The Amazing Wheelharp!

This is a Wheelharp:

The Wheelharp

Despite looking positively Victorian, The Wheelharp is a a new keyboard controlled instrument with 61 strings (a full chromatic scale) which are bowed with actual bows! The Wheelharp also allows for different bowing intensities as well as having fully fitted damper and electric pick-up systems!

So how exactly does it work?

When the player presses any key (or keys) on The Wheelharp, the action moves the selected key (or keys)  respective string(s) toward a rotating wheel with a rosined edge, thereby bowing the string(s).

With the right pedal, the player controls the speed of a motor that turns the wheel, which varies the bowing speed of the wheel against the string and thus changes the dynamic effect. For instance, the wheel speed and the key depth can both be used to create swells and decrescendos. The action for each note can easily be removed as necessary for maintenance or string replacement.

The left pedal controls a full damper system that extends across the strings. An electromagnetic pickup floats above the strings and a piezoelectric pickup is mounted to the soundboard, allowing for the player to fully control the amplified timbre of The Wheelharp.

Here is a demonstration video of The Wheelharp in action:

The Wheelharp has been developed by Antiquity Music and manufacturing is expected to begin in June 2013.

How much will it cost?

Pricing (Linear Model or Radial Model):
* 5-octave range: $11,900
* 4-octave range: $10,900
* 3-octave range: $9,900

It’s already been described as a “Steampunk version of an orchestral sound library” which in other words means that if you want one, you’d better get one before either Tom Waits or The Flaming Lips buy the lot of them up and connect them together and end the entire World!

For much more information on The Wheelharp, including its history and musical demos, please visit the Antiquity Music site which is right HERE.

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Macabre, Weird & Wonderful Childrens’ Book Illustrations By Gōjin Ishihara.

Reddit is a wonderful place. I only recently discovered Reddit and even more recently than that I realised that you can search out specific words and phrases on it. I typed the word ‘macabre’ into Reddit’s search box and discovered the bizarre and frightening childrens’ book artwork of post WWII Tokyo based artist, Gōjin Ishihara!

From The Illustrated Book Of Japanese Monsters (1972):

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The next two illustrations are from The Illustrated Book Of Hell (1975):

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From The Complete Book Of Demons (1974):

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Gorgon. The Illustrated Book Of World Monsters (1973):

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Aliens In Ancient Japan. From the book, Mysteries Of The World (1970):

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From Sonosheet Book (1972):

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Prehistoric Man (1970):

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Spy Wars…

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The World’s biggest glutton from The World’s Greatest Wonders (1971):

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Precognition of plane crash. Mysteries Of The Body (1973):

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Nostradamus. Psychics Of The World (1974):

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Frozen planet. Year X: End Of The World (1975):

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Dark star gravity. Year X: End Of The World (1975):

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Some Drawings By The 13 Year Old Me…

My Mum unearthed some long lost drawings I did at school when I was 13 and gave them to me today.

Although they’re not very good at all, I remember getting really pissed off at the teacher for writing score marks on the actual drawing itself! Even the thought of it gets to me now and I’m 31! Ha Ha!

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“New York City: A True 8th Avenue Tale” By Bob Heaney.

My friend Bob works as a bouncer on the doors of The Tempest, a great little dive bar on New York’s 8th Avenue. A few days ago, Bob had this utterly jaw dropping story to tell…

A true 8th Avenue tale. Apologies in advance for the use of profanity and one particularly offensive term, but the story wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if it wasn’t quoted verbatim and uncensored:

It was a typical Friday night at Tempest and the evening had thus far been uneventful. We were expecting a decent crowd to file out of the Knicks game and into the pub, but until the final buzzer sounded in the Garden we would have to settle for the slow but reliable business from the handful of regulars and the odd passerby that stopped into the pub. Hoping to kill some time, I stepped out front for a smoke. Within moments of me lighting the cigarette, an unusual-looking fellow approached me. His clothes were far too big for his body (although his build was anything but frail) and he had a manic look in his eyes that was unmistakably the gaze of someone who wasn’t, as they say, “all together”. Far younger and more spry than the usual derelicts who mill about on 8th Avenue, I kept at an arm’s length as he made eye contact with me.

“Yo man, I need two dollars and sixteen cents” he announced with the trademark specificity of so many of the beggars and con men that practice their trade around Penn Station.”I don’t have any money” I replied.

Reaching into his pocket, he produced a Discman that had to have dated to the mid-1990s.

“But my motherfucking batteries is dead, man! I need to listen to my jams!”

“I’m very sorry, buddy,” I reiterated, “but I don’t have anything for you”.

At this point his glare went from crazed to menacing. His eyes assumed a steely clarity that was unsettling, to say the least.

“Is that how we going to play it, motherfucker?” he snapped, the inflection of his voice rising and becoming noticeably louder. “I just got out of motherfucking Rikers, asshole,” he continued. “Do you know what that means? Do you know what that makes me, motherfucker?!”

I took a step back and squared my shoulders, keeping my arms to my sides but otherwise assuming a fighter’s stance. I fully expected him to attack me at that point. Although his dress made him appear comical at first glance, he was nonetheless powerfully built. Just when I thought he was about to swing, however, he began gesticulating wildly to himself.

“It makes me a faggot!”

I looked at him with an expression of utter bewilderment.

“I got fucked in the ass every day there, and now I’m a faggot! Yeah! I’m a faggot! I’m a faggot! Whoooooo!”

He repeated the phrase over and over again, each repetition louder and more enthusiastic than the one that preceded it. As quickly as he had approached, he turned around and began walking away from me into 8th Avenue’s perpetual tangle of traffic. He raised his arms triumphantly above his head and continued to repeat his new mantra:

“I’m a faggot! I’m a faggot! I’m a faggot! Yeah!”

Halfway across the street, he approached an off-duty yellow cab that was sitting in traffic. With one abrupt motion, he grabbed the handle to the driver’s door and swung it open violently. The terrified driver cowered in fear as our hero leaned in and screamed into his ear:

“I’M A FAGGOT!”

Without another word, he calmly walked away from the cab with his arms still raised skyward, sauntering down 30th Street like the heavyweight champion of the world.

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Rejected Album Artwork: David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World”.

This is how we all know and recognise David Bowie’s album “The Man Who Sold The World”:

Ah, but things could’ve been very different…

The original 1970 US release of “The Man Who Sold The World” employed a cartoon-like cover drawing by Bowie’s friend Michael J. Weller, featuring a cowboy in front of the Cane Hill mental asylum.

The first UK cover, on which Bowie is seen reclining in a Mr Fish “man’s dress”, was an early indication of his interest in exploiting his androgynous appearance. The dress was designed by British fashion designer Michael Fish, and Bowie also used it in February 1971 on his first promotional tour to the United States, where he wore it during interviews despite the fact that the Americans had no knowledge of the as yet unreleased UK cover.

It has been said that his “bleached blond locks, falling below shoulder level”, were inspired by a Pre-Raphaelite painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

The 1971 German release presented a winged hybrid creature with Bowie’s head and a hand for a body, preparing to flick the Earth away.

The 1972 worldwide reissue by RCA Records used a black-and-white picture of Ziggy Stardust on the sleeve which remained until 1990 when the Rykodisc reissue reinstated the original UK “dress” cover. It also appeared on the 1999 EMI remaster.

“Oh By Jingo!” indeed.

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