A 50-year old synthesizer made a sound engineer trip balls just by touching it

Grateful Dead were a band notorious for their psychedelic drugs, a reputation they could still living up to 50 years later.

Can you get high off of LSD acidentally? Sound Engineer Eliot Curtis found out it definitely is, even if it’s been lying around since the 1960s.

Curtis had been tasked with restoring a vintage Buchla Model 100 modular synthesizer. When cleaning inside a panel module on the synth he found “a crust or a crystalline residue on it”. Attempting to scratch the residue with his finger to peel it off he moved on with his job.

That was until nearly an hour later when the sound engineer noticed a tingling feeling that happened to be the start of an acid trip. Although unlikely that LSD could have remained potent for 50 years the synth had been stored in a cold, dark place which could have kept the substance psychoactive.

But that begs the question, what was LSD doing on this old synth and getting a sound engineer high by simply touching it. The synth was created by Don Buchla, a large part of the counterculture in the 60s and this particular synth apparently found it’s way onto an old school bus of LSD supporter Ken Kesey and his followers.

Buchla also happened to be good friends with Owsley Stanley who was the Grateful Dead’s sound engineer and infamously created one of the most potent, pure strains of LSD. It’s likely that the synth came into contact with the hallucinogenic substance when it was in contact with so many notorious acidheads.

Wherever it came from it was quite the shock for engineer Eliot Curtis and telling of the synth’s storied history. Curtis continued to clean the old Buchla Model 100 afterwards, but made sure to wear gloves for the rest of the process.

Tinder’s ‘Festival Mode’ is for hooking up at festies

Have you ever felt like hooking up with someone at a festival isn’t easy enough? Well Tinder have a new Festival Mode regardless.

Tinder is the famous swiping app where you flick right or left based on whether you want to chat to someone, or just sleep with them. They’re taking their hook-up platform to the next level and bringing it to festivals because there isn’t already enough sex at a festival.

Tinder have added a feature allowing you to add badges to your profile showing which music festivals you’ll be at over the summer. From the Festival Mode card users will be able to find other users that are going to the same festival and arrange a meet up when the time comes.

Tinder’s CMO, Jenny Campbell said: “It’s no secret that Tinder is a must-have app for singles attending music festivals around the world. We consistently see a spike in Tinder use as tens of thousands of music fans come together, so we wanted to create a new experience that makes it easier to connect with other concert-goers before even setting foot on festival grounds. We’ve partnered with some of the biggest names in the entertainment and events industry to make that happen, and we couldn’t be more excited to help Tinder users find their crowd during these events for the rest of 2019.”

Rolled out this month, Festival Mode will be available for 12 festivals across the US and the UK.

Sir David Attenborough wants you to remix his 70 year old Indonesian recording

Legendary naturalist and beloved documentary maker David Attenborough is calling on producers to trance-ify his old field recordings.

You’re never too old to get on the EDM scene, as Sir David Attenborough is proving at 93 with his call to arms of electronic producers. Sir David has shared a field recording of sacred gamelan music in Bali that he made 70 years ago in the hopes that it will be remixed.

The 3 minute recording of traditional instruments was recorded during a search for a Komodo Dragon for his BBC TV series Zoo Quest, broadcast in 1954. Sir David hopes that an electronic remix of the incredible sounds will introduce the traditional music to a new generation of ears.

He recollects: “The villagers play this concerted music with extraordinary music with extraordinary precision and real zest. So it is haunting music that you hear every night – or you did in those days, in the villages of Bali.”

The man, who has brought a love of nature to people around the world of all generations and raised awareness of the wild world we live amongst, would often take a portable tape recorder to capture the sounds of local communities and music he came across on his travels.

Speaking to Songlines magazine last year, Sir David said: “Back in the 1960s, there were still parts of the world where European music had not been heard. The traditions that had been developed over centuries were still continued with no knowledge of Western styles of music, which since then have enveloped the world.

