Music

Daft Punk ride cyber steeds to video game war

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Daft Punk has just released this video to promote their new Tron: Legacy soundtrack.  And let me just say: it really outdoes itself.

What’s cooler than Daft Punk wearing rhinestone-studded jackets?  Daft Punk in Tron suits.

What’s cooler than the members of Daft Punk dueling on cyber steeds? A Daft Punk joust with lightning lances.

What’s cooler than one of the Daft Punk members turning out to be the beautiful Olivia Wilde?

Nothing.

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Fan-made music video for “Shop-Vac” teems with awesome kinetic typography

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Who knew a music video could top the great kinetic typography for Ceelo’s “Fuck You”. Well, graphic artist Jarett Heather‘s fan vid for software engineer-turned indie artist Jonathon Coulton‘s song “Shop-Vac” has now taken up that mantle.

The animation deserves every praise for representing every possible action in the song’s lyrics and running with the song’s playful anti-consumerist message by picking apart commercial logos and signs.

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Mad Men theme done solely on bass

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Last month RJD2’s instrumental Mad Men theme was blended with Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy,” but this week it’s Adam Ben Ezra who is showing his skills remaking the song. Near the beginning of this all bass cover, one might think Ben Ezra is taking himself a little too seriously, but at 0:30 it’s clear he’s just having fun. His cover of “Billy Jean” is just as jazzy and catchy as this and over on his website there’s a small collection of tunes perfect for lounging and sipping whisky smashes.

As far as RJD2’s goes, if all you know of him is the short sample of his work Mad Men uses, you are doing yourself a grave travesty. His 2002 album Deadringer was one of the best of that year, and every album since then has been nearly as good.

Listen to some RJD2.

Catch him live.

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“Sunlight, Heaven”–Julianna Barwick–Records Under the Radar

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The music of Julianna Barwick is nearly wordless; it is composed almost entirely of her non-verbal vocalizations. She sings and then loops her own voice, over and over, slowly building the song from scratch. It is reminiscent of hymns, of monks chanting, of reverberations in a cave. Her voice is beautiful: it can be keening or round and clear as a bell. She often uses a variety of vocal tones, sampled and layered atop one another, to construct her compositions.

The tracks comprising Barwick’s debut EP, Florine, are not “songs” in the traditional sense. There is no verse or chorus, no hook or even a readily discernible melody. Rather, it is as though each song slowly approaches the listener, initial tendrils of sound floating languidly by, and then increasing in speed and frequency, until the layering, looping sounds become a deluge. Then, after building to a peak, the song recedes, like the tide going out.

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Pogo remixes Dexter

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As if Showtime’s Dexter wasn’t creepy enough, Australian musician Pogo (Nick Bertke) has sliced and mashed the sounds of the first 4 seasons of Dexter into this haunting, yet catchy song.

Pogo, whose remixes of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and Pixar’s Up have garnered huge views on the web, is a digital artist who makes his music by creating songs using the sounds from iconic films and shows as source material. The 21-year-old Perth musician is currently on tour in the U.S.

A number of Pogo’s songs are available for download from his last.fm account.

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“For 400 Electric Guitars”–Rhys Chatham’s A Crimson Grail–Records Under the Radar

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It begins with a shimmery whisper, like an orchestra warming up before a performance.  Then, as that shimmer swells and builds in volume, the realization comes: this is the performance.  Upon first listen, perhaps the most fascinating thing is how, exactly, 400 electric guitars can make such a beautiful sound.  But one can hear the size of the group behind the tidal steadiness, the inevitability, of the music.  It ebbs and flows as an organic wall of sound.

Rhys Chatham’s A Crimson Grail came about as a natural progression of his longtime musical experiments.  Chatham cut his teeth in the early ’70s in downtown Manhattan, working first as a piano tuner for avant garde legend La Monte Young, then as a collaborator with like-minded composers such as Philip Glass and Steve Reich.  By the late 1970s he had formed a guitar trio with Glenn Brancha, which was heavily influenced by punk and the denizens of the downtown No Wave scene.  This trio was the seed of an idea that eventually saw Chatham compose for dozens, and then hundreds, of guitars, all played at once.

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“Won’t you rain your love down on me, O Lord”–The Ferocious Few–Records Under the Radar

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On stage, The Ferocious Few are just that–ferocious, a barnstorming duo viciously pummeling their instruments with a fury that belies their seemingly innocuous set-up of acoustic guitar and simple drum kit.

 Yet The Ferocious Few have a few secret weapons, the most startling of which is guitarist and singer Francisco Fernandez’s voice.  It rasps out, snarling, having apparently traveled many a long and dusty mile.  This haunting voice, which veers from a reedy, reaching tenor to a low growl, dovetails perfectly with the shredding guitar and drummer Daniel Aguilar’s galloping, relentless beats.  For his part, Aguilar assaults the drum set with anything at hand: jazz brushes, a tambourine, the palm of his open hand.  

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“I’ll prove how much I love you with this handstand.”–Records Under The Radar

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Moonface is yet another brainchild of the prolific Spencer Krug.  One half of indie stalwarts Wolf Parade, driving force behind Sunset Rubdown, and one third of Canadian “supergroup” Swan Lake, Krug has a seemingly endless creative well from which to draw.  Dreamland EP: marimba and shit-drums, his first release under the Moonface moniker, adds yet another fascinating piece to his legacy.

This cryptic project, quietly released through a dedicated website in January of 2010, is comprised of one sprawling, 20 minute track, consisting soley of Krug’s vocals and, yes, marimba and “shit-drums” (so-called because of their fidelity).  Appropriately, the lyrics to the song are surreal and dreamlike, conjuring images of  specters passing through walls and guitars made of glass.

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“I try to imitate on the piano the leaps in space a dancer makes.”–Records Under the Radar

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Cecil Taylor is a man apart. An uncompromisingly experimental musician from his earliest years, Taylor has pounded keyboards for more than 50 years. He has worked with such luminaries as Max Roach and Mikhail Baryshnikov, and performed at the White House for Jimmy Carter. Taylor is a pianist, composer, poet, and professor. He is widely credited, along with Ornette Coleman, of being a pioneer of so-called “free jazz.”

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Catchy. Fun. Mildly Offensive. Cee-lo’s new single, F**k You

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Cee-lo Green of Goodie Mob and Gnarls Barkley fame has a new single, and it’s the perfect funky, pop music to end your Friday at work and start your weekend. In fact, if you play it loud enough it will probably help you end your Friday at work a little early.

The song is from his (yet-to-be-released) Ladykiller album.

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