Since being a small child I have always taken things apart to see how they work. Song Exploder is a podcast where Hrishikesh Hirway gets artists to take their songs apart in front of you so you can see how they work. Now at episode 149 the format is proven, all genres are covered.
No matter if its a favourite artist or someone I’ve never heard of, I come away with a more understanding of the skill thats been applied and a better appreciation of the music.
The episodes are released at a rate of about 3 per month (can’t work out the interval) and run for around 15 minutes or so. Each episode ends with the exploded song (track, piece) played through in full so you can hear how it all came together.
“The Rosa String Works Channel is primarily concerned with building, repairing, and customizing stringed musical instruments.”
This channel appears to be primarily about repairing and making stringed musical instruments, mostly guitars and mandolins. Here are some of the videos I’ve been watching over the last month:
I had never seen a guitar like this before, it is fascinating to see how the Fender Resophonic works. The bridge drives a lightweight spun aluminium cone, which acts like a loudspeaker cone within the body of the instrument. I guessed why the bridge is in two parts immediately, see if you can guess why.
This video involves servicing and repairing a double neck combination 12 string and 6 string guitar, that cost $160 but was made with what would be several thousands of dollars worth of inlay work. The client also wanted pickups added so that it can be played through an amp. Is it the basket case it at first appears to be? Or is it a credible instrument? An absolutely mental guitar that can’t help but appeal.
It’s the acoustic guitar equivalent of Chris Squire’s Triple-neck Wal Bass.
A hundred year old Gibson L3, that looks like it has had a hard life and some slightly botched repairs, gets fixed up and has a new pick guard fabricated.
This one is an interesting balance between preserving the original instrument, meeting the clients various demands and doing a decent job. There was a lot of work here including replacing an undersized modern plastic nut with one created from deer antler. With all these Rosa String works videos the skill care and attention to detail is impressive.
If I’m bored and want to chill out sit back and not do anything much, I’ve taken to watching people make things on youtube. There’s something particularly rewarding about watching a skilled craftsman making something amazing out of raw materials.
I came across this video “Full Building of a Custom Goodall Guitar”
The Goodall guitar is built using a combination of skilled craftsmanship, traditional materials, and judicious use of high tech machinery.
In contrast “Documental de la construcción artesanal de las guitarras Francisco Bros.” shows the construction of a traditional hand built flamenco guitar. Very little modern tooling here, just traditional tools and techniques. Particularly impressive is the use of string rather than dozens of clamps to hold the glued components of the guitar.
I found out that there was a Star Wars audio drama, produced by NPR. Rather than a copy of the film it was around a 6 hour audio drama, so there’s a lot more detailed story in there.
I wondered if it was somewhere I could listen to it. A little Googling (should that really be capitalised if I’m using it as a verb) and I found that it is possible to get a custom podcast feed that will deliver episodes as a podcast feed.
The Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast is billed as “The stories behind the world’s most recognisable sounds“. It publishes a new episode every two weeks, featuring sounds that are part of the audio scenery of our lives. Now 53 episodes in, this latest episode features the genesis and evolution of the Microsoft Xbox startup sound. Recent episodes cover topics such as The Theramin, Classic Cartoon Sound Effects, Sonic Branding, and Misophonia.
The 20 to 30 minute episodes are well researched, well presented and leave the listener informed, satisfied and a little more aware of the soundscape of your life. For instance the episodes on the Amen Break of the Wilhelm Scream reveal two sounds that have been woven into our experience of music and film. The Wilhelm Scream episode had me nodding along a saying ‘oh yea’ to all those instances of the scream in things that I recognise. Listen to this episode and you will become a Wilhelm scream spotter too.
We took a trip over to the Garibaldi Hotel a pub featuring Craft Beer, Live Music, Mexican Food and Skate Shop. We were there to see Secret Fix who describe themselves as a ‘Noise Pop Sextet’.
It was our first visit to the the Garibaldi Hotel, the beer was good, although a little too chilled and at London prices. They also had Rattler, a Cornish cider, on tap as well as a wide variety of bottled beers and ciders. The landlord is making a point of booking local musicians and bands to help build up the Northampton music scene. From the board on the wall it looks like there’s a good selection of events at the pub. The food was good and the avocado salad was exceptional.
Secret Fix, although their SoundCloud page says ‘London’, are largely from around the Kettering area. The band played a relatively short (but no less intense) set, as they are settling into a new line-up. The performance was well received and drew quite a crowd. As to the genre ‘noise pop’ the best way for me to describe it is to point you to their SoundCloud page.
Working from home occasionally means I can listen to music whilst I work. Jamendo is a great place to go on my work PC where there’s no music stored, Heifervescent (Andy Doran) is just one of the many amazing artists making their music freely available. Pondlife Fiasco and Little Egg are the two of his albums I most enjoy
I subscribe to Vi Hart’s channel on You Tube, she does short videos on maths with amusing animation. Today Twelve Tones appeared in my in-box, this is a stunningly original and clever 30 minute video about 12 tone music, copyright, maths, science, Schoenberg, The Bowl and Laser Bat, and more! A lot of the musical stuff went straight over my head, but an awful lot more seemed to stick, I’ll need to watch this again.