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Massive trove of over 300 boomboxes for sale—only $14,000
07.27.2016
09:08 am

Topics:
Hip-hop
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
ghettoblaster
boom box


 
Boomboxes are kind of an of-a-certain-age thing, but if you were sentient in between the mid ‘70s and early ’90s, they were as common as stereo consoles and component systems. “Portable,” technically, inasmuch as they took batteries and weren’t literally furniture, they were huge, cumbersome radio/cassette deck combos with large stereo speakers. The classic stereotypes associated with the things were mulletted suburban rock ‘n’ roll scumbags tailgating with boomboxes in the trunks of their cars playing music at hateful and disruptive volumes, either oblivious to or give-a-fuckless about the public nuisance they were creating, or soul/disco/hip-hop fans with massive afros, strutting down crowded city streets with boomboxes on their shoulders playing music at hateful and disruptive volumes, either oblivious to or give-a-fuckless about the public nuisance they were creating. Their total ubiquity in breakdance culture (owing to their portability, naturally) led to the unfortunate and highly problematic nickname “ghettoblasters.”

By the late ’80s, a boombox could have as many features as a stereo component system—sophisticated EQs, detatchable speakers, dual cassette decks for dubbing (HOME TAPING IS KILLING MUSIC, YOU GUYS), even remotes. By the early ‘90s, when the boxy metal units were phased out in favor of less distinctive (and way less awesome) rounded black plastic ones with CD players, they often even replaced consoles as home stereos of choice for many listeners as cassettes grew in popularity over vinyl. And those feature-loaded boxy metal ones are the models that have, in the internet era of ever-increasing granularity in collecting, developed a cult.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Jack White wants to be the first person to play a record in outer space
07.20.2016
12:51 pm

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
Jack White


 
Yesterday Jack White’s Third Man Records dropped a cryptic video on its Facebook presence, in which it promised to make “vinyl history again” on “July 30th.”

In 2014 White set a kind of land speed record on Record Store Day when he recorded, pressed and distributed the title track of his second album Lazaretto in under four hours.

The Vinyl Factory believes that the project could be the realization of White’s long-standing goal to be the first to play a vinyl record in outer space.

In the video, a Star Wars-like caption states “On 30th July Third Man Records is going to make vinyl history again,” after which followed by a gold record bearing a label of Carl Sagan’s “A Glorious Dawn,” released as a seven-inch by Third Man in 2009, zips towards the viewer.

As The Vinyl Factory pointed out, in 2012 White spoke to astronaut Buzz Aldrin for Interview Magazine. During the chat, White discussed the breakup of the White Stripes and also divulged that he was working on a “secret project” to get one of the songs on Third Man Records to be the “first vinyl record played in outer space”.

White’s concept at that time was “to launch a balloon that carries a vinyl record player. And figure out a way to drop the needle with all that turbulence up there and ensure that it will still play.”

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
64 floppy disk drives flawlessly perform the ‘Game of Thrones’ theme song
07.14.2016
03:51 pm

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech
Television

Tags:
Game of Thrones


 
A Polish gentleman by the name of Paweł Zadrożniak has been posting videos on YouTube of sync’d-up floppy drives following a pre-arranged sequence of commands that collectively create music. He’s posted the “Imperial March” from Star Wars, as well as “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

The one that caught my fancy today, however, was the theme song from Game of Thrones.

Warning: Listening to this will make you want to watch the show, and it’s going to be like a year before there’s new episodes, so proceed with caution!
 

 
via Nerdcore

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
People face-swapping with their own tattoos = high-test nightmare fuel
07.13.2016
08:32 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Science/Tech

Tags:
tattoos
Face Swap
Snapchat


 
The Face Swap filter on the Snapchat smartphone app does exactly what it says on the box—exchanges two faces within a photo, or with a face in another photo in your phone’s picture library, all within the app, no need for any image editing experience. For an automated photo filter for phones, it can actually do a decent enough job, and the results are invariably highly weirding. Even if you don’t use Snapchat you’ve surely seen the filter’s output on your Facebook feed. It’s mostly goofy fun for normals—Snapchat is, after all, a social media platform based entirely around selfies—but I’ve seen it done creatively and disturbingly with pets, toys, and amusingly, inanimate objects the app has mistaken for a face.

