music

Spotify’s Awesome Serendipity Map

I got such a kick out of this Spotify project: Serendipity is a digital map that displays instances in which one song was played by two people, anywhere in the world, within one-tenths of a second.

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The songs aren’t being played in real time. (That would be so much cooler.) But they were culled from a recent one-hour period, so it’s indicative of what’s happening around the world, at any given time.

spotify's serendipity_3

Most songs are, not surprisingly, current pop hits: lots of Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Ariana Grande.

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But there are also some throwbacks, like Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” and Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova.”

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I’ll admit, there have been times when I’ve clicked on a random song—usually some 80s or 90s jam I can’t get out of my head—and wondered whether anyone else in the world was also listening to the same thing, at the same time. Now I know that chances are, someone may have been.

(Screen grabs viaВ Serendipity)

Conducting an Orchestra in Herald Square

Here’s one more for the weekend—it’s definitely a feel-good Friday video!

Improv Everywhere, an NYC group known for staging attention-getting stunts, recently set up Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble ACJW orchestra in the middle of Herald Square and invited people to conduct them. Locals and tourists stepped up with their best conductor imitations—which are both hilarious and heart-warming to watch.

Kudos to the awesome young musicians who sounded great while following the haphazard conducting!

Also, if you’ve ever wondered what, exactly, a conductor does, check out Justin Davidson’s fantastic (and aptly named) NYMag piece, “What Does a Conductor Do?”В Davidson breaks down the nuances of conducting in an incredibly engaging and entertaining way; it’s actually one of my favorite long reads from the past few years.

On that note (ha!) have a fabulous weekend.

The Infinite Jukebox

infinite jukebox

Do you ever get fixated on a song and listen to it over and over again…especially when you’re at work…and all your friends probably know about your embarrassing song obsession from seeing it in their Spotify feeds? I’m definitely guilty of that—especially with super-poppy or ridiculous songs. Like Beyonce’sВ “Countdown.” Or Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” (Like, ever.) Or Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen.”

So I was really amused—and wowed—when I stumbled upon The Infinite Jukebox, a project developed by Paul Lamere, a director at a music intelligence company in Somerville, MA. Its tagline pretty much says it all: “For when your favorite song just isn’t long enough.”

The program basically analyzes a song beat by beat. Then it figures out other places within it that sound very similar, where it can jump to. The result: The song can play forever in a seamless loop.

Even cooler: the Jukebox creates a pretty, color-coded diagram for each song. Every color block represents a beat and its timbre. The arcs show the different places where that beat can jump. So, as you listen, you can follow the path your endless tune takes.

Listeners can submit the music they want to hear. I loved how most of them fell into the pop/ridiculous realm: R. Kelly’s “Ignition (remix),” Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” And, of course, one of my favorites: “Call Me Maybe.”

What are you going to put on an infinite loop?

(Bottom three images viaВ Paul Lamere‘s blog, Music Machinery)

A Special Discount on Illustrated Music Cards

Back in August, I posted about Foreign Spell, an Etsy card shop that I’m a big fan of. It’s run by San Francisco-based artist Niki Baker, who creates gorgeous rubber stamps to illustrate song lyrics—like this one, of Phil Phillip’s “Sea of Love.”

Now, in a very nice offer to my blog readers,В Foreign SpellВ is offering 10% off purchases with the codeВ GC0612!

If you’re the type who plans ahead, check out their holiday options—I especially love the designs for “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Mele Kalikimaka.” (The latter has a special place in my heart: Back in elementary school, my class performedВ the song in the annual Christmas pageant, with girls in leis and hula skirts and guys dressed up as palm trees. Gotta love Catholic school traditions!)

baby it's cold outside

mele kalikimaka

(Image via Foreign Spell’s Etsy shop; and thank you, Niki, for the offer!)

Music Love: Gaby Moreno

gaby moreno

In less than a week, I’ll be in Guatemala. But despite my efforts, I still don’t have a strong grasp on Spanish. During the past few days, I’ve been trying to cram in as much as I can, and was thinking that it might help to listen to some Spanish music. (Especially since I’m plugged into Spotify all. day. long. at work.)

As luck would have it, while browsing through NPR’s First Listen albums, I stumbled upon an artist I’m really loving. And she just happens to be Guatemalan.

While I can’t understand most of Gaby Moreno‘s lyrics (though I’ve been translating some!), I can’t stop listening to her new album “Postales.”В She has a gorgeous, soulful voice that’s so authentic and full of emotion. Plus, many of her songs have a quirky, bluesy, folky sound that’s similar to other female artists I love, like Regina SpektorВ and Jenny Lewis.

NPR is streaming Moreno’s album for a limited time, and I’ve embedded the second track, “Tranvia” here. Give it a listen and let me know what you think!

(Photo via NPR)

I’ll Be Seeing You

This afternoon, I came across the coolest cards:В San Francisco print maker Niki Baker illustrates song lyrics, carves them onto rubber stamps and emblazons them onto paper.

I love the cards depicting Cat PowerPhil Phillip*’s “Sea of Love”В and The Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror.”В (It doesn’t hurt that I’m big fans of both of those songs!)

But my favorite design is of Billie Holiday’s “I’ll Be Seeing You.” The outside of the card says, “I’ll be looking at the moon” and the inside says, “but I’ll be seeing you.” SoВ forlornВ and sweet!

i'll be looking at the moon

P.S.

(Image via Foreign Spell’s Etsy shop; found via Scoutmob)

So Ready for the Weekend (The Countdown Is Over!)

Happy Friday! I’m so glad it’s the weekend–this week has seemed especially long, for some reason.

I’ll admit, when I need a quick energy or motivation boost at work, I’ll put on Beyonce’s “Countdown.” The rhythm is so infectious! And yeah, there are times when I’m listening and thinking of my own countdown until the weekend. So I was thrilled to discover this amazing video via Shoko’s blog. A super-talented 16-year-old donned a Snuggie and filmed a shot-by-shot remake of Beyonce’s video. Watch them side-by-side below. The kid certainly has attitude–and some serious skills!

What are you up to this weekend? I’m watching a roof-top Spanish movie with my sister tonight (only two weeks until I depart for Guatemala–I need to soak up as much of the language as I can!) and going to ballet. (I’m actually performing in a show next weekend and have had rehearsals all month!)

Have a good one!

(Thanks to Shoko for first posting the video!)