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.
For the second edition of “Top Music & Tech Innovations of 2011″ we spoke with another five bands, a good portion of which took a more, shall we say, playful approach to the question of: “What do you think was the biggest innovation in music and tech in 2011?”
Check it out below:
1). PYYRAMIDS WORSHIP SPOTIFY
Drea Smith: This year Spotify has become my obsession. I’d heard about it a couple of years ago from a friend who lives in the UK. When it came to the U.S. I was stoked. I make playlists all the time and share them on Facebook… You know, to show off my extensive and diverse music knowledge
2). THE ANTLERS MOON OVER MOOG
Darby Cicci: My number-one musical innovation of the year would have to be Moog Music’s Animoog iPad app. It has a beautiful interface, gorgeous sound, and I was ready to play it onstage after only five minutes of playing around with it. I can make some of the weirdest, craziest, and most beautiful synths sounds just by playing a chord and dragging my finger. Just not sure if it’s from the future or from outer space.
Image courtesy of The Antlers, Facebook
3). TOTAL SLACKER PLAYS INNOVATOR
Tucker Rountree: Upon much reflection, it would have to be the “VCR Guitar,” which I recently invented in 2011 by accident. It’s a wonderful melange of video and electric guitar mediums, creating a new spacial palette of sounds never heard before. The VCR is the body and the guitar neck is mounted to the bottom, while the strings hover directly above magnetic pickups that have been
fastened to the chassis itself, which receives the vibrations from the string as well as the VHS tape head harmonics and overtones!
Image courtesy of Total Slacker, Facebook
4). CLUBFEET DIGS DROPBOX & GOOGLE GROUPS
Montgomery Cooper and Yves Roberts: Dropbox and Google Groups are our joint #1 band innovation for 2011. Each member of Clubfeet has a personal assistant, and not all of them have great English skills (Monty’s assistant is from Guatemala and makes amazing Empanadas) so it’s hard to get messages to the whole band. One time Yves got his assistant to organise a recording session with Bennington at a studio and instead they found themselves being driven to at an ice cream parlour in Brighton for pistachio sorbet (*which became the song ‘Green Ice Cream,’ on the difficult-to-find Cold Licks 12″) .
So Google Groups lets us all communicate directly without remembering which of Sebastian’s email addresses is working or who is taking Vivian’s dictation. Then we keep music recording sessions on Dropbox so we can all work on them and keep them updated, wherever in the world we all are.
And they’re both free, allowing us to put all the money from our hit records into Betamax futures for our retirement fund.
Image courtesy of Big Hassle
5). THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART ACHE FOR THE ’90S
Peggy Wang: ReBirth app for iPad. I don’t use this seriously for anything, but it’s fun because you can make a crappy ’90s house song in like three minutes.
Image courtesy of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Facebook
By Brenna Ehrlich
Header image courtesy of Flickr, craigCloutier