The Power of the Pentatonic Scale

Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the power of the pentatonic scale, using audience participation, at the event “Notes & Neurons: In Search of the Common Chorus”, from the 2009 World Science Festival, June 12, 2009.

(Thank you Karin)

Music from Nature

Diego Stocco did it again:

To celebrate Earth Day, Diego Stocco collaborated with Burt’s Bees to create an all-natural musical experience. All the sounds you hear in this piece were created real-time using instruments provided by Mother Nature herself. The same ingredients that are instrumental in making the Burt’s Bees products, which I am a big fan of!

Musical Democracy

Anthm turns your iPhone into a futuristic, handheld jukebox. Launch the app, start a party then you and your friends can add music into one playlist. You can request from millions (yes, millions) of songs. No need to use your own library of music, Anthm will stream all the music for you straight from Rdio.

Take 30 seconds to watch this video to see how it works.

We will be giving this a try at our studio tomorrow. Thanks for the find, Jonnie!


Thanks to my studiomates Burks and Frank I discovered the wonderful and whimsical world of Lullatone! We’ve been playing their music all day yesterday at the studio. So zen.

Music From A Dry Cleaner

I bet in Diego Stocco‘s mind there is no such thing as ‘noise’. Why? In his latest sound adventure he turns dry cleaner sounds into music.

Diego asked the owners of a local Dry Cleaner shop if he could record a piece of music by using their machines as musical instruments. He used a puff iron, press and dry cleaning machines, a washer, clothes hangers, and a bucket full of soap.

The bass and lead sounds were created from the buzzing tones coming from the conduits and engines. There are no additional sounds from any traditional or electronic instruments.

Hat tip!

(thank you Diego)

Interview with Cameron Koczon

Here’s an interesting interview with my studiomate Cameron Koczon. He is one of the geniuses behind Fictive Kin, TeuxDeux, and Brooklyn Beta and talks about entrepreneurship, creating the ideal workspace, and why his latest app GimmeBar will radically change the way we curate content online.

Rise And Shine

CreativeMornings is featured with Podcast on!

You can listen to it here. A big thank you to Karin Kamp for the wonderful feature. Team CreativeMornings is thrilled!

Chase No Face

Whenever I spot an email from the oh-so-very-talented Zachary Lieberman in my inbox I pay attention. He just pointed me to the above music video he did with Olga Bell. The projections on her face are real-time and the visuals respond to her movement and the sound of her voice. You read right, no post-production effects were used in this video. Everything on the face is happening in real-time, via hacked Kinect, laptop and LED projector. It’s built using FaceTracker code from Jason Saragih.

Cool? Yes, very much so.

The Illuminated Mixtapes

Adam Parks runs a site called The Illuminated Mixtapes. If features a series of mixtapes he put online for streaming, each including an illustrated cover.

(How much do I love the internets? It enables sharing and creating like nothing else. Yay Internet!)

Happy Birthday, Ella Fitzgerald

This recording is from June 22, 1969 where Ella Fitzgerald performs One Note Samba with Ed Thigpen on drums, Frank de la Rosa on bass, and Tommy Flanagan on piano. I am happy that our little Ella shares her name with this amazing woman! (They almost shared the same birthday as well, they’re off by only 4 days)

(via Brain Pickings)

Girl from Ipanema

Is it me or is Astrud Gilberto completely emotionless during this performance? Nevertheless, I love the song.

(via byrd and belle)


Conductor: from Alexander Chen on Vimeo.

At, Conductor turns the New York subway system into an interactive string instrument. Using the MTA’s actual subway schedule, the piece begins in realtime by spawning trains which departed in the last minute, then continues accelerating through a 24 hour loop. The visuals are based on Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 diagram.

more info.

(thank you Veronica)

The Candy Man Can

Sometimes listening to the Candy Man Song is all I need to make my day a little brighter and take my mind of looming decisions. Here we go:

YouTubeDisco Brilliant and exactly what the name says.

(via Swiss Christian Leu’s Newsletter: Linkriss)

Dow Piano

The Dow Piano audiovisualizes the ups and downs of 2010 into musical notes. Using a five-note scale spanning three octaves, pitch is determined by the daily closing numbers of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The variance in volume mirrors the trading volume changes throughout the year. The notes are clustered in series of five, representing Mondays through Fridays. The weeks are punctuated, separated, and started by drum hits. Follow along with the graph to experience the market in a (somewhat) musical way. Created by Bard Edlund.

