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Delia Derbyshire Demonstrates How Electronic Music Was Made at BBC Radiophonic Workshop

posted by Jason Kottke   May 05, 2022

In this video from 1965, electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire, who arranged the original theme music for Doctor Who, demonstrates how electronic music was made at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. It’s such a treat watching her construct songs from electronic sound generators and sampled sounds played at different speeds and pitches; you can even see her layering sounds on different tape machines and beat matching, just like DJs would years later.

Amazingly, you can try your hand at layering and looping this music yourself with this Tape Loops demo from the BBC. You can also make Dalek and Cybermen noises with the Ring Modulator, create Gunfire Effects, or use the Wobbulator (my favorite).

See also The Definitive Guide to Doctor Who Theme Music, the trailer for Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and the Legendary Tapes, and this incredible proto-techno track Derbyshire made in the 60s. (via @austinkleon)

Contra Chrome

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 21, 2022

Back in 2008, Google commissioned comic artist Scott McCloud to create a comic book to celebrate/explain the launch of their Chrome web browser. Since then, Chrome has become a vital part of Google’s core business, an advertising juggernaut that works by tracking users and their interests across the entire web. To better reflect the reality that “Google’s browser has become a threat to user privacy and the democratic process itself”, comic artist and activist Leah Elliott has cheekily created an updated comic book in the style of the original. She calls it Contra Chrome.

a page from Leah Elliott's comic about the Chrome web browser

a page from Leah Elliott's comic about the Chrome web browser

Severance Intro with The Office Theme Song

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 11, 2022

When you think about TV shows about the workplace, The Office is likely top of mind. So, cutting an intro to new workplace darling Severance to match the visual style of The Office intro with The Office theme song was going to happen eventually…and here it is. Nicely done.

See also The Unskippable Opening Credits for Severance.

Impeccable Digital Recreations of TV Game Show Sets

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 30, 2022

digital recreation of the set of Jeopardy!

digital recreation of the set of The Price Is Right

digital recreation of the set of Match Game

If you, like me, grew up semi-obsessively watching game shows from the 70s and 80s, you will get a big kick out of this. Photographer Steven Rosenow makes incredibly accurate digital renderings of the sets of old game shows like Jeopardy!, The Price Is Right, Wheel of Fortune, Match Game, and Family Feud, which he shares with a Facebook group called Eyes of a Generation. David Friedman shared some of these recreations in his newsletter. Here’s Rosenow’s notes on the Price Is Right set:

This was a fairly difficult set to model in 3D even though I had blueprints of the set to work with, as well as blueprints of CBS Studio 33… Assistance in this project was provided by the current owner of Door No. 2, who bought it from CBS when it was auctioned off.

I might have a new aspiration in life: to be “the current owner of Door No. 2”. (via waxy)

Succession But It’s Arrested Development

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 24, 2022

You might have noticed that the two families in Succession and Arrested Development share some similarities — business-focused, rich, dysfunctional, sibling rivalry. Luís Azevedo explored the likeness with this video of scenes from Succession with music & Ron Howard’s voiceover from Arrested Development. So good. Also worth a look: scenes from Arrested Development with the music from Succession.

See also The Simpsons Parody of Succession and The Succession Theme Works Over Any TV Show Title Sequence.

Better Names for Food

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 17, 2022

several foods illustrated with proposed 'better' names for each

Nathan Pyle has come up with some alternate names for everyday foods: wheat wands for breadsticks, leafbucket for salad, fried beans 2.0 for refried beans, guac cartridge for avocado, and breadcocoon meatapillar for corn dogs. Click through for more.

Brilliant Slowed Down 80s Pop Hits by Alvin & the Chipmunks

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 17, 2022

This is an oldie but a goodie: Brian Borcherdt took an album of 80s covers sung by Alvin & the Chipmunks (Walk Like an Egyptian, My Sharona, Always On My Mind) and played them at 16 RPM on a record player. The effect “revealed what was secretly the most important postpunk/goth album ever recorded”.

Every time I hear the version of “You Keep Me Hanging On” on this video I just collapse laughing because it sounds exactly like what would happen if The Afghan Whigs were given the sound of Peter Gabriel’s 1982 SECURITY. That opening! That’s f**king “San Jacinto” right there!

See also the same treatment given to a 1998 album of Chipmunks dance mixes.

