Design Observer Podcast: “What Design Sounds Like”

Design Observer Podcast: “What Design Sounds Like”

In the new Design Observer podcast, The Observatory, Jessica Helfand and Michael Beirut discuss highlights from the “What Design Sounds Like” symposium. My contribution was “Dancing About Architecture” – the interplay between sound, architecture, composition and meaning. I spoke and spun J.S.Bach, AC/DC and FKA Twigs. I think it made sense. Other stories include: • It’s Nice That’s Rob Alderson on TED and Design Indaba • Roy Choi • Sindiso Khumalo • Interactive videos by Yoni Bloch: Like a Rolling Stone; Pretend to Be Happy • The Christmas party scene from Kramer vs. Kramer • CBC on Spocking the Canadian $5 bill Bonus: Check out Lena Dunham’s concept for a graphic design web series featuring Jessica and...
“What Design Sounds Like” – A Design Observer Symposium

“What Design Sounds Like” – A Design Observer Symposium

I’ll be doing this on Saturday. Amazing lineup. I’m honored to have been included. My contribution is “Dancing About Architecture” – the interplay between sound, architecture, composition and meaning. I’ll be talking, playing, and spinning J.S. Bach, AC/DC and FKA Twigs. Despite that, I’m fairly sure it will make sense. The SVA Theatre is located at 333 W. 23rd street, between 8th and 9th avenues. Directions can be found at svatheatre.com tix: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/what-design-sounds-like-tickets… Tweets at ‪#‎WDSL‬ For more about Design Observer:...
The dying art of the last song on the also-dying art of the “album.”

The dying art of the last song on the also-dying art of the “album.”

Plus: A 59-song playlist of happy(-ish) endings. [This is an excerpt from “Hi. I’m Your Songwriting Professor,” from the ongoing story series “The Solo Show,” by Mike Errico, on Cuepoint.] “…I love the last songs on albums, the ones where the agendas and obligations lift like the dampers of the piano, allowing all creative strings to vibrate at once. This is when the artists reveal themselves, tell their inside jokes, and foreshadow their ambitions. I know that the whole idea of an “album” always was a construct — once upon a time, album length was determined by the amount of music a graphite disc could hold — and if that construct disappears completely, no one will even know what I’m talking about. There won’t be “last songs,” there will only be “unpopular” ones. UnPop music. Maybe that’s what I like.” Check out the rest of the article here: The dying art of the last song on the also-dying art of the “album.” And see what I’m talking about with this playlist of last songs from “albums”...
Hi. I’m Your Songwriting Professor.

Hi. I’m Your Songwriting Professor.

“Hi. I’m Your Songwriting Professor.” “Don’t throw your guitar down the staircase and tell me you’ve written a new song, because the artist in me will agree. The problem is only that there is no criteria by which I can inform or instruct you on that impulse, so that would be an example of something that falls outside the scope of the course. Informally, perhaps over a crisp ginger ale, could we talk about whether the staircase should’ve been carpeted? Or whether it’s a sonic metaphor of 20th-century iconography colliding with the noble architecture of the Federalist style? Could we title it something snappy like, “The Wisdom of the Staircase,” or “Soundtrack to ‘Nude Descending a Staircase’”? Oh, sure. I have all day for stuff like that. I am, after all, the one who assigned a book of blank pages.” Hi. I’m Your Songwriting Professor. BONUS: Last Songs on “Albums” Playlist “The real truth is that I love the last songs on albums, the ones where the agendas and obligations lift like the dampers of the piano, allowing all creative strings to vibrate at once. This is when the artists reveal themselves, tell their inside jokes, and foreshadow their ambitions.” – From “Hi. I’m Your Songwriting...

Dear Jack Conte, I’m Sorry No One Read Your Article Correctly

I don’t get into inside baseball here, but saw something that needed to be said, so I said it. Jack Conte from Pomplamoose recently wrote an article where he outlined his tour budget, concluding with the fact that, although the tour was successful on many levels, they lost money. It seems everyone jumped on one of two bandwagons: that music is dying, dying dead and all is lost and here’s the proof; and that if Pomplamoose can’t figure out how to create an accurate tour budget, they’re just idiots. The Internets took a-hold to these narratives, and added one – that it was a secret cover up to promote Conte’s startup, Patreon, or something – and the Echo Chamber took off, bouncing this horse hockey from URL to URL. Usually I’d watch the ping-pong match and shrug, but this annoyed me, because Conte was very clear in the management of his expectations. He invested in the show he wants to stage – and investment is very different than a loss. In the same way KISS could have saved a buck by cutting back on the blood packs (but didn’t), a larger concept was at work. I was shocked that no one seemed to read this with an eye toward self-actualizing artist development. Key being “self-actualizing,” because in a world with diminishing label development, self-reliance is the gold standard – not asking for permission, and doing what you have to do to create the art you want/need to create. So, it bugged me. So, I wrote something. Here it is. Dear Jack Conte, I’m Sorry No One Read Your Article...
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