Music, Views and Nearly-News

Friday, February 27, 2009

Internet readers, both imagined (likely) and actual (less) - an epiphany:
The funky fresh gal pal Jacqui to which in this humble blog I have thrice referred, has apparently been posting all the succulent photographic morsels I've been promising you on a blog of her own! My ire is intensified by the tandem facts that A) she has been posting as long as I have, and has managed to produce more than myself, and B) her blog is, perhaps as a result of A), much more interesting than mine. Phooey.
As I stew in my bathtub, with only envy and resentment as company, I will tell you of two new projects.

Firstly, My Nightmare Kazoo.
I was wasting time in a professional environment when I stumbled across a video on youtube of a British man tinkering with Soviet gas masks, with semihilarious results. A few strokes of the chin and a memory of dusty things found in my basement inspired me to try to improve upon his design.
Rather than just install a buzzing element to an existing gas mask, I decided to add a trio of metal Kazoos from my local toy store. I was slightly appalled by the expense of these playtime funthings, but I managed to suck it up and remind myself of my important mission.
Here's the end result. In case you're wondering, it makes the wearer sound like a robot with laryngitis. I may tweak this device a little yet, so don't you fret, this is just to get your whistle wet.
Next up is a project in the works. I have a jaw harp that my pal the Cellophant brought back from her travels in Austria. What Austria was doing with a jaw harp I have no idea, but never mind, it's hanging on my wall now. Three nights ago, pondering my wall of instruments-on-hooks, I took it down and played it. The problem with this silly little instrument is that after about twenty seconds of playing, you want to stop. This is because you can experience everything it has to offer in a little under ten. Not very versatile.

So I'm taking it upon myself to make the neglected bit of metal more interesting. Thirty seconds of the attention is the goal. The plan is to find a budget skull somewhere - real would be awesome, anatomically correct would be great, Halloween decorations less so - and play the jaw harp on someone else's inanimate skull. A pickup on the inside consisting of a fuzzy overdriven microphone, and voila, the world's most macabre Idiophone.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ukulele Boot Camp - Day One

Because several people seem to be of two minds, one that the ukulele is a wonderful instrument that sounds like angels telling you all their campy secrets, and two that I am in a situation to impart ukulele wisdom upon them like a mother bird lovingly barfing into the open maws of eager birdlets, I have started my funky fresh gal pal Jacqui on a rigorous ukulele-learning regimen. The first assumption is correct, the second - we'll see. Since landing in Detroit from Philadelphia over the summer, I've started playing, and apparently inspired several people around me to start playing, collecting, fixing, and in one impressive circumstance, making, ukuleles. I'm worried this is all going to get very hip very quickly, but not enough to stop me from going through with this half-baked plan of uke proliferation.
The plan is this: Every seven days from now until my birthday (March 31st) we will add a new song to our repertoire. By April showers the fools shall have their day. Strumming on the street, making enough for tasty sandwiches. That's the goal, anyway.
First on the list is an ambitious one - "La Vie en Rose" by the ever-warbly, always-charming Edith Piaf. I decided this after discovering the lovely lady's entire discography online, free for the downloadin'. I highly recommend checking it out.

As we learn to dominate this divine instrument together, I'll post each performance as it becomes available