Toto’s Africa to play on an endless loop in the desert forever

Toto’s beloved track Africa, even more beloved in recent years thanks to being heavily memed, is getting paid tribute to with a non-stop loop ‘for all eternity’ in the Namib desert. 

Namibian-German artist Max Siedentopf has set up what is both an art installation and also a very unique tribute to Toto with six speakers in the Namib coastal desert that will play the band’s hit song Africa on an endless loop. The installation has been planted in an undisclosed spot where, running off of solar batteries, the speakers can “keep Toto going going for all eternity”.

The speakers and solitary, blue MP3 player – which only features Toto’s Africa in it’s library – sit atop white rectangular blocks amongst an endless sea of desert surrounding it. It looks incredibly peaceful and slightly lonely, with the sound of Toto’s Africa a constant in the expanse of emptiness that is the dunes of the Namib desert.

The song itself is a funny shout-out to Africa that Jeff Porcaro, Toto drummer and the song’s co-writer, described as “a white boy trying to write a song on Africa, but since he’s never been there, he can only tell what he’s seen on TV or remembers in the past”. The artist, Siedentopf says the song is worthy of tribute in the continent it’s based on because it’s “a song that is understood and liked all over the world”.

He goes on to say: “If no one hates it, no one will love it. I think having the worst sound installation is more interesting than just a mediocre installation.” Whilst the location of the installation has been left undefined Siedentopf has put a map on his website with a red circle over the 1,200 mile desert to narrow it down – making it purposefully vague. He writes: “I’m not too worried that someone will put it in jeopardy. Finding it might take some time.”

You can find out more on Siedentopf’s website: maxsiedentopf.com/toto-forever

Mongolian throat singing gets metal as f**k in this killer track

Can we all agree that Mongolian throat singing (also called Tuvan throat singing, Khoomei, Hooliin Chor) is super cool? Good, because it is. The Hu are a Mongoloian Hunnu rock band that combines the ancient and beautiful art of throat singing with fat, heavy riffs for something like you’ve never heard before and it’s WICKED.

What is a cow’s favourite instrument? This video reveals it

It sounds like the start of a dad joke but it’s actually an age old question; what do cows like to listen to? Well according Farmer Derek Kingenberg they love it when he plays the trombone.
Do they have a favourite song too? Well if this video is anything to go by then Lorde’s Royals is a hit as far as the farmyard is concerned.

Make your favourite songs last forever with The Infinite Jukebox

How many times have you been grooving along to a track you love and it ends far too soon? Your wish for your favourite tracks to last longer comes true with incredible, and slightly mind-boggling, Infinite Jukebox.

The Infinite Jukebox solves the age-old problem of the greatest songs also being the shortest songs – at least that’s how it feels because you never want them to end. It uses The Echo Nest to decompose tracks into individual beats which it analyses and matches to other similar sounding beats in the song, essentially allowing endless loops by skipping seamlessly throughout the song for a never-ending musical experience.

Each song in The Infinite Jukebox is mapped into a detailed song graph which shows each individual beat in a circle with line paths between each matched section. When the track reaches a branch it can then jump to the other part of the song it’s matched to and for the most part you will have no idea the song isn’t just continuing to play. This can carry on, in theory, forever.

The incredible program was created by Paul Lamere, music technologist and blog runner of Music Machinery, at Music Hack Day Boston in 2012. He felt inspired to create it for his weekend hack at the event based on his previous hack the Infinite Gangnam Style which essentially laid the groundwork but used Gangnam Style only. Unfortunately in the years since it was created you can no longer upload your own music to it but there’s a selection of existing songs you can use to exemplify how amazing this build is.

Speaking on it’s creation, Lamere said: “I did have to adapt the Infinite Gangnam Style algorithm for the Infinite Jukebox. Not every song is as self-similar as Psy’s masterpiece, so I have to dynamically adjust the beat-similarity threshold until there are enough pathways in the song graph to make the song infinite. This means that the overall musical quality may vary from song to song depending on the amount of self-similarity in the song.”

Go check it out for yourself and lose yourself in Rock The Casbah or Billie Jean for eternity!

The first music from Mars is out of this world… literally!

Andrew Huang is back at it with another awesome video that breaks new ground for music. This time he has left the atmosphere to create a new track using real sounds from Mars.
If you need inspiration on how to get creative with your samples then there’s no better place than Andrew Huang’s YouTube channel.

Matt Damon got into a fight at Christmas dinner over Weezer

Music fans are some of the most dedicated people in the world and are fiercely loyal to their favourite bands. This festive season Matt Damon got together with some of the Saturday Night Live crew for an early Christmas dinner but things got heated when Weezer entered the conversation.

