Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘music’

30 JULY, 2009

World Beats:


Auditory voyeurism, globe-trotting musicology, and why New York and Brooklyn are different cities altogether.

The city is a living organism with distinct character, taste, smell, sound. Its thriving music scene offers a special kind of storytelling about the city’s personality quirks and cultural passions — an auditory window into the soul of the city. opens a dozen such fascinating windows by delivering the latest music from some of the world’s most interesting cities, from Sydney to Stockholm to San Francisco.

Developed by Swedish digital geek duo Henrik Berggren and David Kjelkerud for London’s Music Hack Day, the project uses professional audio platform SoundCloud‘s API to fetch the music and streams it to build an immersive global soundscape. comes on the trails of The Present Sounds of London, an audio tour of the iconic city’s distinct urban onomatopoeias — perhaps a trend towards a newfound fascination with the auditory “brands” of urban epicenters?

27 JULY, 2009

BBC vs. MTV: Poetry Season


Old rock, new roll, and why MTV has nothing on Lord Byron.

Millennials may be experts at a lot of things, but poetry isn’t one of them. To pique the MTV generation’s interest in the classic art of verse, the BBC commissioned London-based filmmaker Corin Hardy to translate Lord Byron’s 1817 poem So We’ll Go No More A-Roving into a familiar visual narrative, delivered by punk-rockers The King Blues.

The resulting 75-second short film is an inspired exercise in the creative blending of polar opposites — chaos and slow motion, high culture and street style, the “rock” of yesteryear and the punk of today — encrusted with interpretive emotional ambiguity. (Is that angry sweat running down his left cheek, or a tortured tear?)

It’s also timely reminder that the art of remix is a powerful cross-pollinator that bridges essential corners of culture.

Explore the BBC’s Poetry Season for a vital injection of classic verse into the narrative of your own modern storytelling.

via Very Short List

25 JULY, 2009

TEDGlobal Highlights: Day 4


Solid sand, the art of curation, why doing nothing matters, and how to get 700 of the world’s smartest people singing.

The final day of TEDGlobal in images and soundbites — the closing of a truly phenomenal experience.

For full blow-by-blow coverage, skim our live Twitter feed from the event.

Bjarke Ingels at TEDGlobal in Oxford

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, who has the highest ration of architecture awards to age in the world, showcases some of his stride-stopping work.

Magnus Larsson at TEDGlobal in Oxford

Magnus Larsson proposes a visionary project to stop desertification -- using bacteria to solidify sand dunes into stone and build a 6000km-long desert-break stretching across Africa.

The Sahara desert expands by nearly one meter per day, literally driving people out of their homes. ~ Magnus Larsson

Dan Pink at TEDGlobal in Oxford

Dan Pink says extrinsic incentives, a.k.a. 'carrots and sticks,' dull creativity. The key to economic success is in intrinsic motivations -- autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Science confirms what we know in our hearts. ~ Dan Pink

Itay Talgam at TEDGlobal in Oxford

Maestro Itay Talgam on the intricate role of the conductor in creating not only the process of performance, but also the conditions in which this process occurs.

Interpretation is the real story of the performance. ~ Itay Talgam

Daniel Birnbaum on the art of curating -- something we can really relate to here -- as an unseen force that shapes the art experience beyond the individual objects.

It’s the gallery itself, the institution, that becomes the frame. ~ Daniel Birnbaum

Brother Paulus Terwitte at TEDGlobal

German friar Brother Paulus Terwitte contests we've become primitive hunters and gatherers, preoccupied with collecting information, instead of taking in less and deepening our life. He advocates the 'organized doing of nothing' -- meditation, prayer, contemplation -- as a way to find 'the inner voices of things.'

The most important question is, ‘Where are you in your thoughts?’ ~ Brother Paulus Terwitte

Chris Anderson at TEDGlobal, forewarning about the infamous TED crash.

Chris Anderson forewarns about the dreaded TED crash following the end of the 4-day idea binge, when sleep deprivation kicks in and dopamine plummets. We can already feel it.

Tom Rielly's satire at TEDGlobal

The wonderful Tom Reilly's (in)famous satire of the conference. Here, impersonating TED Europe's charmingly stern director, Bruno Giussani.

Parodying the Lifesaver filtration bottle, Tom mock(?)-relieves in a glass, runs it through the Lifesaver bottle, and hands it to Chris to drink. Upon chugging it, Chris proclaims: 'Trust.'

Imogen Heap's surprise performance wrapping up TEDGlobal

The phenomenal Imogen Heap takes the stage for one last surprise performance after the fantastic audience response to her scheduled act. She plays the hang, a mysterious gong-like instrument, and asks us to be her live looping device, dividing the audience into a 3-part chorus. The collective experience is utterly magnetic, and you can just see the music running through her entire body as she performs. Magic, personified.

On a personal note, the TED experience has been every bit as invigorating, inspiring and incredible as expected, and then some. Exhausting as it may have been, reporting is has been a modest effort to help extend TED’s fundamental mission — “ideas worth spreading.”

And before we return to our regular “programming” next week, a big “THANK YOU” for following and sharing in this utterly lifechanging experience.