“So these sounds which I captured with that clumsy tape recorder 60 years ago have a quality that you wouldn’t be able to replicate today.”

The entries will be judged with the help of a panel including Mercury Prize nominee GhostPoet and BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Cerys Matthews. They will decide on 6 final entries which will be put to the public for a final choice.

Listen to the recording below and if you want to have a crack at the Remix Competition then head to the Songlines website: www.songlines.co.uk/news/songlines-and-prs-foundation-announce-new-remix-competition

There’s an orchestra in Thailand where every member is an elephant

Elephants are intelligent and emotional creatures and it seems that they don’t just love listening to music but playing it as well.

You might have seen the incredible response that elephants can have to music. It’s clear that these beautiful creatures are capable of eliciting emotional responses to art, some elephants even paint.

The latest in ‘wow elephants are complex creatures just like us!’ comes from northern Thailand. The ‘Thai Elephant Orchestra’ is a project at a conservation centre in Lampang, North Thailand that got it’s inhabitants playing music.

Started by accomplished musician and composer Dave Soldier and “Professor Elephant” Richard Lair. They created instruments far bigger and heavier than any traditional counterparts so it could withstand the strength of an elephant trunk hitting against it.

The results are incredible and show the elephants playing in unison and seeming to genuinely enjoy a cathartic release. Research has shown that elephants are able to distinguish basic melodies, giving them a unique insight into the world of music for a wild animal.

Soldier said of training the animals, which he expected to be difficult: “I thought that we’d have to give them a banana every time they hit it and an apple every time they made a note. but it was nothing like that – I would play it, hand them the stick and that was it. They were playing in a few minutes.”

According to locals it sounds like the music played in the Buddhist temples. Hear it for yourself and prepare to be amazed.

Can you make a good song by paying different musicians on Fiverr? This guy found out

If you don’t know about Fiverr, it’s a site where people can come together from all over the world and pay a fiver (or a bit more) for someone to take requests. It could be recording a video, making an announcement, doing a dare, or as in this case playing some music.

But if you tried to create an entire song using different musicians to write the lyrics, sing them, record drums, add synths etc. could it work? Find out the sometimes hilarious results in the video below.

Make cool synth loops in your browser with Tones

Build pretty loops, sequences and chords with this simple yet versatile synthesizer straight from your web browser.

Tones is a simple, open and collaborative music-making platform that works straight from your browser. It’s as simple as tapping a pattern of notes using dots on a board, each one representing a note in the scale. Add multiple dots to make chords and space them out to create melodies.

You can edit your piece by changing the key, scale, offset and also toggle a drum line on and off. Then to really start experimenting go into sounds and effect the filters, synth, shape and more to completely change the dynamics of your sound. It’s surprisingly deep with ADSR filters!

You also have Noise, Echo and Reverb effects to play with. Once you’ve got a pattern out you like you can add another to play afterwards, and select how many times you want each one to loop in a sequence.

The best way to find out how fun and cool Tones is to play with it yourself. You don’t need musical experience, just start playing around and making noise! It’s a great and simple way to have a bit of fun with music without leaving your web browser.

Head to: https://www.tones.fm/tones/calm

Watch this ‘Smash-Proof guitar’ fly through Marshall stacks

A Swedish company have made a guitar that even guitar-smashing veteran Yngwie Malmsteen can’t break even when it’s smashing through Marshall stacks.

Swedish engineering firm Sandvik have made a name for themselves in creating powerful tech that makes for an impressive display. Their self driving, 38-ton mining machine navigated through a glass maze last year before their CEO sent it smashing through the glass to exhibit their tech.

Their latest creation is something quite a bit different. Sandvik claim that they have created a guitar that is smash proof. The guitar is made of all-metal and uses the company’s precision techniques for a truly unique build.

