Quote for Today: Bill Bryson

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Among the many thousands of things that I have never been able to understand, one in particular stands out. That is the question of who was the first person who stood by a pile of sand and said, “You know, I bet if we took some of this and mixed it with a little potash and heated it, we could make a material that would be solid and yet transparent. We could call it glass.” Call me obtuse, but you could stand me on a beach till the end of time and never would it occur to me to try to make it into windows.

Bill Bryson

Image: Sand from the Gobi Desert © Siim Sepp with CCLicense

Quote for Today: Robert M. Pirsig

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That sounded right, and the more he thought about it the more right it sounded. Schools teach you to imitate. If you don’t imitate what the teacher wants you get a bad grade. Here, in college, it was more sophisticated, of course; you were supposed to imitate the teacher in such a way as to convince the teacher you were not imitating, but taking the essence of the instruction and going ahead with it on your own. That got you A’s. Originality on the other hand could get you anything – from A to F. The whole grading system cautioned against it.
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Image: Conformity © Caleb Roenigk with CCLicense

Acoustic Dance Music: Experimentation and the Indigenous in Olive Tree Dance’s Airport Tunnel

Olive Tree Dance is a Portuguese band who fuse Australian aboriginal music, Afro-Brazilian music and contemporary dance music to create something quite unique. Their style has been dubbed bio-natural for its use of acoustic, particularly indigenous, instruments to imitate the sounds of the electronic machines used to to produce most contemporary dance/club music. The group consists of founder Renato Oliveira (didgeridoo), Hugo Danin (drums) and Magupi (percussion).

The video above, Airport Tunnel, is a treat, with animations in the style of aboriginal Australian art and raucous and fun music. It must have taken a long time to draw each frame one by one, but the results are clearly worth it. The band has dedicated Airport Tunnel, with its impish message about the futility of banning music, to street musicians and buskers of all kinds everywhere.

© Noel Feans with CCLicense

© Noel Feans with CCLicense

Video via OLIVETREEdance on YouTube.

Production and Storyboard by Oliver (Renato Oliveira) and Direction by Vitor Hugo.

Tree Music: Works of Diego Stocco

Diego Stocco is a Italian composer, music sound designer and performer who combines the electronic with the natural. In other words, he is right up our alley here at Synkroniciti. You may have heard his work in the films Chernobyl DiariesTakersSherlock HolmesCrank and Into The Blue; the television shows The TudorsMoonlight and Sleeper Cell; or the video games Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry Instincts and The Conduit.

© ragesoss with CCLicense

© ragesoss with CCLicense

His many projects have included an orchestra of custom instruments, a duet for leaves and turntable, works for dismantled piano, explorations of rain and wind, and improvisations on a trash bin, a plate, and, in the playful video below entitled Music from a Bonsai, on a very small tree. You may be surprised that none of the sounds in this video are produced on a synthesizer. Instead, Stocco uses high end microphones to record and amplify the sounds he makes on the tree. His tools include bows from stringed instruments, a piano hammer and a paintbrush. This particular tree is a bonsai, which means that it has been miniaturized by potting and pruning. The art of bonsai was first invented in ancient China and reached its height in Japan where it has been practiced for the past 1000 years.

It looks as if the bonsai tree was a very good sport about all of this!

Wind Light Trees and Piano features a more impressionist side of Stocco’s work. It was inspired by heavy winds in the trees near his home and includes the sounds of nature combined with those of his dismantled piano and a wind chime. Mesmerizing.

Videos via Diego Stocco on Vimeo. For more from this fascinating and intrepid artist, please check out his website.

Cool Noise: Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories and Giorgio Moroder

© CarlosMatallanaDiaz with CCLicense

© CarlosMatallanaDiaz with CCLicense

Daft Punk became popular in the 1990s and is credited with some of the biggest hits of the French house music scene, including Phoenix and Rollin’ and Scratchin’. Audiences in the United States probably know them best for One More Time. The electronic music duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter is known for its theatrical showmanship as well as its musical virtuosity, performing in iconic android costumes featuring helmets that are the epitome of cool. Their shows also feature impressive lighting displays and strong visual and story-telling elements.

It has been a few years since Daft Punk produced an album, but their newest offering, Random Access Memories, becomes available May 21st. This album is creating some exciting buzz as Daft Punk, in partnership with The Creator’s Project, has collaborated with famous electronic musicians to create something new, often hearkening back to previous decades and to more acoustic music. This is a great example of crossing genres to find new styles. I can’t wait to hear what they have cooked up! Here is a little taste, featuring robots in the desert, something that Synkroniciti wholeheartedly embraces.

Video via PoufyGB on YouTube.

The next video, the first of a series produced by The Creator’s Project about the new album, is an interview with award winning producer and electronic musician Giorgio Moroder, famous for his work with many recording artists, including disco hits with Donna Summer, and for his film scores, which include Midnight Express, Flashdance, Scarface and Top Gun. Listen to him tell you about how he first met the synthesizer and how he and Donna Summer created hits like Love to Love You, Baby. He is among the collaborators that Daft Punk selected for Random Access Memories and he has a great deal of praise for the work and its creators. So much coolness in one place!

Video via CreatorsProject on YouTube.