Sunday, April 26, 2009

History of the Boombox , Composer Steve Reich, Clapping Songs, Read/Write Culture

An assortment of things that I'm looking at and thinking about this morning as I relax and digest the amazing breakfast I had. An interesting assortment of links and pieces on music, participation/community, rhythm, repetition and pattern.

History of the Boombox
The boombox enabled youth culture to take music to the street, to enjoy it publicly and in some respects launch a pop culture assault. The portable and read/write nature of the cassette tape further enabled the sharing and community aspects that powered the growth of hip hop music. This great short documents and celebrates the "ghetto blaster".

The social function was the analog equivalent and precursor to what happens now digitally. Hip hop music was very much "user-generated" and hip hop culture arose emergently from its community.

From NPR: A great profile on minimalist composer Steve Reich and his piece "drumming". The development of his work and thinking is fascinating, particularly the use of phased tape loops is very cool. The early pieces like "Come Out" and "It's Gonna Rain" are mesmerizing. I didn't realize until listening to this profile that Reich, like Philip Glass, drove a cab to support himself. (The work of both involve intense uses of repetition.)

Steve Reich was just awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his piece Double Sextet.

There is a strong connection between Reich shifting patterns with African polyrhythm. I love "The Clapping Song" by Shirley Ellis. A great combination of African call and response, clapping games and FUN.

Amusing/interesting video showing clapping patterns.

Larry Lessig touches gives a good historical perspective on read/write culture and music in his TED talk.

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