaining about pop music is probably the safest form of musical clickbait imaginable. After all, who isn’t annoyed by at least some earworm, some teeny-bopper celeb? If you long for still more of that, we have another white guy shouting at a camera about it – and, to be fair, some of this is reasonably funny. There’s just one problem: is the argument that music is getting progressively worse actually true – or even asking the most relevant questions?


Hear a Robot Read A Christmas Carol on iPod, and More Holiday Cheer

The above awesomeness: a Minifig Christmas Carol, via Flickr. IVO Software, a Polish company that develops text-to-speech software, have announced they’re making a free PDF of A Christmas Carol available for download on their site. The idea is, you take this PDF, then unleash their Expressivo text-to-speech tool on it. Sure, every actor from Patrick Stewart to Jim Dale to … well, just about anybody who’s anybody with an English accent has read the story. But now you get it in the somewhat robotic monotone of “Jennifer”, an American, synthesized voice. Jennifer has won awards and rave review, but let’s …


Robotic Guitars, Lyrics as Art Installation

A beautiful art installation; pray they’re not programmed to play Stairway to Heaven. Saadane Afif’s Power Chords, view of the installation at the Lyon Biennial 2005. Image by Galerie Michel Rein. Maybe it’s something about music making in the digital age, the alienation of music technology. Or maybe there’s just something fun about mechanical objects making sound on their own. Whatever it is, artists lately have been fascinated by mechanical instruments. Here’s yet another one: French artist Saadane Afif makes sometimes-chilly installations out of musical objects, like a minimalist collection of guitars and amps, strummed by mechanical apparatus, in his …