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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The Soundtrack To My Life. 18/01/2013.

Hi folks! Here are some of the records I’ve been listening to over the past few weeks…

Record: Fashion Nugget.
Artist: Cake.
Year: 1996.

Cake? What kind of a name for a band is that? I heard Cake’s ‘Frank Sinatra’ song on an episode of “The Sopranos” years ago and always liked it. I never bothered to investigate the band any further than that until last week when I got “Fashion Nugget”. They’re an okay band but I think I only like the Sinatra song…

The Black Belles

Record: The Black Belles.
Artist: The Black Belles.
Year: 2011.

I found The Black Belles because they’re signed to Third Man Records which is home to one of my favourite bands Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three. Jack White (Of Jack White fame) is also part of Third Man and I think he even signed The Black Belles.

I like Jack White. I like to listen to him talk but his music doesn’t really do much for me. That’s okay but what’s weird is that The Black Belles do a lot for me and I know that their music sounds a lot like Jack White’s music. Strange. Maybe it’s because The Black Belles are girls. Maybe it’s because they all look great in those black hats. Maybe it’s just because they have better songs than Jack White.

I think that The Black Belles are a band to watch out for in the future!

Orphans (1) Brawlers

Record: Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards.
Artist: Tom Waits.
Year: Recorded 1985-2005. Released 2006.

My mate Sean go me into Tom Waits. I think it was maybe last year. I remember asking him which albums I should get and he said: “All of them. Get ALL of them.” So that’s exactly what I did.

“Orphans” is a big ballsy 3 record set and there’s something for everybody on there. This is my favourite track from the set and probably my favourite Tom Waits song in general…

That's Why God Made The Radio

Record: That’s Why God Made The Radio.
Artist: The Beach Boys.
Year: 2012.

Everybody loves The Beach Boys don’t they? How could a person not? It’s nice to see that they’re still capable of writing a good tune when they want to…

SinatraCollection [Converted]

Record: Live At The Meadowlands.
Artist: Frank Sinatra.
Year: Recorded 1986. Released 2009.

Frank Sinatra Live At The Meadowlands is such an incredibly good recording that I can’t even find any videos to represent it on Youtube. If you’re even a casual Sinatra fan the you should buy this record.

Because I can’t find anything to do with it on Youtube, here’s a video of Frank recording the song “It Was A Very Good Year”…

SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT CANADA INC. - Leonard Cohen

Record: Old Ideas.
Artist: Leonard Cohen.
Year: 2012.

Y’know how Leonard Cohen’s early records were sort of mournful and acoustic? And then remember how his early 90’s records were more synthesizer based? Well “Old Ideas” is a sort of mixture of both.

In The Jungle Groove

Record: In The Jungle Groove.
Artist: James Brown.
Year: Recorded 1969-1971. Released 1986.

James Brown at his fonkiest!

Dirty

Record: Dirty.
Artist: Sonic Youth.
Year: 1992.

Would you believe me if I told you that I only heard this record for the first time 2 days ago? I’m 31 years old. The only thing I can think of is that this record must have been very popular at the time. If something’s popular, I avoid it like the plague and then ‘discover’ it YEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRSSSSSSSS later when nobody is interested anymore. Good band that Sonic Youth!

Hellbilly Deluxe 2

Record: Hellbilly Deluxe II.
Artist: Rob Zombie.
Year: 2010.

Rob Zombie is never not on my MP3 player. I regularily jam this on in my ears…

Flash Gordon (OST) (Deluxe Edition) (CD1)

Record: Flash Gordon (OST).
Artist: Queen.
Year: 1980.

Is the soundtrack to “Flash Gordon” underated? Nobody ever mentions it. I love it. I love the multi-tracked guitars, the dreamy synths and the pounding drums! I love it all! Especially this track…

Doom-And-Gloom

Record: Doom And Gloom.
Artist: The Rolling Stones.
Year: 2012.

A solid rocker from The Rolling Bones!

Live At The Harlem Square Club, 1963

Record: Live At The Harlem Square Club 1963.
Artist: Sam Cooke.
Year: Recorded 1963. Released 1985.

A (excuse my French) fucking excellent live album from Sammy here! It’s so…LIVE! I know that’s not the greatest description for a live record but I’m no writer. Obviously. Look, just listen to this:

Where Are We Now

Record:  Where Are We Now?
Artist: David Bowie.
Year: 2013.