Minimalist Wordle Grid Art

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 10, 2022

The Twitter account 5x6 Art is posting extremely abstract versions of notable artworks using the constraint of fitting them into Wordle’s familiar 5x6 pixel grid.

Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring rendered in a 5x6 pixel grid

Banksy's Girl with Balloon rendered in a 5x6 pixel grid

Gentileschi's Judith Beheading Holofernes rendered in a 5x6 pixel grid

Goya's Saturn Devouring His Son rendered in a 5x6 pixel grid

Obviously when you’re reducing artworks down to only 30 pixels of information, some of these are going to work better than others (e.g. Rothko and Mondrian). Still, some of the more detailed ones are just recognizable if you squint.

Did Dua Lipa Plagiarize Levitating?

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 07, 2022

One of the biggest hits of the past two years has been Dua Lipa’s Levitating — this catchy disco-inflected tune didn’t hit #1 in the US but has set quite a few records for Billboard chart longevity (e.g. 41 weeks in the top 10). Lipa, her label, and her co-writers were recently hit with a lawsuit 1
by a band called Artikal Sound System alleging that Levitating was ripped off from their song, Live Your Life. At first glance, Artikal Sound System seems to have a point — take a listen to Levitating and then to Live Your Life.

But! As Adam Neely explains in this video, if you listen to it with an expert ear and with the history of music in mind, their case doesn’t seem so ironclad. For starters, Rosa Parks by Outkast (1998) and Blame It on the Boogie from The Jacksons (1978) contain very similar rhythms.

  1. And just today brings news of a second lawsuit: “songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer allege that Lipa ‘duplicate[d]’ the ‘signature’ opening melody for ‘Levitating’ from their 1979 song ‘Wiggle and a Giggle All Night’ and 1980 song ‘Don Diablo’, performed by Cory Daye and Miguel Bosé respectively.”

Tarantino’s Fan Fiction: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 23, 2022

From Kirby Ferguson (Everything is a Remix), a short video essay about how Quentin Tarantino remixed reality in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Quentin Tarantino is well-known for mashing up different movies into his own. The peak of this method is Kill Bill, which is loading with bits taken from other films. Since then, Tarantino seems to have changed — there hasn’t been nearly so much obvious copying in his movies. But actually he’s still doing the same thing. He’s just copying in a different way, and the sources he copies from are less often movies and more often reality.

Alien in 60 Seconds

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 21, 2022

In just one minute and with what seems like a budget of only $60, these folks made their own version of Alien. The effects, they are certainly special. Remember sweded films? (via digg)

“OK Computer but Everything Is My Voice”

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 15, 2022

YouTuber shonkywonkydonkey takes songs and reworks them using only his voice — all the original instruments, vocals, sound effects, etc. are replaced by his vocals. The results are waaay better than you would expect. His magnum opus is probably the entire album of Radiohead’s OK Computer (yes, all 53 minutes, 26 seconds of it):

I am also partial to Everything In Its Right Place:

Hard to Explain by The Strokes is great too:

You can check out the rest of his efforts here. (via @aaroncoleman0)

Titanic with a Cat

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 15, 2022

What if Titanic, but with a cat in a leading role alongside Leonardo DiCaprio? This is pitch-perfect, right down to the post-credits scene.

See also Paddington in Film. (via waxy)

The Seinfeld Theme Mixed With A Hit Song From Every Year Seinfeld Was On TV

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 03, 2022

Seinfeld2000 and kottke.org favorites The Hood Internet teamed up to make this video of the Seinfeld theme song mixed with a song from every year the show was on the air. So: Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty, Poison by Bell Biv DeVoe, Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, Bulls on Parade by Rage Against the Machine, and Around the World by Daft Punk. Genius. I could not love this anymore than I do.

See also Darth Costanza and How the Seinfeld Theme Song Was Made. (via waxy)

Medieval Versions of Contemporary Corporate Logos

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 01, 2022

I love these medieval versions of familiar logos by Ilya Stallone, available on his Instagram account.

a medieval-style version of the Microsoft Windows logo

a medieval-style version of the Audi logo

a medieval-style version of the Instagram logo

The best ones cleverly translate the central element in the logo into something more temporally appropriate — e.g. the figurative MS windows into actual stained glass, Instagram’s camera into a colorful painting, Audi’s rings into wagon wheels. (via sidebar)

The Vega Brothers from Quentin Tarantino

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 14, 2022

One of the (I would assume) many movie ideas from Quentin Tarantino that never quite got off the ground was a prequel about the Vega brothers starring Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs’ Vic Vega) and John Travolta (Pulp Fiction’s Vincent Vega). In this imagined trailer for The Vega Brothers, Luís Azevedo cleverly uses footage from older films starring Madsen & Travolta that Tarantino synthesized into Reservoir Dogs & Pulp Fiction as well as subsequent movies starring Madsen & Travolta that were in turn influenced by Reservoir Dogs & Pulp Fiction and fashions it into a coherent, fun narrative.

