Boston is a music town. And Boston is a tech town. So it’s hardly surprising that Boston and Camberville produce an enormous amount of interesting stuff at the intersection of music and technology. Here are five of my favorite examples from this year:
, of Cambridge, created an addictive site that visualizes the use of samples in songs, and launched it with (of course) Girl Talk’s new album, All Day
. As you play tracks from the album, each of the samples used is highlighted and identified. The best part? It’s an ongoing project. So if there’s a song that you’ve always been curious about, go to the site and find out how you can participate.
It’s been a great year for Somerville’s The Echo Nest
, a music intelligence company. They closed on a major round of funding
, and provided the brainpower behind a host of great projects, like MTV’s phenomenal Music Meter
site (yes, I know you’re thinking “MTV? Doing something worthwhile with music. Really?” Yes, really. Check it out.) And they had a viral hit on their hands with The Swinger, a bit of computer code that can make any song swing by automagically time-stretching the first half of each beat and shortening the second. Check out some examples here
4. Dance Central and Rock Band 3
Across from the Middle East, an unremarkable office building houses the giant of music games, Harmonix
. While they face an uncertain future
, they released not one, but two incredible games
this year. You’re probably already spending your evenings rocking out or getting down in your living room.
What possible relationship can a book about a 35-year-old Brian Eno album have with the Boston music/tech scene? Geeta Dayal
, a Boston-based arts critic and MIT grad, wrote a short but brilliant book that investigates Eno’s 1975 album, which is deeply rooted in technology and technical concepts, especially in the field of cybernetics (defined and named by MIT professor Norbert Weiner
in 1948). Even if you’re not a techie, it’s worth a read for how it illuminates one artist’s creative process.