Tagelectronic music

The Impossible Music of Black MIDI

Michael Connor writes:

… seemingly impossible music can be found today in a group of musicians who use MIDI files (which store musical notes and timings, not unlike player piano rolls) to create compositions that feature staggering numbers of notes. They’re calling this kind of music “black MIDI,” which basically means that when you look at the music in the form of standard notation, it looks like almost solid black:

Blackened notation

Blackers take these MIDI files and run them through software such as Synesthesia, which is kind of an educational version of Guitar Hero for the piano, and bills itself as “piano for everyone.” It’s kind of brilliant to imagine a novice piano player looking for some online tutorials and stumbling across, say, this video of the song Bad Apple, which reportedly includes 8.49 million separate notes.

Full Story: Rhizome: The Impossible Music of Black MIDI

More info: Impossible Music: Blacked musical notation

This reminds me, for some reason, of the old Amiga demo scene.

Cool Ritual Music Blog: Ritualistic Nature

From the blog’s description:

The objective of this blog its to post music related with Ritual music, in traditional ethnic way or on Modern side, Ambient, Tribal, Drone, Field Recordings, Dungeon Synth etc. with a strong inspier in NATURE and is cycles.

There will be a predominance of Ritual Ambient music, a sub-genre of dark ambient.

Ritualistic Nature

New Music Video From The Knife: Full Of Fire

Not safe for work.

Recreating the Sounds of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop

Back in the 60s, before synthesizers were commercially available, the BBC Radiophonic workshop was creating electronic music and sound effects for shows like Doctor Who. The BBC has now published a set of web-based simulations of some of this equipment, using just the Web Audio API of HTML5. The code and explanations are included.

Recreating the sounds of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop using the Web Audio API

Previously: Video: Radiophonic Style Electronic Music Improv

Video: Radiophonic Style Electronic Music Improv

That’s electronic musician Atomic Shadow, using the tools of the Radiophonic Workshop trade.

(via Synthtopia)

The Soviet Synthesizer that Bridged Occultism and Electronic Music

Coil ANS cover

I have a guest post up today at Boing Boing on a subject I think will interest Technoccult readers:

You don’t play the ANS synthesizer with a keyboard. Instead you etch images onto glass sheets covered in black putty and feed them into a machine that shines light through the etchings, trigging a wide range of tones. Etchings made low on the sheets make low tones. High etchings make high tones. The sound is generated in real-time and the tempo depends on how fast you insert the sheets.

This isn’t a new Dorkbot or Maker Faire oddity. It’s a nearly forgotten Russian synthesizer designed by Evgeny Murzin in 1938. The synth was named after and dedicated to the Russian experimental composer and occultist Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin (1872–1915). The name might not mean much to you, but it illuminates a long running connection between electronic music and the occult.

You can find traces of the occult throughout the history of electronic music. The occult obsessed Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo built his own mechanical instruments around 1917. The famous Moog synthesizer made an early appearance in Mick Jagger’s soundtrack to Kenneth Anger’s occult film Invocation of My Demon Brother in 1969. And in the late 1970s Throbbing Gristle built their own electronic instruments for their occult sound experiments, setting the stage for many of the occult themed industrial bands who followed. The witch house genre keeps this tradition alive today.

It’s little the surprise otherworldly sounds and limitless possibilities of synthesizers and samplers would evoke the luminous. But there’s more to the connection. The aim of the alchemist is not just the literal synthesis of chemicals, but also synthesis in the Hegelian sense: the combination of ideas. Solve et Coagula. From the Hermetic magi of antiquity, to Aleister Crowley’s OTO to modern chaos magicians, western occultists have sought to combine traditions and customs into a single universal system of thought and practice.

Electronic music grew from similar intellectual ground, and it all started with Scriabin.

Full Story: Boing Boing: The Soviet Synthesizer that Bridged Occultism and Electronic Music

Video: Cult of Zir – “Last Buffalo”

Posters Explaining How Classic 808 Drum Sequences Were Programmed

Planet Rock 808 programming poster

A series of informative posters detailing how some of the most notable drum sequences were programmed using the Roland TR-808 Drum Machine. Each sequence has been analyzed and represented as to allow users to re-programme each sequence, key for key.

If you would like an A3 print please send a mail to shop@robricketts.co.uk and I will email you as soon as some become available.

Rob Bricketts: Program Your 808

(via Iso50 via f mass)

Cyberculture History: Electronic Music Pioneer/Soviet Spy Leon Theremin

leon theremin

Theremin saw little of the $100,000 he was paid, Glinsky says, which most likely went straight into Soviet coffers. But he stayed in the US for a while working on other projects, and engaging in industrial espionage.

“His very reason for being sent over was his espionage mission,” says Glinsky. Demonstrating the theremin instrument was just a distraction, a Trojan Horse, as it were.

“He had special access to firms like RCA, GE, Westinghouse, aviation companies and so on, and shared his latest technical know how with representatives from these companies to get them to open up to him about their latest discoveries. [...]

Later that year he returned suddenly to the Soviet Union, leaving his wife behind. Some people suggested he’d been kidnapped by Soviet officials, but Glinsky says a combination of debt and homesickness led to Theremin returning voluntarily.

He returned to a Soviet Union in the grip of Stalin’s purges. He was arrested and falsely accused of being a counter-revolutionary, for which he received an eight year sentence in 1939.

BBC: Leon Theremin: The man and the music machine

Spoek Mathambo Covers Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control” (Video by Pieter Hugo & Michael Cleary)

Spoek Mathambo’s official site.

Pieter Hugo’s official site (He’s best known for his photographs of the hyena handlers in the streets of Abuja)

Michael Cleary’s official site

(via Chris)

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