Brik Font: Creating Type with Lego

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 05, 2022

Craig Ward has been creating letterforms using Lego bricks and posting the results to Instagram. The ones I really love are the anti-aliased letters — reminds me of zooming all the way in to do detail work in Photoshop back when I was a web designer.

the word 'ok' made out of Lego bricks

the letter 's' made out of Lego bricks

the letter 'f' made out of Lego bricks

the letter 'a' made out of Lego bricks

There is just something so satisfying about meticulously rendering digital artifacts in a physical medium like Lego.

Redesigned Book Spines by Ootje Oxenaar

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 04, 2022

some book cover spines redrawn by Ootje Oxenaar

some book cover spines redrawn by Ootje Oxenaar

some book cover spines redrawn by Ootje Oxenaar

some book cover spines redrawn by Ootje Oxenaar

Over a period of 50 years, legendary Dutch designer Ootje Oxenaar drew replacement book cover spines for the books in his library. A selection of his spine replacements are collected in a book called Ootje Oxenaar Spines.

Although renowned for his designs for Dutch banknotes and postage stamps, Oxenaar was a prolific designer of book spines. This wasn’t done for commercial publishers, but for books in his own library. When he didn’t care for what he saw poking out from a shelf (or when he needed to procrastinate) he would make his own spine for a book. The result is a fantastic and fantastical mosaic made of tall-and-skinny strips, hand-lettered and drawn with great skill and great whimsy.

Check out Steven Heller’s post at Print for more examples. (via i love typography)

Dreamy & Surreal Imagery by KangHee Kim

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 23, 2021

clouds appear to come out of the top of a gas station canopy

a transparent road sign says 'Hope 1/2 Mile'

clouds in the middle of a lamp

a cloud nestles in a tre branch above a cliff face

Loving these fanciful and playful manipulated photos by KangHee Kim, which can be found on her Instagram or her series Street Errands.

Tiny Soccer Stars

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 01, 2021

a tiny Erling Haaland celebrating a goal

a tiny Lionel Messi celebrating a goal with a normal sized Neymar

a tiny Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring a goal

a tiny Kobe Bryant dunking

I am a little bit obsessed with Phetru’s miniaturized soccer stars (along with the occasional other sports stars or celebrities, like Kobe above or Emma Raducanu) — they’re like bobbleheads come to life. It was tough picking out just 3 or 4 to feature…each successive photo was funnier than the last.

The Library of Misremembered Books

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 01, 2021

book with a cover that reads 'Looking for a Book, It's Red'

book with a cover that reads 'Ice Was in the Title'

book with a cover that reads 'The Book About the Magazine'

In her new book Library of Misremembered Books, Marina Luz creates new book covers from the vague and hilarious ways in which people can’t recall the exact names of books.

Anyone who has worked in a bookstore knows only too well that moment when a customer approaches by saying, “So I don’t remember the title, or the author, but-.” And we’ve all been on the other side of the counter, trying to pinpoint something we can’t quite describe at a bookstore (“It’s a murder mystery, but also quite funny”), or at a video store (“Could be subtitled, but then again, now that I think about it, maybe it wasn’t”), or at a mechanic (“The car is kind of going gu-chunk, gu-chunk; except on hills, when it’s more of a clickety-tickety”). We are usually left not only without an answer, but also with the overwhelming sense that we have lost some small piece of our dignity in the attempt.

See also (via this thread) a list of misremembered titles from the Fukui Prefectural Library in Japan. (via literary hub)

Star Wars Oil Paintings

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 15, 2021

oil painting of Star Wars X-Wing fighters

oil painting of Star Wars X-Wing fighters and the Millennium Falcon

oil painting of Star Wars X-Wing fighters and the Death Star

oil painting of Star Wars X-Wing fighters

Check out these expressive impressionist oil paintings of scenes from Star Wars by Naci Caba. (He also does paintings of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.) Seeing futuristic sci-fi rendered in this medium is giving me a bit of cognitive dissonance.

