Music

Blow Your Mind: Musical Mind Control and Evolutionary Hangovers

There's nothing like a good infectious beat, especially if you're Carl Jung in Africa, fearful that an atmosphere thick with shamanistic African drumming will literally drive you insane. This little chapter from the famous psychiatrist's life also inspired this excellent Peter Gabriel track, "The Rhythm of the Heat." This is exactly some of the ground Julie and I tackle in this week's episodes of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.

Can music rebuild my brain?

It's been said that music has the power to soothe savage beasts, but what scientific impact does music have on humans? In this episode, Julie and Robert explore the influence of music on human brain cells -- and whether it can actually rebuild your brain.

Can you really laser proof anything?

Last week, Major Lazer and La Roux joined forces to release their "Lazerproof" mixtape, a mash-up of tracks from their respective 2009 debut albums. The title " is a take on La Roux's hit single, "Bullet Proof," and in addition to providing a sweet 50 minutes of electro, dub and hip-hop goodness, it also raises the question: "Hey, can something really be laser proofed?" The U.S. Air Force thinks so, which is why it put out a 2008 request for project proposals to protect future soldiers and weapons against the looming proliferation of laser weapons. The proposal called for the following:

Space Music: The Artist Behind SolarBeat

We live in a musical universe. The waves and patterns are all there; we have but to translate them into sound. Such was the case with the recording made by Voyager I and II, and the latest example can be found online in the form of SolarBeat, a flash-based musical tool with a cosmic twist. Created by UK musician, artist and graphic designer Luke Twyman, SolarBeat takes the movements of the sun's orbital bodies and merges it with the concept of an old-timey music box. As each planet completes a revolution, it "rings" an imaginary metal tine. In this post, SolarBeat creator Luke Twyman of Neverest Songs takes a moment to answer a few questions about this little slice of Space Music .

Space Music: Cory McAbee, Stingray Sam and the Space Musical

As we continue our voyage through space music, I thought it might be time to discuss space musicals. For my money, we just don't have enough song and dance pictures set amid the stars -- and there's an even greater dearth of musicals concerning the exploits of cowboy/roughneck astronauts. I speak of Cory McAbee: writer, director and star of "The American Astronaut" and 2009's "Stingray Sam."

Jonathan Coulton Talks Music, Technology and uPlaya.com

It's possible I went a little overboard in writing this week's Discovery News piece about uPlaya.com, the Web site that lets musicians upload a track for quick evaluation by music-savvy algorithms. The whole thing deals with AI's designed to judge a song's hit potential, and it goes a little into algorithmic musical composition as well. So I thought, "Who better to give a musician's perspective on the whole deal than former programmer and overall Internet music sensation Jonathan Coulton?"

Space Music: Desert Island Albums in Orbit

I think we all love playing the desert island game with books, movies and albums from time to time. You know the deal: "If you had to spend the rest of your life on a desert island, which three titles would you want with you?" I thought today might be a good opportunity to take a cosmic spin on the idea and imagine ourselves trapped on the International Space Station. Here's the key stipulation: You can only pick from the books and albums ALREADY in orbit. The good folks over at GovernmentAttic.org filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and received an official listing of all the books, movies, TV shows and albums in the ISS library. Hey, astronauts need to unwind too.

Orangutans Play Deceptive Music, as do Headline Writers

I love a good ape-related news story, so naturally I'm all about musical orangutans. But I also love an amusing headline. Lets look at some of the language that media outlets are using to sell this particular science story, shall we?