Amoeblog

BUILDING YOUR OWN MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

Posted by Billyjam, July 30, 2008 09:10am | Post a Comment

The one clear message from the always fun annual Bay Area Maker Faire a couple of months back was that we, a society weaned on consumerism, need to shake the shackles of dependency on corporations who sell us products shrewdly manufactured with a built-in obsolescence -- products whose mechanisms are deliberately made difficult to figure out.

To hell with that! We should not have to always hire others to fix our cars, fridges, vacuum cleaners, lawn-mowers, bikes, computers, etc., etc. when they (inevitably) break down.

Instead, we should learn all we can about the products we own and use daily. Furthermore, we should not only know how to fix these things when they break down but we should also know how to build our own things from scratch. DIY baby!

Of all the homemade items that people create, the most inspiring to me are homemade musical instruments created out of found parts. These can range from the most simple (an empty pork rinds bottle with a rubber band & piece of cloth tied on top as a drum) to the most intricate (an electronic keyboard built from found odds and ends).

Over the years I have seen/heard many great variations on all types of instruments, from string to wind to electric and I thought it was time to do an Amoeblog about them, drawing from videos I found on YouTube, where I even discovered an interactive thread on making your own instruments, which includes perhaps one of the most popular one among music instrument makers-- the cigar box guitar.

One is from the recent Memorial Day observed Morningside Build Your Own Instrument Day in Pittsburg, PA, featuring Jim Lingo's creative string instrument, which drew equal parts awe and amusement from those at the outdoor event. Then there is the homemade electric bass by KgldMond who built his instrument from a piece of wood, an old turntable, and a string. Finally, there is CrazyEzra's nice noise maker constructed out of a saw, a pick up and a big purple synth modulator.homemade turntable

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DAVID BYRNE'S FREE NYC "PLAYING THE BUILDING" INSTALLATION

Posted by Billyjam, July 29, 2008 07:05am | Post a Comment
     David Byrne's Playing The Building installation, NYC

LA and San Francisco may be offering a lot of really good free entertainment this summer, but New York City tops both of them with a richly varied, non-stop offering of entertainment to choose from all summer long: much of it stuff that you would happily pay to see, from great concerts to cool exhibits. Topping this list is David Byrne's Playing The Building (Friday, Saturday, Sunday Noon to 6PM) at the Battery Maritime Building (10 South St.), which has been extended through August 24th. If you are making a visit to NYC by then, make time in your schedule to include this hands-on sound exhibit.

As explained by the former Talking Heads member in the video below, the idea for this unique installation came about after he realized that you "could turn the space into a musical instrument by attaching machines to the various parts of the structure." In conjunction with the wonderful NYC arts group Creative Time, who specialize in transforming soon to be demolished or restructured old city buildings into cool art spaces for their final days, Byrne took over this lower Manhattan decades-abandoned ferry terminal (soon to be remodeled) and turned it into a giant musical instrument.

Byrne and company painstakingly created this giant musical instrument by hooking up a series of sound-generating gizmos, strategically positioned throughout the empty cavernous old ferry building, and connecting them, via long cables, draped down and across the ceiling and back down to the keys on an old organ (the only thing on display in the otherwise completely empty building), which in turn causes the whole building to vibrate and resonate into a myriad of hypnotic noises/sounds. Fun!

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SAN FRANCISCO'S LATE 70's PUNK SCENE BY BRUCE CONNER (RIP)

Posted by Billyjam, July 26, 2008 05:14am | Post a Comment
Bruce Connor collection @ BAM/PFA
There is just a week left to catch the recommended BAM/PFA (Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive) photo exhibit by Bruce Conner, who sadly passed three weeks ago In San Francisco, reportedly from a liver ailment. The exhibit focuses on the one year period in the late seventies (77-78) Conner spent taking photos of both punk bands and punk fans at the infamous West Coast punk palace the Mabuhay Gardens (aka "The Fab Mab" -- the dismal failing Filipino supper club that would be saved/immortalized by punk rock) on Broadway in San Francisco.

The fifty three Bruce Conner photos on display at the BAM/PFA, which act as an excellent historic overview of the early SF punk scene, include wonderful action shots of bands and artists including Frankie Fix of Crime, the Mutants, Penelope Houston of The Avengers, and Negative Trend's Will Shatter (who later went on to form Flipper).

Multi media artist Bruce Conner, who the curators at BAM/PFA aptly describe as  "a proto-punk provocateur who scavenged cultural waste to construct his assemblages," ended up doing the photo series by mere coincidence. In the late 70s, Conner was 44 years of age and an established avant-garde artist who created film mash-ups from a mixed bag of found sources and whose rich legacy dated back to the SF 1950's Beat scene. While attending Devo's first ever San Francisco show in 1977, Conner crossed paths with V. Vale, now the publisher of RE/Search magazine, who was about to launch the seminal punk zine Search & Destroy

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BILLY JAM'S WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 07:25:08

Posted by Billyjam, July 25, 2008 09:22am | Post a Comment

HOLLYWOOD AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP TOP FIVE:

1) Nas Untitled (Def Jam)

2) Immortal Technique The 3rd World (Viper)

3) Lil Wayne Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal)

4) Suga Free Smell My Finger (HMF/Warner)

5) Jean Gray + 9th Wonder Jeanius (Blacksmith/Warner)

Thanks to Scott Carlson in the hip-hop department at Amoeba Music Hollywood for this week's top selling albums chart, which includes in the number three slot the brand new release from SoCal's Suga Free, Smell My Finger, which dropped earlier this week. 

Lil Wayne's hot selling new album (#3 on Amoeba chart) has caught the attention of Abkco Music who are suing the rapper, his songwriters, and his label (Cash Money - a division of Universal) for "copyright infringement and unfair competition" over a new Lil Wayne album track that appears to heavily borrow from the Rolling Stones song "Play With Fire" which they own rights to. 

SF rapper Z-Man's group One Block Radius (the alt rock trio he is  a part of when not doing solo stuff or with his Gurp City familia) have signed to Def Jam. The Cali based One Block Radius accurately describe their unique, pop-ready sound as "Pharcyde meets Steve Winwood meets Sublime meets Outkast meets Hall and Oates" and drop their major label debut in September.

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BAY AREA HIP-HOP ARCHIVES, PART II: DECEMBER 1994

Posted by Billyjam, July 24, 2008 08:35am | Post a Comment
RBL Posse
1) RBL Posse - Ruthless By Law
2) Spice 1 - Amerikkka's Nightmare
3) Lil Ri - Deep N Tha Game
4) West Coast Bad Boyz - High Fo' Xmas
5) Dru Down - Explicit Game
6) Goldy - In The Land of Funk
7) D-Moe - Do You Feel Me
8) Young Rich The Factor - Gettin' A Grip
9) V/A - West Coast Bad Boyz
10) Young Joker - Who's Laughin At Cha

11) C-Bo - Gas Chamber
12) A.M.W. - The Real Mobb
13) Rappin 4-Tay - Don't Fight The Feeling
14) Paris - Guerilla Funk
15) Fly Mar - Ya Betta Ask Somebody
16) Ray Luv - Last Nite                                  
17) Rondo & Crazy Rak - The Abused
18) Roots From The Underground                  
19) GLP - Straight Out The Labb
20) Hugh EMC - The M.O.B.

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