Music Tech History Day: Inside BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and Delia’s Lampshade

The UK electronic music scene lost its pioneer Tristram Cary this week, so it’s the perfect time to look back again at the marvels of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Low-budget but long-running Doctor Who is unlikely to be remembered for breaking new ground in, say, fancy props, sets, or visual effects (though they did plenty with what they had). But when it comes to sound and music, the BBC’s DIY approach to sound, ranging from Who to "serious" classical music (even my composition teacher Thea Musgrave worked there) remains significant today. The BBC is again offering a look inside the …

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Bent Music Appears, Awkwardly, On Local TV – Film at 11

Something strange is happening on local affiliate news programs across the country: Circuit benders and other weirdo musicians are being asked to drop by and discuss their art for the American Public. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d be a little confused and freaked out if I woke up and saw this first thing in the morning (and I lived in Ohio): And it’s not just Dan Deacon. Dynamic duo Beatrix*Jar had a similarly awkward experience. There’s something strange about what’s going on here. The news people conducting the interviews are are genuinely enthusiastic, but there’s …

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Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy Powered by Ableton Live

And the answer is … this real-time music production software is used for instantaneous sound effects and music clips needed in the fast-paced world of two popular game questions. What is … Ableton Live? Veteran sound pro Barbara Hagan describes to Ableton.com how she works with both programs: Now I have two computers with Live; one is my main computer (new MacBook with 2.16 processor), and one is a back up (G4 PowerBook). I currently use Live on both computers, and I’m constantly busy building cues during two days of taping, six shows a day, on Wheel of Fortune, five …

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Visualism at South by Southwest, Plus a Vintage Viditar Video

If you’re in Austin for South by Southwest Interactive, you’ll want to duck out of the parade of open bars Web companies are offering and check out some of the live music and visualism happening. Saturday night, I’m judging a laptop battle as CDMotion contributor Dan Winckler is the evening’s VJ. Monday, as proem, Lila’s Medicine, and I play music, we’ll have a live visual lineup courtesy Jay Smith of Livid Instruments. AMODA Showcase + Laptop Battle [AMODA] = $4-7, or free with SxSWi badge CDM Music + Motion Party [Upcoming.org; also on Facebook] = Free, no badge needed SxSW …

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Bill Milbrodt Talks More About Ford Focus Car Part Music Ensemble

Advertising, having devoted decades to building elaborate fantasies, now has a new problem: making things seem real and believable. But that’s nothing new to people doing sound design: tiny details of sync, spatialization, and content can trick the mind into different perceptions of what they’re seeing and hearing. The release of a TV ad showing a music ensemble made from Ford parts triggered waves of skepticism online, partly because the ad’s producers and director wanted the composer and instrument builders to make a car part ensemble that sounded quasi-Classical — rather than pushing its “car-partiness.” Singapore-based blog fanatic fandom has …

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Projection Inspiration: BBC Researches Projecting in Surround

The picture says it all. BBC Research & Innovation is considering presenting video in surround. Just as audio surround assumes a still-central source, enhanced by additional material in the 360-degree audio field, the idea here is to capture ambient visuals using a fish-eye lens and then project that beyond the screen. Of course, whatever the (uh, dubious, potentially) practical applications of such technology, there are plenty of compelling directions this could lead VJs. In general, the ability to control more of the environment and break out of the rectangular frame helps live visuals and installations. And there are other consumer, …

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Yes, Virginia, There Really is a Ford Car Part Musical Ensemble

It’s always fascinating to me how people hear, what they thing of as “real” or “authentic,” and what meaning they find in the things they listen to. Yesterday, we got a glimpse of a new car advertisement for Ford in the UK featuring instruments constructed from automobile components: Interview: Building a Musical Ensemble Out of Ford Focus Car Parts What you see on the screen, of course, is not literally what you hear — the TV ad and soundtrack are edited together, and this is a car ad, not a documentary. But quite a few readers (and even blogs elsewhere) …

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