Every December, musicians are beset by a case of anxiety — an anxiety that they subsequently push down into the bottoms of their stomachs with the help of a healthy douse of aloofness. And from whence does that anxiety spring? The ubiquitous glut of “Best of 2011″ lists, of course. Well, this year we decided to turn the tables, allowing musicians to play critic and choose their favorite music and tech innovations of 2011. Antacids sold separately.
We’ll be dishing up more lists of this nature as the days tick closer to 2012 (and the impending Mayan Apocalypse), so keep it here for more artist-aided illumination.
Eric Victorino: Number one music innovation? I guess most impactful would be bringing Spotify to American listeners, but my favorite is iTunes Match. I have a iPhone, AppleTV and an iPad that I can use to play anything from my entire music library, and I don’t have to have it taking up space on my devices. Love that.
Image courtesy of The Limousines, Facebook
2). OK GO DIGS SYNTHS
Dan Konopka: Our number-one new musical instrument is Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 (synthesizer). The tiniest, slickest, most interesting synth out there today. Funny, it looks more like a cosmetics case Princess Leia would’ve used. In actuality, it’s one of the more powerful, user-friendly sound design tools on the market. The built-in FM radio is a very unique nice touch. And wouldn’t you know it — it can fit in the average Christmas stocking! Hint, hint.
Image courtesy of Big Hassle
3). U.S. ROYALTY IS INTO THE IPHONE
Luke Adams: No iPhone left behind. Seriously, we’ve left band members before, but not an iPhone. This device has worked over, overtime for us in 2011. Many of our song ideas come straight from Voice Memo where quick melodies or sporadic jams are preserved. Google Maps helps maintain our friendship while on the road and streaming movies help block out your bandmate’s new favorite song that’s on repeat. It’s a gamechanger and perfect for the musician that’s on the go.
Image courtesy of U.S. Royalty
4). SPACECAMP IS ALL ABOUT ACCESS
Chris Egan: I could remark on Spotify’s American debut, ubiquitous smartphones and tablets, or even Matisyahu’s freshly shaved beard as outstanding music innovations of 2011, but the real winner is all of the above. Well, maybe minus Matisyahu. While the music industry is getting curb-stomped, the occupation of music through even more avenues than ever seems rather ironic, and this seems to be only the beginning of what’s to come. Whatever the outcome, such wide access to music certainly is the biggest new thing this year.
Image courtesy of Big Hassle
5). THE SO SO GLOS GO FOR INTERACTIVITY
Zach Staggers: The best music innovation of the year is definitely these new interactive music video thingies. It is important to remember that this interactive shtick stems from an older tradition made famous by the genius, R.L. Stine. Stine built a literary franchise in the 1990s that highlighted interactivity. His ‘choose your own adventure’ style Goosebumps novels paved the way for the Internet we know today. Alas, the Internet is as enthralling and scary as the series itself. Spotify is also pretty cool, kind of. It’s basically a lot like Napster but the songs are labeled correctly and buffering. It’s cool that there is no ‘bob dylan – stuck in the middle with you’ or any of that brand of funny business on Spotify.
Image courtesy of The So So Gos, Facebook
By Brenna Ehrlich
Header image courtesy of Flickr, ConvenienceStoreGourmet