Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is an incredibly challenging song to play when you have the proper instruments. To prove his bass-playing chops, musician Zander Zon managed to perform a compelling rendition entirely on his bass guitar. We’re amazed that he was able to extract such range from the 4-string instrument.
THE BEST Music
The Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra is best known for their classic Russian tunes, but they also enjoy the occasional rock and roll song. Here, their balalaika section performs a cover of the 1971 Led Zeppelin classic Stairway to Heaven. We had no idea that a contrabass balalaika was a thing.
After listening to a great performance by a street musician, sound engineer Marten Berger found himself inspired. He spent two years on the road, traveling across 25 countries in search of the best performers, then recorded many of them in his studio on wheels. A collection of recordings are available for sale on his website.
Burning Man, Lollapalooza, and Coachella owe their existence to a series of 1980s guerrilla punk rock events in the California desert. Stuart Swezey’s documentary combines interviews of punk and post-punk luminaries with performances by Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Perry Farrell, and more. Drops 9/13/19.
Michel Gondry’s music videos, TV shows, and films deftly combine humor, childlike whimsy, and in-camera effects to entertain our brains. In this clip from Polyphonic, essayist Noah LeFevre explains how Gondry’s background as a percussionist has influenced his work through rhythmic, repetitive, and redundant imagery.
Every once in a while, the Rockin’ 1000 assembles a group of musicians from around the globe to offer up one epic rock performance. This time, they gathered at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt to play the Rage Against the Machine classic, Killing in the Name. We love watching all the drummers banging away in sync.
Perhaps inspired by the LEGO railway work of BananenBuurman, filmmaker Ewan Jones Morris takes us on a thrilling one-shot, POV ride, engineered by LEGO expert builder Gary Davis. Anna Meredith’s engrossing instrumental track serves as the perfect accompaniment to the precision-timed train ride.
The consistently silly and entertaining Device Orchestra is back to perform another track, taking on Darude’s 2000 dance hit Sandstorm, played on an electric typewriter, some credit card terminals, and a pair of electric toothbrushes. The googly eyes mean they now earn union scale for their performances.
Lewis Wake has taken a variety of clips from movies, and swapped out the music with other songs that play at a similar number of beats per minute. Some of our favorites are Back to the Future with Beastie Boys, Napoleon Dynamite’s dance with Cher, and Blues Brothers with Kaiser Chiefs.
Like a real harmonica, Lekholm’s musical tech senses its player’s breathing both in and out, but it outputs those modulations as MIDI signals for controlling synthesizers. The example performance is Cole Porter’s You’d Be So Nice to Come Home to, using a Yamaha VL70-m acoustic sound module.
Avast ye, and shiver me timbers! Musician Peter Bence is back with another rousing grand piano cover, this time taking on the familiar theme music from Pirates of the Caribbean, composed by Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt. This guy can tickle our ivories any day.
Mathieu Terrade is an expert at playing the Harpejji G16, a wooden string instrument with a flat backboard, 16 strings, and 19 ultra-wide frets. His YouTube channel is filled with great performances, but his cover of Eric Clapton’s Change the World is one of our faves.
Back in 2016, musician Marcos Kaiser recorded this excellent cover version of Chuck Berry’s 1958 track Johnny B. Goode. As one of rock and roll’s seminal tracks, it sounds great in this acoustic fingerstyle arrangement. Just try not to get your groove on when he starts playing.
In POLY|C’s vibrant music video for Lusine’s smooth electronic track Not Alone, a young engineer works on an neural interface which transports her to a mysterious virtual world. But the lines between the real and imagined worlds blur the deeper she journeys. From the EP Retrace and featuring vocals by Jenn Champion.
(PG-13: Language) Skateboarders Tony Hawk, David Loy, and Keire Johnson spent a little time in the studio and on their boards, helping to record more that 650 different sounds that skateboards make. Then, the creative minds of Bonamaze set to chopping up the audio into rhythmic music track.
Scary Pockets turns in another wonderfully funky cover of a classic tune, this time taking on Derek and The Dominos’ 1970 track Layla. Though this time, they left the comfort of their studio and recorded the performance live at DC’s Union Stage. That’s Jacob Luttrell kicking out the soulful lead vocals and keys.
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