Dow Piano

(thank you Dominique)

Through a Hole

This clever music video for Atlanta based band, Vortex Park made me smile. Created by Alex Wolf. (Too bad for the ending though. They should have kept it in the browser window.)

(Thank you Matthew)

Raindrop Melody Maker

The Raindrop Melody Maker allows you to make your own music. It’s totally therapeutic! Give it a try!

(via Kidshaus)

DesignMatters Podcast

Lovely Debbie Millman was so generous to interview me for her amazing (!) DesignMatters Show. The podcast just went live.

Listen over on DesignObserver
Direct Link to the MP3

Thank you Debbie, it’s such an honor to be part of DesignMatters.

Steff La Cheffe

Steff La Cheffe is a 23 year old Swiss from Breitsch, Switzerland. Yes, in case you were wondering, that language in the above song is indeed swiss-german. For those of you that don’t know. Swiss-German is a spoken-only language and most of the time sounds like you have a sore throat. I send a hat tip to Steff La Cheffe for pulling it off to actually make swiss german sound hip and cool.

(thank you Pascal)

Milton Glaser Podcast Interview

Milton Glaser is among the most celebrated graphic designers in the United States. He has the distinction of one-man-shows at the Museum of Modern Art and the Georges Pompidou Center. In 2004 he recieved the lifetime achievement award from the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. As a Fulbright scholar, Glaser studied with the painter, Giorgio Morandi. In 2010 Glaser was awarded the National Medal of Arts, he is the first graphic designer to receive this award.

Listen to Debbie Millman’s podcast Interview with Milton Glaser over on DesignObserver.

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers — and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling.

Definitely a new favorite on my long list of TED talks.

Season Six of Design Matters

Lovely Debbie Millman just announced Season Six of Design Matters. It will premiere on Design Observer this Friday at 3pm with my legendary guest Massimo Vignelli.

After an entire year off air to launch the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts, Debbie is returning to regular broadcasts and a full season of interviews with designers, artists, writers, thought leaders and general all-around provocateurs.

Design Matters began in February of 2005 with an idea and a telephone line. Mostly, she started out doing it for herself–she thought it would be a great way to ask her guests everything she wanted to know about their lives and their thoughts and their careers without seeming stalker-y. In the process, she realized the opportunity to share the insights of her guests with a listenership.

Friday marks the beginning of a new season on a new station as well. She will be recording her shows live in the brand spanking new recording studio at 132 West 21st Street in NYC—home of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts —and the shows will be aired at the regular time online: 3PM on Fridays. Design Observer will be broadcasting Design Matters, and you can listen to both the new episodes, as well as the entire archive of past shows here:

Guests for for Season Six include Massimo Vignelli, Stephen Doyle, Eric Baker, Ralph Caplan, Marjan Bantjes, Kate Bingaman-Burt, Dominique Browning, Steven Heller, Alexandra Lange & Jane Thompson, James Victore, Tina Roth Eisenberg (gulp) and more…

swissmiss on The Pipeline

Dan Benjamin, mastermind behind the fantastic interview show called The Pipeline, was so kind to ask me to be on his show. You can listen to our conversation on his site, here’s the direct link to the MP3, or if you prefer, in iTunes.

Dan, thank you so much for having me!

(Dan Benjamin was impressively persistent in trying to get me on his show. For some unknown reason, the concept of ‘recorded conversations’ makes me shiver, so I kept saying no at first. Dan kept at it and I am glad I agreed eventually. Dan has an amazing talent in making the person he is talking to feel comfortable. Hat tip to Dan’s interview skills.)

Losing the Race to the Bottom

Here’s an interesting SXSW 2010 podcast with Jim Coudal and John Gruber in which they trace their history and share their experiences in how to make a living with running a blog.

How individuals and groups can maintain some shred of dignity and support themselves by creating ad and sponsorship programs that benefit and respect publishers, readers and advertisers. Presented by John Gruber of John Gruber of Daring Fireball and Jim Coudal of Coudal Partners.

Listen to the podcast here: Online Advertising: Losing the Race to the Bottom

(thank you Liz)