Scottish Music & Technology

IMG 5046Music and technology are both big interests of mine  (despite not being particularly skilled in either area myself!) so I was happy to write about how Scottish artists are combining the two for the new We Create section of The List.

As research I attended the launch of Music Hack Day Scotland, part of this August’s Turing Festival at Summerhall in Edinburgh.

At the launch Matthew Herbert spoke eloquently about the topic of music and technology, with some particularly interesting comments on the ethics of sampling.

We were also treated to a rather disquieting performance by Marco Donnarumma, whose biophysical system Xth Sense has been named the 2012 “world’s most innovative new musical instrument”. Basically, it takes the body’s own rhythms and translates them into a variety of synthetic sounds. Donnarumma’s highly physical performance certainly gave him the air of a mad professor intent on taking over the world by blasting everyone with dark soundwaves.

Afterwards I interviewed FOUND (creators of #UNRAVEL and Cybraphon) and Yann Seznec (founder of Lucky Frame), who also spoke at the event. Below is an additional quote from Seznec following Music Hack Day.

The Music Hack Day was Jim Wolff’s idea, and I’m really pleased I was able to get involved. There were so many positive outcomes from the weekend, I’m not sure where to start!

I was really proud to show off all of the amazing people and work that is happening in Edinburgh, for one thing. I think over the past few years Edinburgh has quietly become a very strong center of music technology and I think we really managed to show that off.

It’s also great to bring unbridled creativity and unusual thinking together with industry, just to see what happens – there were representatives from Last.fm, Spotify, EMI, and many other amazing music giants, and they were so excited to see people building wacky things with their products.

Finally, I think we managed to get people thinking about all of the different directions music technology can go in, from performance to teaching to listening to games and everything.

You can read the original article over at The List.

The Clear-Minded Creative: one of Scotland’s Best Websites

Don’t worry, I’ve not suddenly been overcome by a massive dose of hubris, but I am on a little bit of a happy high, because The Clear-Minded Creative been included in highly respected Scottish culture magazine The List‘s ahem, list.. of Best Scottish Websites, coming in at no.14 out of the 30 they mention.

It’s a particular honour because I’m in such tremendous company, from the brilliant resources for creative people that are Blipfoto and Central Station, to local eco blog Greener Leith and the excellent cinema blog Reel Scotland, to some of my favourite music sites such as Radio Magnetic, Glasgow Podcart, Song, By Toad, The Pop Cop and Is This Music?, and of course Lis from Last Year’s Girl who is one of our lovely Clear-Minded Creative Types. Plus a few other faves and a few that are new discoveries for me.

The List do clarify that they were looking for unique and interesting ideas rather than the biggest and best known sites (thankfully for me!) But of course some of my other favourite Scottish blogs are notable by their absence, as always happens with these things.

Once the full article is up on the List’s website I’ll share it here. But for now, here is an extract from the kind words that List writer Kirsten Innes penned about this blog:

The most recent start-up in our list, Milo McLaughlin’s fascinating blog does exactly what it says on the tin: it helps creative people stay focused and, er, clear-minded… McLaughlin is no catchphrase-spouting self-help guru, though. The blog is equal parts personal journey and guide, and was set up as much to help him trace his own clear-minded path as to assist others with theirs.

Which makes me extremely happy as it’s exactly what I intended this blog to be. Sometimes, when you feel like giving up, you get just the encouragement you need – and this, combined with everyone’s generous comments and tweets regarding my last post, have been really touching and helped me to stay positive -so  thanks.

If you’re in Edinburgh or Glasgow pick up the latest issue of The List now from all good newsagents – it also comes with a massive free Edinburgh Festival guide.

Update: The full list is now online