Open Culture recently delved into the history of the Roland TR-808 rhythm machine, or the 808 Drum Machine. Released in late 1980, many musicians did not like it at first as the sound was too synthetic and did not sound like any natural noise you could create yourself. Some described it as, “so bad it was good,” and despite its artificiality, its noises began popping up in records such as 1982’s “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye and Whitney Houston’s, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
Nelson George, author and director of the short film, All Hail the Beat, explains that “the 808 has remained a vital element in much of the pop music since the 1980’s, in genres like hip hop, techno, and house.” Drum machines since the creation of the 808 have mimicked the features of this first one, and it has subsequently changed the tune of pop music.
All Hail The Beat | Nelson George from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.
Some tweets and reactions to the Amazon/Goodreads merger.
Last month, Amazon announced that it had acquired Goodreads, a social networking site where both readers and authors can join to review and recommend books. Following the announcement, many fans on Twitter were not very pleased by the upcoming merger. Publishing Perspectives highlighted some of the wittier and more vocal tweets. Many joked about the price of ads increasing, banning authors from reviewing any books, and whether Amazon would not target readers based on the previous reviews of books readers have written.
In the press release announcing the partnership, Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President of Kindle Content said, “Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading. Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books, and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world.” Only time will tell whether readers and authors will warm up to this merger and how it will be used by both in the long run.
There is almost nothing better than finding something new and innovative in the way of creating art. I’m always fascinated when I see a music video that has a creative concept to it, yet appears to be relatively simple. Husbands’ new video from their single, “Dream,” is another example of that; although, the making of it was more complicated than it looks.
Created by French visionary duo, Cauboyz (made up of photographer Bertrand Jamot and graphic designer Philippe Tytgat), they created a concept for “Dream” that “fools viewers into thinking the flashing retro typographies are done digitally.” Upon closer inspection, this is not the case. In the “Making of / Husbands – “Dream”” video, we see that in order to create the effect of digital typographies, Cauboyz assembled light-up boxes in a wooden frame with “each box connected to a control panel with switches assigned to each phrase or word in the song.”
What I found amazing about this is I see digitally typographic lyric videos all the time, but I enjoyed watching this video the most, especially after I learned that it was, in fact, not digitally created.
Previous videos created by the Cauboyz include “Set You Free” by The Black Keys where the words appear on a revolving can, and AgesandAges, “No Nostalgia” where the words to the song appear on a green background written in white chalk.
Source: The Creators Project
Husbands – “Dream” from Cauboyz on Vimeo.
From The Artist’s and Writer’s Cookbook
Ever wonder what some of your favorite artists’ and writers’ favorite recipes are? Look no further than The Artists’ & Writers’ Cookbook, “a lavish 350-page vintage tome, illustrated with 19th-century engravings and original drawings.” Brain Pickings recently wrote a review on the 1961 published book, featuring “220 recipes and 30 courses by 55 painters, 61 novelists, 15 sculptors, and 19 poets.” Some artists featured include John Keats, Harper Lee, and Anna Tolstoy, daughter of famed writer, Leo Tolstoy. Several artists take creative liberty with their recipes, but the end result is something any artist and writer can enjoy.
From The Artist’s and Writer’s Cookbook
Kyle Bean, a creative designer that Creative Bloq describes as, “one of those designers that keeps on experimenting and producing striking original work,” has launched a new portfolio website that allows viewers to see his work “in an effective and user-friendly manner.” As soon as you click onto his page, you don’t need to search very far for his pieces: they’re lined up right on the homepage. It showcases some of Kyle’s best work, and is perfect for designers who are stuck in a creative block. Although I’m not a designer, every piece is worth perusing through.
It’s that time of year again where graduation is right around the corner; for PW seniors, this means creating your portfolio. Depending on what system you use, this involves creating a theme and layout for your overall site. WordPress is typically a favorite for its easy usability and user-friendly access.
Smashing Magazine interviewed several top theme designers and developers about how to improve and refine your theme development for new and amateur theme designers. They recommend developing locally instead of working with the live, “FTP commandos” as one designer says. This has more benefits and allows you to track your work and what you’ve changed and fix mistakes before they’re posted on a live website.
Other tips they have are using Git (“a distributed version-control system that is popular among developers all over the world”), cleaning up your source code (“indent nested lines, indent tabs always, be consistent with formatting”), and use a starter theme (“It cuts down on development time greatly”). It’s all about what works best for you as the designer; the takeaway is it’s all based on finding the time to learn and refine your workflow and techniques, helping your design planning and creating become more efficient.
It started when computer science professor Matthew Might from the University of Utah had to explain year after year to a new group of students what a Ph.D was. He said, “It’s hard to describe it in words, so I used pictures.” Open Culture posted an article with these pictures, going through step-by-step the levels of education a student receives, starting with an empty circle that stands for, “all of human knowledge,” going through elementary school all the way to a Ph.D after you’ve “pushed the boundaries” of your knowledge. For visual learners and those who don’t know exactly what a Ph.D is, it helps make a little more sense.
Elementary School knowledge – Matt Might’s, “What is a Ph.D?” in pictures.
Masters degree knowledge – Matt Might’s, “What is a Ph.D?” in pictures.
Ph.D degree knowledge – Matt Might’s, “What is a Ph.D?” in pictures.
Freelance design in a personal studio
In my creative non-fiction writing class, we were asked to write about the place where we like to write the most or feel the most creative. I said I can write just about everywhere because it all matters about the “zone” I get into; once I start writing, I just keep writing. Creative Bloq has an article about freelance designers and the vital importance of a good working environment. They talk about the home studio, the shared studio, and even the coffee shop.
“Everyone is different in what they want from a space,” they said. Whether it’s writing or designing, it’s all about finding a space to think and work creatively.