The Future Sounds Like This

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Over the weekend, Lucas and I watched both Solaris and From Beyond, a combination that’s possibly as high/low style as one can get with SF. I love the interior of the Solaris station, the round walls, electrical panels, and piles of books shoved onto shelves. With From Beyond, I started wondering how to rewrite the whole thing as a police procedural—the original story is short enough you could do all sorts of things with it.

One of the enjoyable things about Solaris is that it combines a universe with space travel and alien intelligence with one that has paper books, tea, and long walks around the pond. It’s unevenly technological, past and present intermingling. Which is a good way to describe my music experiments the last week as well.

First, I should note that I’m using an iPhone app to tune my ukulele. It’s called Cleartune, and it’s a full chromatic tuner that can be used with any instrument. The graphics are beautifully designed, and downloading it was cheaper and more immediate than purchasing a hardware tuner.

I recorded myself playing Amazing Grace using AudioBoo, a handy little iPhone app and website for doing up to 5-minute recordings that other people can subscribe to in iTunes or a RSS reader. One of the interesting things about practicing ukulele is that since I like to sing as well, finding songs to practice is a balance between what has manageable chords, and what has a melody I already know (hopefully it fits my vocal range as well). This arrangement of Amazing Grace definitely hits that spot for me.

Then, on Thursday, I brought the UCreate mixer to the weekly hackathon at Lucky Lab. I still had one of the ukulele samples on there from earlier experiments, and Reid whipped up a little drum loop using TweakyBeat (yet another iPhone app, hmm?). Below is the result.

Reid had suggested that the 30 Hour Day recordings (from an awesome no-sleep fundraiser held in December) might produce some interesting clips for remixing, so I took the highlight video, split off some promising bits of music and conversation, and came up with something that makes me laugh (though I can’t speak for anyone else, and it probably helps if you know Rick and Cami, the hosts, personally).

So that’s what my week sounded like. And the future thing: I would’ve killed to be able to do this as a kid, you know? From as early as I knew I could use computers to make things, I wanted to be able to carry the pieces in my backpack, plug the parts together, and have it all just work. These kind of music experiments really highlight for me how we’re there, finally. I sat around at a pub on Thursday and plugged my friend’s phone into a toy mixer so we could manipulate the sound, and it was about as simple as it gets. That’s pretty neat.

One response to “The Future Sounds Like This

  1. Humans are such easy prey.