Ten Years After

Rummaging around in here I discovered I still had a YouTube account, from the days before it became the quagmire of advertising and tracking it has become, which lead me to this old post from a decade ago:

The iPad was a mere one year old at the time but was already showing signs of its potential for making interesting noises. I suspect the missing video was for an, alas short lived and no longer available, app called Konkreet Performer which was an early attempt at new ways to interact with sounds on iPads:

A 2011 Konkreet Performer promotional video

Things have evolved over the years and today you have AudioBus to pump sound between apps, AUM to connect and mix instruments and effects and countless apps like TouchScaper and SoundScaper and even some that are not called somethingScaper. Although Smule still have some apps available their MadPad has also vanished; as has the Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra.

The other video in that old post was a young Frank Zappa performing on a bicycle during the Steve Allen TV show in March 1963. Many years ago I read about this but who could imagine that decades later and thousands of miles away you can sit on a sofa with an iPad watching the video and also learn how, in late 1962, the young Zappa would hang out in Don Preston‘s garage improvising soundtracks to various film clips. Preston had a range of junk percussion ‘instruments’ he used including a bicycle.

The Zappa Movie

Once upon a time long long ago there was a Kickstarter Project to digitise the archive of material that Frank Zappa had created during his life – known as The Vault. Once digitised some would be used to create a movie about Zappa and his work. After delays and set backs (all that 2020 stuff) it looks like the project is coming to completion (click image for trailer)…

Zappa Movie Poster

One can only wonder what he would have thought of America today.

Too many distractions

On TV quiz shows one frequently see old people explaining that now they are retired there is so much to do they wonder how they ever found time to go to work. Despite my best intentions to spend my retirement catching up with all the stuff I have never really got to grips with – half understood software, half learnt programming languages, books that were purchased but never read etc. – the torrent of new stuff continues to overwhelm. I should draw a line and say no more… but

The update to Logic looks exciting and Arturia’s extended free licence for Pigments and Analog Lab shouldn’t be wasted. And I am already way behind on the Tidal training sessions. Not to mention the endless opportunities to explore the musical backwaters available to stream.

And then I am about to throw out the sourdough starter I started a few days ago when the weather was warm but abandoned when the weather turned colder – my home is not warm enough ordinarily to sustain the beast, but, I think, ‘it does smell like a good starter’, so I gave it a feed and a drink and it has been bubbling away all day; so the weekend will be spent cultivating some bread.

Not to mention being on fox cub watch…

There is no time for this 100 day nonsense…

Yadit #100DaysToOffload

Vinyl-y

Finally (after 25? years) got around to seeing if the dusty old record player still works. It does!

Apparently you connect it to something called Analog In these days. Alas my record collection is somewhat reduced from thousands to just four – which would have been four too many if it had not worked. This is a Thorens TD 321. It replaced a Garrard 301. I cannot recall what happened to the 301 – perhaps it just died from exhaustion. But I do still have the manual and test sheet.

The 301 replaced a Garrard SP 25 which had served well during my teens.

While I can appreciate the charm of old (and new) gramophone records I don’t think I will be in a hurry to acquire anymore anytime soon. Today’s streaming services are perfectly fine. There is a lot of nonsense talked about the pleasure of listening to music pressed into a plastic disc but I am not buying it. If there never had been any vinyl records and someone came up with the idea today would anyone be saying “What a great idea!” or , after they stopped laughing, would they point out that the discs are easily damaged, bulky, heavy, difficult to store etc.?

For the record: The pictured disc is The Mothers Of Invention‘s Cruising With Ruben & The Jets on the Verve label which, in the UK, was distributed by Polydor in the mid 70’s as opposed to the original 60’s issue which had been distributed by EMI – there was a time when this stuff was interesting and important.

You can listen to it here:

Apple Music

Spotify

YouTube

Yadit #100DaysToOffload