Musical Mischief

Serendipity plays a hand in these posts — more often than not one post leads to another.

This is one of those times.

The last post about Furby Hacking left me itching to explore another Road Not Taken.

It turned out that Sam Battle’s odd creation, Furby Organ, led YouTube to suggest all sorts of other intriguing music related mischief to explore. So I took the bait and went surfing.

The first, most insistent suggestion that YouTube made was to take a look at Wintergatan’s unusual Rube Goldberg’esque extravaganza called the Marble Machine!

Like many other music hackers, they posted numerous videos about how they did it on their YouTube Channel. That includes “How it Works” Part 1 and Part 2. You can also visit the retired Marble Machine at the Speelklok Museum in Utrecht.

Next YouTube incessantly suggested that videos from Animusic were worth a watch.

Right again!

Animusic also posted a video about making it on their YouTube Channel.

A little less predictable was a video about how Intel actually built a physical Pipe Dream demo for a conference. Take a look, but be aware that it’s not until the middle of the video that you can start to get the gist of the demo.

Talk about Rube Goldberg’esque!

Next up was another video from Animusic with a distinctly different vibe.

A musician on YouTube calling himself SirGagarin just couldn’t resist posting his take on the genre using Hot Butter’s synth-pop instrumental Popcorn!

All of this couldn’t help but remind me of the Grand Daddy of all musical tech wizardry, Disney’s Fantasia. If you haven’t seen it, then it’s definitely a “must see” for your bucket list.

Of course, Fantasia has been re-imagined many times over the years, and modern digital wizardry has aided and abetted in adding a few honorable mentions to that pantheon.

For example, here is a 360° video of the LA Philharmonic playing the iconic opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, appropriately enough, at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Be sure to stick with it and look around to get the full Fantasia effect.

Disney also produced a modern take on Fantasia entitled The Sorcerer’s Apprentice that had a fun scene featuring the hit song Secrets by One Republic.

It always struck me as a shame that no 360° version of that scene was ever made. Apparently I wasn’t alone. There are a couple of 360° fan videos by some school kids and a cover band that try to get the job done as best they can.

Perhaps One Republic felt the same way, too.

They never did a 360° video for Secrets, but later on they did make an enchanting 360° video of their hit song Kids. It’s worth a watch, or even better, two. It so well done that it takes a few viewings to catch how much is going on in the scene.

Like all great musical tech wizards, they also did a “behind the scenes” and posted it on their YouTube Channel.

Now here’s another inductee into this informal “Musical Tech Wizard Hall of Fame” that’s evolving right here in this post.

If you watch television at all, then you’ve probably seen a commercial for the Elton John biopic Rocketman that’s being released May 30th. It’s timing coincides with his final world tour Farewell Yellow Brick Road that will include more than 300 shows across five continents.

What you may not know is that at the same time as he announced the tour, he also published a lovely 360° video that includes recreations of some of his most iconic performances.

As you watch the video, you can’t help but wonder how it was made. The good news is that you don’t have to guess, because being the great music hacking wizard that he is, Elton John also posted a Making of Farewell Yellow Brick Road that explains the amazing amount of work that went into the clip.

While on the topic of tech wizards of the musical world, it would be remiss to not also include another leader of the pack.

Paul McCartney has never been one to shy away from cutting edge tech, so it’s no surprise that he was one of the first artists to publish a 360° video of a live concert — it was filmed during his historic final show at Candlestick Park. Sadly, that video is not available on YouTube, but a couple of his other forays into 360° video are on his Pure McCartney YouTube Channel.

Here’s one of them that’s an amusing experiment in multimedia and montage.

This exploration of musical mischief making could go on and on. In fact, it already has in a couple of earlier posts, so you can pick your own adventure by exploring U2’s Tech Wizardry and/or Coldplay’s Cool Gadgetry.

Finally, I can’t resist sharing my own little experiment in music related mischief.

Here’s the Music Heaven microworld that I made as part of the Toy Worlds 3D visual interface to Cosma (see post). Like the other “Toy Worlds,” it was made by taking a shot of a diorama with a RICOH Theta 360° camera and then uploading it to RoundMe. The links lead to YouTube videos and Cosma pages about musical instruments. It works best in Chrome.

Enjoy & Happy Weekend!

Find out more about music and especially the 360° variety