Clearly Matt Damon is a “ride or die” Weezer fan and won’t take criticism of the band lying down. See how it played out in this hilarious video.

The story behind the festive hit ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’

Shakin’ Stevens has revealed the process that went into making what has become a Christmas classic dusted off every December, the hit ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’.

In an interview with the Guardian Shakin’ Stevens reveals how everything fell into place when he heard the song and felt it needed to be a Christmas song. Speaking to the Guardian Stevens said:

I always thought it would be nice to have a Christmas No 1 – if nobody remembers you for the rest of the year, they’ll remember you at Christmas. Bob Heatlie wrote the song especially for me and I thought it had all the ingredients for a Christmas single: festive lyrics, bells, the lot. I listened to it and I could picture snow.

In those days, pop on TV was mostly kids’ programmes and Top of the Pops, so we made a video at Santaworld in Sweden. The young girl starring in it had won a competition to go to Lapland. My son was one of the kids in the log cabin full of toys. Making it was such fun. The Santa was an actor – you’d see him in the canteen having a cigarette and a sherry and he couldn’t get his ’tache off. Because it wasn’t snowing, we had to hire snow machines. It was the same when I did the video for It’s Raining: we used rain machines and I ended up absolutely soaked.

I thought the song deserved to be No 1 and didn’t want it to be a No 2, but in 1984, Band Aid released Do They Know It’s Christmas? There was no way we could compete with such a high-profile charity single, so we held our song back for a year.

The Radio 1 “sleighlist” – the Christmas playlist – only lasted three weeks then, so you didn’t have long to get to No 1. Merry Christmas Everyone went from 38 to 10, then 2, and then it hit the top spot, by which time the rereleased Band Aid single was at No 3. I’m thrilled that people still play our song every year. It’s nice to be part of Christmas.

Read the full interview including songwriter Bob Heatlie’s side of the tale at the Guardian.

What is the biggest holiday hit of all time… and why?

You can no doubt reel off the names of iconic Christmas songs quicker than your own family names they’re such a big part of every year. But which is the most popular?

Every year we hear the same Christmas songs played over and over for at least a week, more depending on how Christmas mad the people around you are. Spotify have revealed the Christmas song that people love the most, streaming it over and over again every single year.

Mariah Carey’s ridiculously catchy and immediately jingle bell shaking ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ is a number one global hit and every year it’s the song that people come to the most for a festive jingle. Spotify have revealed that the 1994 hit is the most streamed song on their services every year as people switch out their favourite tunes new and old for the holiday season.

Sung by Carey the hit was written by Grammy Award-winning songwriter Walter Afanasieff, who’s written for Whitney Houston and Celine Dion too.  Speaking in an interview Afanasieff said that he thought the song would be too basic at first – but in the end that’s what made it a hit. Speaking to ASCAP he says: “The oversimplified melody made it easily palatable for the whole world to go, ‘Oh, I can’t get that out of my head!”

There’s a science behind why All I Want For Christmas Is You is a festive favourite thanks to it’s simplicity. Research by Goldsmith’s University in London discovered why simple songs like Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic do so well. Simple and repetitive songs allow people to emotionally connect with songs without having to try and they stick in our memory more because they’re easier to remember. In addition our brains experience a “cerebral, super satisfying high’ when a melody plays how we would expect it to.

The sounds of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ also features iconic, feelgood festive sounds. Ben Camp, assistant professor of songwriting at Berklee College of Music says: “The song starts with the sound of a glockenspiel, which, for some people, is enough to stir up memories of music boxes and sugarplum fairies and childhood joy.”

According to Spotify’s data the people who stream All I want For Christmas Is You the most are aged between 45-54, which makes sense according to what Professor Camp says. Camp explains: “If you were born anywhere between 1970 and 1980, the song’s going to have been introduced to you at a time in your life when you were the most emotionally susceptible to musical imprint.”

Another critical element of the song’s success, says Afanasieff, is its exceptional relatability. “The genius of Mariah doing a rock ’n’ roll is that she created—probably to this day—the only up-tempo Christmas love song that people like just because of the interchangeability of lyrics,” he says. “Anybody can sing it to anybody. It’s about everybody and it can only mean one thing, from father to child or mother to child or wife to husband, it’s just, all I want for Christmas is you.” And who can’t relate to that?

Get kids grooving with the Top 5 Children’s Christmas songs

Christmas is here and it’s time to get the speakers pumping those festive tunes so we can rock around the Christmas tree. Who enjoys Christmas more than kids?! Get festively moving and grooving with these 5 songs sure to get children excited for the 25th.

Jingle Bells

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Little Snowflake

Christmas Snowman

Christmas I Will Be Good