But the most messed up expression of the fad yet has to be people face-swapping with their own tattoos, and the more rudimentary, abstract, or just plain bad the tattoo, it seems, the crazier the result. The pics below were culled from features on tattoodo and inkedmag, where you’ll find more like this.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Yes, that’s an owl theremin, why do you ask?
07.11.2016
01:08 pm

Topics:
Animals
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
owl theremin


 
David Cranmer is a sculptor but it might be more accurate to think of him as a mechanical engineer of some sort. Most of his whimsical creations are actually contraptions of some sort, and many have a musical element.

In 2013 he was commissioned to do an owl theremin, so that is what he did. It is pretty much just a regular theremin with an owl statue on top. I was hoping that somehow the owl would be tethered to the theremin and the movements of the owl would create sounds. But when you stop to think about it, that’s a pretty stupid idea, owls hardly move around anyway.

In addition to this Cranmer has also created the “Badgermin” (a taxidemied badger with a theremin inside), a programmable musical pig, and a pointless but amusing mechanical duck sculpture. He also designed the enormous locomotive stage element for AC/DC‘s Black Ice World Tour a few years ago.

I love the detail of the scrupulous and deadpan knob label “ACTIVATE OWL” on the control panel.

If you’d like your own custom-made animal-theremin, Cranmer is available for commissions. You can contact him via his website.  
 

 

 

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Grand Theft Auto vs COSMOS: Carl Sagan’s narration over GTA scenes is actually pretty amazing


 
An Irish YouTube user by the name of Duggy uses the Editor function in Grand Theft Auto V to create his own short video works, or as he puts it, “I attempt to put scenes from my head onto GTA’s world.” His most successful pieces are three shorts, created over the course of the last year, that drop GTA scenes under Carl Sagan’s narration from the original 1980 mini-series Cosmos.

These work surprisingly well, and probably not in the way you might be thinking—rather than relying on a collision of Sagan’s optimistic, wonder-filled exposition against the game’s notorious violence to achieve a cheap, ironic laugh, Duggy plays these straight, and the results are actually quite poignant! So yes, some of their effectiveness derives from a holy-shit-this-is-from-GTA frisson, there’s a bit more more going on than that.

I’d love to see some of these with voice-overs from the 2014 series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Exiles in Düsseldorf: Austrian TV special on Kraftwerk, 1981
06.24.2016
01:51 pm

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech
Television

Tags:
Kraftwerk


 
This documentary appeared on the Austrian TV station ORF in 1981, pretty clearly to coincide with the release of Computer World.

The special mixes Kraftwerk performing in front of an audience, what we would today call “music videos” that use some excellent documentary footage of missile launches and things like that, and footage of Ralf Hütter being interviewed by someone off-camera.

In pure technological mode, Ralf emphasizes the isolation of working so hard on Kraftwerk material in the studio for years on the new album, and is prompted to say a few things about the future of technology, most of which are a bit silly. The interviewer has an Austrian accent.

I’ve supplied a translation below. It’s rough but should give an accurate impression of what was said. I unfortunately couldn’t quite make out the intriguing final question, which has something to do with Kraftwerk entering people’s bloodstreams(?) or something like that. If there are any native German speakers out there reading this, I’d love it if you would chime in below and clarify what he was saying there (or make any other suggestions to the translation).
 

Ralf: “We are playing the entire Kling Klang Studio in concert. We have all of our instruments, some of which we invented ourselves and built music machines. You can’t just go into a shop and just say, “this thing or that thing.” We had to make it ourselves, and that took a long time. We construct them always ourselves, with the help of another friend, who is a sound engineer or a music engineer, he helps us and we make the whole thing ourselves. It took three years before we were able to play again. In part it is pre-programmed, but on the other hand we have access to the memory of the computer, and we can change it while it’s running. Mostly we make rhythmic programs or also melodic things that run throughout, automated.

Ralf: We feel, for example, lots of streams of energy, that come back to us from people. We are always in the studio, so are concentrating on ourselves more.

Question: Is “Radio-Aktivitat” actually an atomic-power song?
Ralf: Yes, you could definitely say that.

Ralf: Yes, for us it was more a problem of how to make music at all in the Federal Republic of Germany, or so, after the war, where the living music, everyday music had disappeared, had been extinguished. And our generation had to start from scratch, to live somehow in this purely quiet situation, to make music not so much from natural things in the countryside but were influenced more by cities and machines, and reflected those things, and maybe some time passed, the time of so-called pop music, where we had more free time, we took up certain things, more about work processes and big-city situations, display windows and robots.

Question: Is that a form of interpretation, that showroom dummies speak?
Ralf: It’s a part of our existence. We stand around and we put ourselves on display. We are showroom dummies. That is a part of our reality.

