I was sitting at my dining room table loading up YouTube videos to listen to whilst painting some D&D miniatures – you know, like I do – and I saw that Linsey Pollak had a new Live & Loopy video posted. So I cued it up to enjoy some of his wonderful jazzy improv whilst painting some dire sewer rats. Each time I took a moment to glance at the screen, I was surprised by what he was playing each part on (even though I really shouldn’t have been).
And thus was born THE LINSEY POLLAK GAME! Here’s how you play:
- Cue up one of the following videos, but don’t look at the screen (cover it with paper or just look away or something).
- When you hear a new instrument being played, try to guess what Linsey is playing it on. (Vocalizations don’t count. I mean, come on.)
- Look at the video to see if you’re right.
Good luck! Try to beat my high score of 1!
So, I’ve spent the last couple of days listening to a lot of Prince and trying to find unusual performances of Prince covers.
This is the best I could muster up, and it’s very charming: “When You Were Mine,” performed on a 3-string baritone Appalachian dulcimer.
(If you know of any other unusually performed Prince covers, please share them!)
The Bandura is a Ukranian instrument that is shaped like a guitar or lute, plays like a harp, and has between 20 – 65 strings, which on some models can be quickly retuned with levers. Bandura.org tells us it is “the voice of Ukraine. It is unique to the culture of Ukraine and so its history is closely tied to the turbulent history of the Ukrainian people.”
Here is virtuoso bandurist Julian Kytasty playing a piece that his grandfather’s brother composed for this wonderful instrument:
And here he is explaining the ways the instrument was played, and getting a little bit silly:
The wonderful webseries This Exists opens the Pandora’s Box that is Danger Music – musical performances that are intended to put the safety of the audience and performers into peril.
If you’re looking for me, I’ll be crouched behind this concrete wall over here…
Smithsonian.com recently posted a piece on musical highways – stretches of road with “rumble strips” (bumpy sections) that are designed to play songs when vehicle tires roll over them. They share a couple of examples, and here are some that I dug up on my own:
Mt. Fuji (with a G clef painted on the road at the start!):
Lone Ranger Highway in Lancaster, California (created for a Honda commercial):
Stunt guitarist Rob Scallon kills in the name of Rage Against the Machine on a shovel built for him by Bob from ILikeToMakeStuff.
It’s Easter where I come from, and that means bunnies. And bunnies mean carrots. And carrots mean I get to post a video from the brilliant Linsey Pollak, who demonstrates how to make a carrot clarinet:
And here is Linsey pairing the carrot clarinet with “Mr. Curly,” a contra bass clarinet made from narrow bore garden hose:
Happy Easter, everyone!
Stunt bassist Davie504 was recently challenged to compose a song on a bass guitar with no strings on it. So he did.
I can’t even come up with a semi-clever post title for this one. I just love this video so much. I’ve watched it with fascination about a dozen times, looking for things I haven’t noticed before. There are just so many things that are satisfying about it – the rhythmic whirr of the crank that loads the marbles into the machine, the various camera angles showing the different workings inside and out, the clacking of the levers that turn different instruments off and on, the Willy Wonka-esque performer, even the charming music-boxy tune that it plays.
There is also a video series on how it all works, but I haven’t watched them yet. I’ll get around to it eventually. I just have to watch this one a few more times.