To test their claim the company gave one of their metal guitars to guitar hero and serial smasher; Yngwie Malmsteen. Yngwie reckons that he’s smashed over 100 guitars on stage in his time playing so if anyone is a veteran in destroying instruments it’s him.

In their video you can see Malmsteen swing the guitar around, smash it into amps, launch it above his head and on to the stage. After tearing Marshall amps to dust with the guitar, Malmsteem says: “This guitar is a beast! I gave everything I had, but it was impossible to smash.”

The Smash-Proof guitar took multiple divisions of the company teaming up to create. They prioritised the use of 3D printing to help them accurately create a guitar that sounded good but with the “the strongest structure in the world”. Some pieces are as thin as a millimetre thick so building the guitar with precision was vital to making it work.

Machining process developer at Sandvik, Henrik Loikkanen said: “We had to design a guitar that is unsmashable in all the different ways you can smash a guitar. The engineering challenge was that critical joint between the neck and the body that usually cracks on a guitar. Precision was critical.”

To strengthen the guitar’s joints they connected the neck to the body by extending the neck to make up part of the body so it had a strengthened hub to attach deep into the guitar’s body. Watch the design process and making of this unique guitar below.

This tiny paper organ can actually be played!

This person has made a working organ entirely out of paper, even the reeds!
The mish mash of paper and cardboard even looks great! The only little bit of “cheating” is a small piece of transparent plastic to view the inside of the pressure regulator.
Watch the meticulously crafted paper instrument come together below. It sounds… well not surprisingly good, but it surprisingly sounds!

A study really found Skrillex stops mosquitoes having sex

The latest in ‘Why did they do a study on this?’ shows the anti-aphrodisiac effects of dubstep music on insects.

What does it take put a brainless insect running entirely off of it’s own instincts from shacking up with its kind? A bit of classic dubstep apparently is enough to kill the sex drive of even the most primitive of creatures.

A new study that looked at the effect of sound frequencies on insects and their abilities or ambitions to mate. Using information that low-frequency vibrations help to create sexual interactions in insects, the study looked at using noise to intercept sexual signals in insects – particularly the disease-carrying mosquito.

The study read: “Despite evidence that mosquitoes respond to sound frequencies beyond fundamental ranges, including songs, and that males and females need to struggle to harmonise their flight tones, the behavioural impacts of music as control targets remain unexplored.”

The study looked specifically at the effect of of Skrillex’s track Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites. It examined how it affected their abilities to forage, host attack, and to have sex. It found that in all cases with music on their activity was decreased.

To summarise: If you’re in an area populated with mosquitoes then playing Skrillex might help you to avoid being bitten or prevent them breeding more insectoid vampires near you. But what’s worse – a mosquito bite or listening to dubstep?

Win a sampling license for the most sampled track of all time

It’s probably not a surprise that a song about Impeaching the President has come back into relevance. But its sampling credits are where it really shines.

In 1973 The Honey Drippers dropped one of the most influential songs of all time. Their Richard Nixon protest song, ‘Impeach the President’, is not only poignant for it’s subject matter but thanks to its killer drum lines which are the most sampled in history.

For various reasons the song has come back into even more prominence in the past few years… To celebrate it’s prominence, and the fact it has been sampled in over 700 songs, Tracklib have launched a campaign to get people all over sampling the track and recreating it with their own artistic vision.

They are giving away the song for free so that anyone can chop it, flip it, screw it, whatever they want. Those taking part in the competition need to make a beat sampling ‘Impeach the President’ and upload it to Instagram with the hashtags – #impeachthepresident and #tracklibbeatbattle. Tag at least two producer friends in the post and then you’re in the running.

The first prize is a sample license for the track, worth $2,500, allowing you to legally use and make money from the track. Second prize is 100 Tracklib download credits, worth $200, and the third prize is 50 credits, worth $100.

Tracklib’s goal is to make legal sampling accessible for everyone. Find out more about the competition here: www.tracklib.com/blog/impeachthepresident