Text 17 Apr high-brow/low-brow

Owen Pallett (Canadian composer, musician, and he of Final Fantasy—the band not the game—and the 2006 Polaris Prize) has started a column that explains the genius of pop music hits through the lens of music theory. His maiden voyage is Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”.

“Teenage Dream” begins with a guitar sounding the I chord [explained earlier] but an instant later, when the bass comes in, the I is transformed into an IV (an IV7 chord, to be exact). The I chord will never appear again. Notice, too, how Katy’s melody begins on the tonic—tonic: the root note of the missing I chord, the same note that the key is in. She stays around the tonic, reinforces the tonic, and the vocal melody establishes the key so clearly that there is no doubt: Katy’s voice is “home”; the rest of the song is oscillating around her. Even when the tonic note would clash with the chord (as it does over the V chord, on “feel like I’m living a”) she hammers it home. Her voice is the sun and the song is in orbit around it.

I love how he talks abotu the title of the song sung in and out of syncopation at different points…

A particular point of pleasure: The title of the song (“Teenage Dream”) is sung syncopated on the chorus, but straight on the bridge. Compare the two in your head. Do you hear that? How brilliant. The title of the song is rhythmically weighted two ways—it’s like a flank attack. Two sides of the same face. You WILL remember the name of this song.

It’s all tonic, key, tension and release, and syncopation and it’s fantastically geeky. It’s real words for all the non-music-theory majors but not ridiculously dumbed down. It’s fun to pull the sing up on YouTube and follow along and rewind and repeat to really get all the points he’s talking about. Fun!

Text 16 Apr 1 note bears on stairs

If you’re an animator or work on animated films you’ve probably already seen this. For everyone else, this is not CGI. This is stop-motion based on 3D-printed models. Impressive!

DBLG's in-house studio projects are a platform for us to experiment with creative ideas and above all have fun. For The Stairs Project we wanted to explore the use of stop frame animation with 3D printing.

Text 15 Apr hand lettering the street

I wouldn’t have expect the technique for painting letters on the street to be so captivating and beautiful.

Photo 14 Apr It’s Palindrome Week!
(at least for those of use that put the month first)

It’s Palindrome Week!

(at least for those of use that put the month first)

Text 13 Apr 3 notes GoT rebrand

I found this a while back but was saving it for when our beloved Westeros was back on the air. It’s a pretty fantastic poster that rebrands the Houses of Westeros by simplifying their sigils.

There are hundreds of things I like and I tend to like those things better when they come together in unexpected ways as they do in this poster by Darrin Crescenzi: lovely, simple, single-thickness line icons and Game of Thrones, the glorious HBO series that features a sprawling cast of characters in the fictional land of Westeros, each belonging to a different family, each with their own sigil, and each with their own mythology. The poster renders the author’s (George R.R. Martin’s) descriptions of each sigil as if he were designing icons for Nike, which he does professionally.

It’s wortyh of some pretty serious geek-love.

Text 12 Apr triple point

the triple point is the temperature in which a substance exists in liquid, solid, and gas in equilibrium. This is what it actually looks like

As the liquid boils, high energy molecules leave the liquid as gas, lowering the temperature of the liquid left behind and causing it to freeze. This process of boiling and freezing continues while the substance remains at the triple point.

Super cool.

Text 11 Apr the quatrefoil

The last 99% Invisible posdcast was about the ubiquity of the quatrefoil.

Even if you don’t listen to the 17-minute (and very well done, as always) podcast episode about how (and why) the the quatrerifoil (which is, apparently, the universal sign of “fancy” and goes back to the Middle Ages) IS EVERYWHERE once you start looking, check out the short blog post with pictures and a little history that goes way, way back.

The quatrefoil presumably made its way to Europe by way of the Silk Road. It was carved and printed on small and easily-transportable objects such as carpets, velvets, and silks brought into Europe as luxury objects.

Even just thinking back to the last few weeks, it really is all over the place. Including…

Bonus video… look for the quatrefoils!

Text 10 Apr sport-ification

Jason Kottke makes a pretty good point in response to a tirade that hates on folks who have objectified their coffee. His point is that everything seems to have become a sport these days. This is the kind of trend piece the NYT should write… not folks who wear band-aids as fashion accessories.

Coffee, like almost everything else these days, is a sport. Everyone has a favorite team (or coffee making method or political affiliation or design style or TV drama or rapper or comic book), discusses techniques and relives great moments with other likeminded fans, and argues with fans of other teams. The proliferation and diversification of media over the past 35 years created thousands of new sports and billions of new teams. These people turned hard-to-find nail polish into a sport.These people support Apple in their battle against Microsoft and Samsung. This guy scouts fashion phenoms on city streets. Finding the best bowl of ramen in NYCis a sport. Design is a sport. Even hating sports is a sport; people compete for the funniest “what time is the sportsball match today? har har people who like sports are dumb jocks” joke on Twitter. Let people have their sports, I say. Liking coffee can’t be any worse than liking the Yankees, can it?

Text 10 Apr the time has come

I was reminded of early Spoon songs today… time to pull them back out again… 

Text 9 Apr pins and rubber bands

This is cute. I want to show it to my niece.


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