Dan Deacon is taking over the smartphones of fans at his live performances to turn them into part of the show.
Fans attending a concert on the experimental artist’s current tour, which is promoting his recent album America, can download the app from the App Store and Google Play before they head to the venue. When the show starts, all phones running the app can be controlled using sonic prompts – in much the same way as the Chirp app we recently covered. The musician can then synchronize the crowd’s phones to display the same color and make the LED lights flash in time with each other as part of the light show. Perhaps most interestingly, the smartphones can also be made to emit sound, becoming an extra instrument for the musician to play.
The app offers a new way for the audience to become a part of the show – increasing engagement – and also exorcizes the stigma attached to fans holding their phone up at a concert.
Delia Derbyshire worked at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in the 1960s and early 70s. She is known for performing the original Doctor Who theme, collaborating on White Noise’s An Electric Storm album (a cult classic), “Dreams” (a collage of recordings describing dreams accompanied by electronic synth textures), and her many other experimental electronic compositions.
Delia’s works from the 60s and 70s continue to be used on radio and TV some 30 years later. A recent Guardian article called her ‘the unsung heroine of British electronic music’. She collaborated with such greats as Karlheinz Stockhausen, George Martin, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, Brian Jones, Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson.
Le Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki is a 1971 album by the Yamasuki Singers, a pseudo-Japanese concept album of pop songs, described on the sleeve of the Finders Keepers CD reissue as “a fuzzed-out-educational-multi-cultural psych-rock-opera…. proto-psychedelic hip-hop with overweight drum beats and basslines.”
In 1971, two funk producers (one a Dutch-speaking Belgian named Jean Kluger, the other a Frenchman named Daniel Vangarde, the father of Daft Punk man Thomas Bangalter) create a briefly popular dance song named Yamasuki and decide to make a whole album based on that song. They learn Japanese, find a children’s choir to sing on the album, and get a black-belt judo master to shout. They’re assisted by uncredited contributers including Raymond Van Het Groenewoud and Claude Lombard. The resulting album is a psychedelic-funk-kaboki-Langley School Music Project.
Patrick Feaster, a sound historian at Indiana University, recreated an ~1889 Emile Berliner gramophone recording using a photograph of the album. Feaster found the photo of the album by chance, in a German magazine from 1890 stored at Bloomington’s Herman B Wells Library: “I was looking for a picture of the oldest known recording studio, to illustrate a discussion I was giving on my work with Thomas Edison’s recordings. I pulled it off the shelf and, while I had it open, I looked at the index and saw there was an article on the gramophone. I thought, ‘Oh, that’s a bonus’. So I flipped through and, lo and behold, there’s a paper print of the actual recording.”
Historians have found that the microscopic grooves on a bent metal ring, which was found in Thomas Edison’s laboratory, make up the tune of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ and mark the world’s first attempt at a talking doll and the dawn of America’s recording industry. Using advanced imaging technology they have recovered a 12 second sound recording of woman reciting a verse of the children’s song. They believe the tin ring was intended to be the key component of one of Thomas Edison’s talking dolls.
Historians think Edison hired the woman to make the recording less than two years before he unsuccessfully put the first talking doll on the market. ‘Based on the date of fall 1888, it is the oldest American-made recording of a woman’s voice that we can listen to today,’ said Patrick Feaster, a historian at Indiana University in Bloomington. Mr Feaster pored over historical documents and 19th-century newspaper reports to piece together the story behind the recording.
Edison hoped to mass-produce the toys, but the era’s rudimentary technology meant that to make 100 dolls, Edison would have to get artists to recite the lullaby 100 times. ‘They must have been hired and paid to do this,’ Mr Feaster said. ‘These were presumably the first professional recording artists.’ The small piece of ring-shaped tin bearing the woman’s voice never made it into a doll because wax records replaced metal ones by 1890, when Edison started selling his first talking dolls. Those fragile and easily broken toys were a market flop.