I didn’t know what to think when I first heard David Bowie’s latest release. It’s always the same. Bowie releases something, I dunno how to take it and then 5 years later I eventually get it! I did happen to notice something about Bowie’s latest, “Where Are We Now” but before I tell you what it is, let’s see if you can spot it for yourself…

Did you spot it? When I heard the song for the first time it seemed familiar to me. But how could that be?
And then it dawned on me…

Does this mean that Ricky Gervais had a hand in writing “Where Are We Now?”

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The Soundtrack To My Life. 13/03/2012.

“Bone Machine”. (1992).
Artist: Tom Waits.
Why You Should Get It: Track 3: ‘Such A Scream’.

I’m a bit of a newcomer to the work of Tom Waits (Thanks Sean!) but so far, I have four albums and…
(a) I already know that he’s a genius.
(b) I already know that I HAVE to investigate his entire discography.
With some people, you just have to don’t you?
So that’s-a-what-I’m-a-gonna-do.

Trivia: “Bone Machine” was recorded in an old cement celler and the album cover photograph was taken by Jesse Dylan, Bob Dylan’s son.

“Orange” (Single). (2006).
Artist: Fireband Boy.
Why You Should Get It:  8-Bit Nintendo Gameboy Chiptunes that will make you so deliriously happy that you’ll want to dance yourself silly all night and then jump all the way home whilst making Super Mario Bros. coin noises to yourself! …Also, you can get it for FREE right HERE!

I once caught a Firebrand Boy gig by sheer chance at the 13th Note in Glasgow because I was already at the bar when he started playing and I had a BALL!

This isn’t the gig but it’s pretty much what went down at the one I was at:

“Electric Mud”. (1968).
Artist: Muddy Waters.
Why You Should Get It: A concept album by Muddy Waters? – You betcha!

…And it’s a strange and funky beautiful thing!
Muddy gets a psychedelic makeover! Classics like ‘Mannish Boy’ and ‘I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man’ are here but they’re wildly different to the original versions. Expect backwards vocals and upside down guitars etc…and a whole lotta FONK!
Not funk.
FONK!

“Electric Mud” was an experimental album in sound (Old meets New) and it’s cool y’know! It works! I dunno why but it really works. ‘Mannish Boy’ sounds like it could’ve been produced by a Sgt. Pepper suited Lennon & McCartney and Muddy’s take on The Stones’  “Let’s Spend The Night Together” made me walk down the street with a 1970’s Harlem swagger that could get me a severe doing around these parts.

“Wrecking Ball”. (2012).
Artist: Bruce Springsteen.
Why You Should Get It: Well. I loved Springsteen’s “Working On A Dream” album and if you did too, you should take a listen to “Wrecking Ball”.

Just like with Tom Waits, I’m a bit of a Springsteen newcomer.
I didn’t get “Born To Run” until I was 27 but I started collecting his records straight away from there on.

I like his newer stuff better than his older records and like I say, I really loved “Working On A Dream”. It was so…American? Is that the right thing to say? Almost all of the tracks on that album had me punching the air and what the hell, I even liked “Queen Of The Supermarket”. I appreciate the odd bit of corn.

Most of my pals love Springsteen and so far they all seem to agree with each other that “Wrecking Ball” is a better album but I dunno about that. It’s definitely as good as “Working On A Dream” but I never measure albums against one another.
I just like them if they sound good and this does.

To me, this record kind of feels like “Working On A Dream: Part II” meets “The Departed” Soundtrack. Turn it up and let me know what you think of it.

“LIE: The Love And Terror Cult”. (1970).
Artist:  Charles Manson.
Why You Should Get It: You probably don’t need this. I’ve been reading a book about Charlie and I just got it out of curiosity.

It is a curious album right enough.
Neil Young briefly knew Manson and he’s said that Manson had a nice voice and some decent songs. He even tried (With no luck) to land Charlie a recording contract and I get what he means. Charlie’s songs are all delivered with passion but…well, y’know, it’s hard not to think of his insane plot to wipe out everyone on the planet when you listen to the songs these days.

Guns ‘N’ Roses once covered Manson’s “Look At Your Game Girl” and that really is a pretty song  A few of the other songs on this album are repetitive twangy out of tune hippie busker rants and well, I’m alright with that. Interestingly enough, ‘Cease To Exist’ was renamed ‘Never Learn Not To Love’, altered and covered by The Beach Boys. You can find it on their album “20/20”.

Ol’ Charlie should’ve really stuck with songwriting.

“Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings”. (1990).
Artist: Robert Johnson.
Why You Should Get It: Even if your entire record collection only consisted of the small amount of music Robert Johnson recorded in his short and mysterious life, you’d have one amazing record collection!

“Blue Monday” (12″ Single). (1983).
Artist: New Order.
Why You Should Get It: Because it sounds like THIS.

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