Tag Archives: music

Turkish-Romanian-Bulgarian-Jamaican rap heist

A large part of the credit for this post belongs to Christina Xu, who did most of the background research while I was in class looking at Google Images results for “giorgio moroder mustache.”

I was introduced to Türkpop darling Serdar Ortaç by an eccentric Turkish-Brooklyner-Turkish waiter at a restaurant adjoining a budget hotel in Istanbul.  I buy a lot of music when I travel, and I often try to get suggestions from locals I meet.  The waiter seemed like a good person to ask, since – judging from his habit of publicly announcing the latest developments in his sex life to the restaurant guests at breakfast each morning – I assumed we were on pretty familiar terms.  After faking my way through a few painful minutes of Yankees-Red Sox banter, I got directions to the nearest record shop and the names of his favorite Turkish artists.  One of his suggestions was the guy pictured below, posing with his… uh, I guess that’s a domesticated panther.

Serdar Ortaç with Unreasonably Large Domestic Cat

Serdar Ortaç with unreasonably large domestic cat. The next person to make a "pussy" joke about this album cover is getting a pointy stick in the eye.

I left the store with Ortaç’s latest album Kara Kedi (“black cat” in Turkish, whence the…) and an album of remixes from a couple years ago.  I find that remix albums are a solid bet when buying music by an artist I’ve never actually heard, because if I end up hating the artist, I can still usually find a palatable remix.

Strictly as a matter of personal taste, I’m not really a fan of Ortaç’s singing.  Türkpop gravitates strongly in the direction of nasally belted lyric ballads, which ain’t really my thing.  His instrumentals are well off the hook, though – wacky strings and funked-out noodling brass all over some intense thudding bass.  Accordingly, I decided to do some chopping.  I took two tracks from Kara Kedi, extracted just the bits where Ortaç isn’t singing, and shuffled them all back together.  The resulting track is after the jump, at the bottom of the post. Continue reading


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Music By Any Means Necessary

I recently completed a long-standing goal: I shelled out for an Arduino Duemilanove, got my hands on some components, and built some stuff.  Toy Project #1 was the Photoflexophone, perhaps the least practical musical instrument ever invented.  Have a look:

The button on the breadboard selects between the photoflexophone’s three modes: light, flex, and off.  The off mode is the most important, since the thing makes infuriating noises if you leave it on.  The other two modes allow you to produce different pitches either by shining varying amounts of light on the photocell or by bending the flex sensor.  If you change the flex sensor out for a thermistor, you can also play it by altering the ambient temperature in the room.  If there’s ever been an instrument controlled by anything less practical than ambient temperature, I’d desperately love to hear about it.

At the moment it plays notes in the A minor harmonic scale, but it can play in any mode or just a continuous range of pitches.  The sound all comes from a piezo, though, so it’s pretty terrible.

Ingredients: Arduino, breadboard, flex sensor, light-sensitive resistor, push button, piezo element, a few ordinary resistors, and a whole bunch of jumper cables.


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