Question: How do you see yourselves when you are at work, as musicians or as technicians? 
Ralf: We are music workers. We call ourselves music workers.

Ralf: For ten years we’ve been working together, with this group in Düsseldorf, and outsiders can’t even work with us or speak our language — let’s say, our thoughts, they can’t implement our world of thoughts. So it’s more like an encounter or friendship.

Question: Do you feel yourselves to be somewhat isolated?
Ralf: Yes, we are exiles in Düsseldorf on the Rhine.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Holy shit, Converse is making a wearable wah-wah pedal


 
In a huge, forehead-slappy piece of holy-shit-why-has-this-not-been-done-before news, there are now Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers with built-in wah pedals—no external hardware, just move your foot and voila, psychedelia. The concept goes back a few years, to a “Chuck Hack” event, when the design firm Critical Mass unveiled a prototype. That version was wired—you had to plug the shoe in, as the videos below will show. Since then, CuteCircuit has made a Bluetooth version.

We’re unable to find any information on when these will be made available to the public, but since half the guitarists I know wear Chucks anyway, I can’t imagine this product would fail.

After the jump, watch the Critical Mass concept video, followed by a demonstration by J Mascis…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Jerry Lewis and sleazeball porn king Al Goldstein demonstrate electronic gizmos on morning TV, 1976
06.21.2016
03:08 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech
Television

Tags:
Jerry Lewis
Al Goldstein


 
Fans of Jerry Lewis are well aware of his interest in technology, even if the stories of his inventing the video assist appear to distort the truth a trifle. For his part, publisher Al Goldstein’s best-known property was Screw, but he also developed a newsletter called Gadgets that sought to test new electronic devices on the market.

Someone had the bright idea of bringing the two men together for a segment of A.M. New York (a local competitor to the morning juggernaut of the Today program) that ran on February 23, 1976, with the assignment of introducing the viewer to a bunch of expensive devices.

The host at this time was named Stanley Siegel, and the devices are pretty amusing for being ridiculous in the era of the iPhone (which they obviously couldn’t help).

And expensive!! You could get a gold watch with a calculator on the face—for $3,900! (That’s more than $16,000 in today’s money.) How many meetings would have to be saved by instantaneously solving some simple arithmetic problem before that kind of thing would begin to pay for itself? Ditto the briefcase with a phone in it, which was priced at a relatively reasonable $2,200 (nearly ten grand today).

There’s also the most phallic corkscrew you have ever seen and a strange device filled with strips of paper that’s supposed to serve as an oracle of some sort.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Bloody Disgusting: A gruesome gallery of vintage medical illustrations from the 1800s

000diseasleisnbab.jpg
 
My father once bought several volumes of medical textbooks as a job lot from a secondhand bookshop. Why he did this I’m not quite sure. Perhaps he liked their fine red leather covers, their marbled pages, the beautiful yet gruesome illustrations of diseases contained therein. Perhaps he thought these fine volumes matched our home’s interior decor? Or maybe he hoped my brother or myself would one day study these antique books and become a medical practitioner? I certainly considered it. Indeed I nearly did apply for medicine at university but changed my mind at the last moment and chose a rather pointless arts course—my real intention had been to go to Art College and paint…but that’s another story.

However, I did spend many, many, probably far too many hours poring over these books and their fabulous colored plates of medical diseases, internal organs, autopsies, arterial systems, genitals, brains and what have you. I marveled as much at the complexity and wonder of the human body and its diseases as I did at the beauty of the illustrations. These were to me works of art that deserved to be hung in some gallery rather than just hidden away for the education of young minds.

Illustrations of different diseases and conditions provided an essential part in the development of medical treatment. All doctors need a good memory so they can recognize symptoms, ailments and you know body parts—and the work of illustrators in accurately depicting different forms of diseases—leprosy, syphilis or smallpox, etc—were central to a doctor making the right call in a patient’s’ diagnosis and treatment.

This is a tiny small collection of some of the vast number of disturbingly beautiful illustrations produced by artists for medical practitioners during the late 1700s to the early 1900s—and they are quite fantastic.

And the moral of my story? Well, if you ever get the choice between an arts course and studying medicine…do medicine because you can truly help people and maybe even make a shit load of money while you’re doing it.
 
003diseaselep13g.jpg
A thirteen-year-old Girl with leprosy.
 
004diseaselepb13.jpg
A thirteen-year-old Boy with severe untreated leprosy.
 
More beautifully rendered (and totally gross) diseases after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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