Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘music’

31 OCTOBER, 2011

The Recipe Project: Recipes by Rock-Star Chefs Set to Song

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What moussaka sounds like, or how to cook The Beatles’ White Album like a culinary virtuoso.

After exploring the intersection of music and political protest this morning, we turn to the much lighter intersection of music and cuisine, on the heels of this month’s intersection of cuisine and graphic design. From freshly launched quirky indie publisher Black Balloon (whose launch email included the word “amazeballs”) comes The Recipe Project: A Delectable Extravaganza of Food and Music — a delightful and nerdy treat for the foodie-musicologist, transforming delicious recipes into singable, danceable songs, a straight shot to our omnibus of favorite cross-disciplinary cookbooks. (We’ve previously seen science, history, tennis, color, civic complaints, and the weather set to music.)

The beautifully illustrated recipes come from a roster of famous chefs — including Mario Batali, John Besh, David Chang, Tom Colicchio, and Andrea Reusing — contextualized amidst chef interviews and essays by acclaimed food writers like Melissa Clark and J. Dixon, pondering such complexities as the culinary connotations of The Beatles’ White Album and what moussaka has to do with Metallica.

Masterminding the project is Brooklyn-based band One Ring Zero, who for the past couple of years have been working their favorite rock-star chefs to each choose the musical genre for his or her song, all included on the CD that comes with the book. One Ring Zero’s Michael Hearst got the kernel of this genre-bender in college, when he composed a choral piece around a recitation of grocery store names.

The book also comes with a delightful free iPhone app that lets you enter up to 5 ingredients you have on hand and dishes out a delicious, speedy singable recipe to make with them.

Utterly charming and a formidable feat of multi-sensory deliciousness, The Recipe Project is the kind of whimsical cross-pollination of disciplines that speaks to the Brain Pickings ethos of indiscriminate creative curiosity.

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28 OCTOBER, 2011

Shel Silverstein Duets with Johnny Cash, 1970

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A meditation on fatherhood from Uncle Shelby.

Few know that beloved children’s book author Shel Silverstein, of The Giving Tree fame, was also a prolific songwriter whose songs were recently — and beautifully — covered by contemporary indie icons.

On April 1, 1970, Silverstein brought his musical talents to The Johnny Cash Show. After a quick and playful duet with Cash on his song “Boy Named Sue,” Silverstein does a charming solo performance of a children’s song he wrote called “Daddy, What If,” prefaced by a moving aside about his relationship with his own father. Enjoy.

I’m really proud of the relationship I have with my dad, I really love him a lot.” ~ Shel Silverstein

Complement with Silverstein’s fantastic posthumous anthology of 137 never-before-seen poems and drawings and his impossibly wonderful The Missing Piece and the Big O.

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21 OCTOBER, 2011

Indie Legends Celebrate the Songs of Shel Silverstein

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Andrew Bird, My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, and other indie icons pay homage to the beloved children’s author.

Though best-known as the author of children’s classics like The Giving Tree, beloved author Shel Silverstein (whose recent posthumous anthology of 137 never-before-seen poems and drawings is among the season’s greatest treats) was also a prolific songwriter. Not only did the album version of his book Where The Sidewalk Ends win a Grammy in 1984 for Best Children’s Recording, but he also collaborated with a number of prominent “grown-up” musicians between 1959 and his death in 1999, including Johnny Cash (“A Boy Named Sue”), Irish Rovers (“The Unicorn Song”), and Bobby Bare (“Daddy What If,” among many others).

Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to the Songs of Shel Silverstein (iTunes link) is a fantastic homage to Silverstein by a formidable roster of contemporary indie music icons, including Andrew Bird, My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, Lucinda Williams, and Bobby Bare, Jr., Bobby Bare’s son, performing with his four-year-old daughter Bella.

Rianbow Rumpus has a wonderful interview with Bobby Bare, Jr. on his memories of Silverstein and how the author’s ethic of fearlessness influenced his own songwriting.

via Rainbow Rumpus

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18 OCTOBER, 2011

Sound Is…

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Tssss chktchktchkt dubdubdub oeyyy.

The fine folks at SoundCloud have put together a beautiful meditation on what sound is and how it connects us to our environment, featuring sound experts like Imogen Heap, Moby, Radiolab producer and MacArthur “genius” Jad Abumrad, TED speaker Julian Treasure, and multimedia artist Ben Rubin.

Listening to all this random, disparate noise and sound that’s going on around us right now … when you actually tune it in and listen to it, you hear pitches that are like singing together, you hear harmonies, you hear weird textures. It’s about paying attention to the individual components more than the overall effect. The more differences you perceive, the better your life is.”

For some related fascination, see Jad Abumrad’s fantastic PopTech talk on sounds, science and mystery and these 7 fascinating books on music, emotion and the brain.

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