You can buy prints and even the original oil paintings in his shop or at Etsy. (via digg)

The Walk of Life Hypothesis

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 08, 2021

The Walk of Life Project has set out to prove a simple hypothesis: Walk of Life by Dire Straits is the perfect song to end any movie. Like There Will Be Blood:

Or Dr. Strangelove:

Or Terminator 2:

Case closed, I think! (via fave 5)

Holographic Chromed Logos

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 08, 2021

colorful NASA logo

colorful Apple logo

colorful Burger King logo

colorful Prada logo

colorful Star Wars logo

I love these colorfully chromed-out logos designed by Martin Naumann — you can find dozens of them on his Instagram and at Behance. You can also buy an icon set of these logos for your phone.

As he explained on Behance, Naumann’s process for designing these is surprisingly simple — he zooms way in on RGB noise to generate a background gradient, blurs the logo, and then refracts the background using the height map. Cool! (via moss & fog)

Hall & Oates × Nine Inch Nails

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 07, 2021

A mashup of I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) by Hall & Oates and Closer by Nine Inch Nails. It’s perfect, absolutely perfect, like dipping french fries into a Frosty or rolling in the snow after the sauna. It shouldn’t be, but it is.

I want to fuck you like an animal
(I can’t go for that)
I want to feel you from the inside
(No can do)

I got this from Dave Pell at Nextdraft — he said simply “trust me” and I’m glad I did.

See also Taylor Swift × Nine Inch Nails and Carly Rae Jepsen × Nine Inch Nails, both of which are better than they should be.

Straight Outta Compton, Polka Edition

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 06, 2021

From a YouTube channel called There I Ruined It, this is NWA’s Straight Outta Compton reimagined as a Bavarian polka. You’re….welcome? (via digg)

Lego Versions of Iconic Album Covers

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 28, 2021

album cover for Nirvana's Nevermind built with Lego bricks

album cover for Madonna's True Blue built with Lego bricks

album cover for Radiohead's The Bends built with Lego bricks

album cover for Janet Jackson's Janet built with Lego bricks

Check out these iconic album covers rendered in Lego by Adnan Lotia on Instagram. (thx, jenni)

Fine Balloon Art

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 28, 2021

Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya, rendered in balloons

Judith Beheading Holofernes by Caravaggio, rendered in balloons

Balloon artist DJ Morrow has been branching out recently. Morrow makes elaborate balloon animals and other things but two of his latest creations are his amazing interpretations of Francisco Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son and Judith Beheading Holofernes by Caravaggio. I can’t stop looking at these. And prints are available! (thx, caroline)

Surrealist Architecture

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 15, 2021

a tall building with surreal addiitons coming out the top

a tall building with surreal shapes

an apartment building that's bent at a 90 degree angle

For his City Portraits series, Victor Enrich digitally modified photos to create absurdist and surrealist buildings that look like a lot of fun to live in.

See also 13 Jaw-Dropping Examples of Photoshopped Architecture.

Kaleidoscope Brain: 100 Visualizations of Moby-Dick

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 08, 2021

the letters of the alphabet in order of their appearance in Moby-Dick

the constellation Cetus (aka 'The Whale')

every color in Moby-Dick

Peter Gorman of Barely Maps has published a wonderful little book called Kaleidoscope Brain that contains 100 visualizations of Moby-Dick. Gorman read Herman Melville’s masterpiece last year and made these maps & graphics to help him make sense of it.

I read Moby-Dick in April 2020. For weeks afterward, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I started making maps and diagrams as a way to figure it out.

Moby-Dick is infamous for its digressions. Throughout the book, the narrator disrupts the plot with contemplations, calculations, and categorizations. He ruminates on the White Whale, and the ocean, and human psychology, and the night sky, and how it all relates back to the mystery of the unknown. His narration feels like a twisting-turning struggle to explain everything.

Reading Moby-Dick actually made me feel like that-like I’d mentally absorbed its spin-cycle style. I developed a case of “Kaleidoscope Brain.” The maps I was making were obsessive and encyclopedic. They were newer and weirder and they digressed beyond straightforward geography.

The book is available as a free download on Gorman’s Patreon — support his efforts if you find them valuable!

Above, from top to bottom: the letters of the alphabet in order of their appearance in the book, the constellation Cetus (aka “The Whale”), every color in the book.