THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME, in Cleveland, Ohio, is best known for its raucous and dramatic induction ceremonies. But it also has a quieter side: a library and archive, full of research materials, artifacts and memorabilia, and shelves and shelves of old records. Earlier this year, the Rock Hall advertised that they were looking for a new librarian, a position that, judging from the response to Atlas Obscura’s story about it, is up there on many people’s list of dream jobs.
So who got it? After a long and rigorous interview process, 34-year-old Laura Maidens started as the Rock Hall’s librarian in early September. We caught up with her about playlist inspiration, Ramones-themed prayer cards, finding secret notes from Keith Richards, and other highlights of the gig. READ MORE: A Day in the Life of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Librarian | Atlas Obscura
Engel and Resnick are part of Google Magenta—a small team of AI researchers inside the internet giant building computer systems that can make their own art—and this is their latest project. It’s called NSynth, and the team will publicly demonstrate the technology later this week at Moogfest, the annual art, music, and technology festival, held this year in Durham, North Carolina.
Researchers from New Zealand have restored the very first recording ever made of computer generated music. The three simple melodies, laid down in 1951, were generated by a machine built by the esteemed British computer scientist Alan Turing. READ MORE: Listen to the First Music Ever Made With a Computer | Gizmodo
It was an idea brewing in the mind of CJSW station manager Myke Atkinson for a long time: a library to explore the varied Calgary music scene.
So the station approached the Calgary Public Library and, with the help of a $30,000 grant from the Calgary Foundation, built the Calgary Local Music Library. The mobile unit will travel to eight libraries over eight months and will house 200 CDs of notable local music, digital picture frames displaying historical Calgary music photos and posters, and a listening station, so people can sample before they borrow. READ MORE: Calgary Public Library and Local Radio Station Work Together to Launch Local Music Collection | LJ INFOdocket
After two years of prototyping, tweaking, and building, Martin Molin of the Swedish band Wintergatan finally debuted his enormous musical marble machine. The melody is primarily carried by a vibraphone whose bars are hit by falling marbles, but it also includes small percussion and cymbals, as well as a bass guitar neck. It even has a “breakdown” arm, which is a literal brake that kills the instrument’s flywheel—that huge spinning circle that’s primarily responsible for the marble machine keeping time accurately. Maybe most importantly, the song Martin programmed it to play is actually really freaking great. READ MORE: Wooden Hand-Cranked Instrument Runs on 2,000 Marbles | Gizmodo
Who knows…one day librarians may be cataloguing these audiophiles or a next generation version of…
WARNING: Do not try this!
Here’s something for all you hardcore party animals: when you can’t get to the rave, you now have the option of the “Audiopill.” It’s a miniaturized sound system housed inside a plastic microcapsule that you can swallow to groove internally to those sweet beats. And yes, it’s as crazy dangerous as it sounds. READ MORE: Swallow This ‘Audiopill’ At Your Own Risk To Get Your Rave On | Gizmodo
The Spotify playlist “1200 Years of Women Composers: From Hildegard To Higdon,” reveals that women started shaping what we now know as classical music far longer ago than most of us realize. (If you don’t have Spotify’s free software, download it here.) The playlist, which contains over 900 pieces and will take you days to listen to, begins in medieval times with the Byzantine abbess, poet, composer, and hymnographer Kassia and ends with female composers from around the world not only living but (especially by the standards of those who write orchestral music) still young, like Misato Mochizuki, Helena Tulve, and Lera Auerbach. This comes arranged by Spotify Classical Playlists, whose site describes how the playlist offers not just an anthology of women composers, but also “a brief history of western classical music…” MORE: 1200 Years of Women Composers: A Free 78-Hour Music Playlist That Takes You From Medieval Times to Now | Open Culture
The tiny, Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has a unique national aspiration that sets it apart from its neighbors, China and India. (And certainly the United States too.) Rather than increasing its gross national product, Bhutan has instead made it a goal to increase the Gross National Happiness of its citizens. There’s wealth in health, not just money, the Bhutanese have argued. And since the 1970s, the country has taken a holistic approach to development, trying to increase the spiritual, physical, and environmental health of its people. And guess what? The strategy is paying off. A 2006 global survey conducted by Business Week found that Bhutan is the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest country in the world. It’s perhaps only a nation devoted to happiness that could throw its support behind this — postage stamps that double as playable vinyl records. READ MORE: Postage Stamps from Bhutan That Double as Playable Vinyl Records | Open Culture
This video of Laurent Bernadac, an engineer and lifelong musician, playing the violin looks and sounds very little like a person playing the violin. For one thing, he’s also using a looper and effects pedals to jam out something funkier and jazzier than you’d expect from an instrument more commonly associated with classical and country. But, more ostensibly, Bernadac is playing something that looks more like an avian skeleton than a stringed instrument. It’s like the ghost of a violin.
It’s a 3Dvarius, a 3-D printed electric violin. It’s based on the renowned Stradivarius violins crafted by the Stradivari family in the late 1600s and early 1700s, but you’d have a hard time sleuthing out the shared DNA between the two machines. It is, as Bernadac says, “a new kind of musical instrument,” one with an algorithmically optimized weight and a digital sound. READ MORE: The 3-D Printed Violin That Could Lead to a New Stradivarius | WIRED.